So This Democrat and the Head of the State's GOP Had Lunch...

As Charlestown resident Jennifer Nassour steps down as the head of the state's Republican Party, a fond farewell from a staunch Democrat.

Yesterday, it became official that Charlestown resident and head of the Massachusetts Republican party Jennifer Nassour had resigned her post as the state’s top Republican

According to many press reports and Nassour herself, she and her husband are expecting their third child. This would make the insanely demanding prospect of organizing a very important 2012 campaign virtually impossible. 

Anybody involved with politics, be it local or national, can attest to the demands it can have on one’s family, social life and any and all relationships in their life. Nevermind the added insanity of running the Republican Party in the deeply blue, Democrat-controlled Massachusetts. 

Under Nassour's stewardship, the party made enormous gains and I believe that her presence will be missed.

As many people who know me personally or read this column, I am an unapologetic Democrat, although I think both parties are unlikable at this point. But, when I use the term unapologetic, this does not mean I feel I am 100 percent right or that I view conservatives or Republicans as some sort of enemy. 

In fact, I wish there were more political parties and other opinions to offer contrasting evidence to my own beliefs. I mention this because recently I have come to know Jennifer, but also, consider her a person I can call for advice and support for a variety of questions I may have.  She's a pretty good friend. 

Sure, from a political standpoint, we differ on things, but who cares?  Because what we don’t differ on, like loving our country and having a passion for activism and politics, are far more important than the other issues. Furthermore, I actually see a lot of myself in her. 

It took a long time, but Jennifer and I eventually were able to squeeze enough time in for lunch. We had been trying to do this for a long time and our schedules became an enormous hindrance. Now remember, Jennifer is and was a much bigger fish in political terms than I was or am.

Being the head of a state party, regardless of which party, is to borrow a cultural term, “kinda a big deal.”  Anybody who has had the amazing privilege of speaking with me for more than five minutes can testify to my love of talking politics. So speaking with someone as successful and intelligent as Jennifer was something I looked forward too.

In my head, this meeting would be an epic encounter of great political minds, something like a young Jefferson and Madison arguing over the details of the constitution. (Totally kidding by the way, I am only a little bit of an egomaniac.) But my dreams of grandeur were shattered, because Jennifer was much more than that. 

Sure, we talked politics, how could we not? But more importantly, we talked about her upbringing, her family, what she wanted out of life, what were her passions and vice versa. I confided with her some of my professional frustrations and she had not only understood how I felt, but had experienced the same. In other words, even though we shared different party labels, we were able to professional connect.

I told Jennifer that she was perfect for the Massachusetts Republican Party. As a successful professional woman, it was a strong signal to my side of the aisle that young and successful independent women were quite capable of being engaged Republicans. And image was not her only strength. She will forever go down in history as being in charge when the Republicans pulled off the upset of the century by winning Sen. Ted Kennedy’s seat for Scott Brown. 

Furthermore, under her guidance, Republicans gained 15 seats in the Massachusetts House, a major achievement. Part of her focus was concentrating on communities to grow the Republican base or, at the very least, connect slightly right-leaning suburban independents to local, Republican candidates. A feat, I believe, she accomplished. 

Yes, there were disappointments like gubernatorial candidate Charles Baker being defeated by Gov. Patrick and her “moderateness” seemed to irritate the Tea Party, but, overall, she was a big success for the state Republican party.

I'm not trying to make a point about the fine dinner Jennifer and I had or the fact that, as a Democrat, her departure is somewhat comparable to the Peyton Manning loss for Patriots fans. I'm trying to show how much we have in common. Not just me and Jennifer. But all of us, regardless of our political beliefs.

At one point in our country President Reagan and Tip O’Neil would smoke cigars on the balcony of the White House and talk about their Irish heritage and accomplish things for the good of the country.  Disagreements and fierce debate were certainly common, but hatred of the other side was relegated to a distinct minority. 

Even recently, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch attended Ted Kennedy’s funeral and demonstrated that he'd had genuine affection for the man. Now, it seems like everybody hates each other. I know my side is just as guilty as any other, but at some point the madness has to stop. 

Regardless of what one feels about President Obama, if he loses reelection, the nastiness will just continue. Nothing will get accomplished if the constant bickering continues.

Maybe these guys and gals in D.C need to simply go out to lunch and look at how remarkably similar they are and find a common solution. 

I guarantee if Jennifer and I were there, we could. So why can’t they?


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