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Rep. Stephen Lynch at the Boston Carmen’s Union, Local 589 for their 100th Anniversary celebration on May 12, 2012. (Flickr / Congressman Stephen Lynch) Rep. Stephen Lynch at the Boston Carmen’s Union, Local 589 for their 100th Anniversary celebration on May 12, 2012. (Flickr / Congressman Stephen Lynch)  

Lynch may be too conservative for Mass. Democrats

Photo of W. James Antle III
W. James Antle III
Editor, The Daily Caller News Foundation

When Lynch voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, he took pains to say he opposed it from the left. He described it as too much of a giveaway to health insurance companies. But his Stupak vote is likely to inspire critics to attribute more conservative motives.

On other issues, Lynch voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq. He voted with the House Republicans against a Democratic plan to impose a specific withdrawal date to end the Iraq war. Lynch also favored President Obama’s Afghanistan troop surge.

Lynch’s political profile — economically liberal, pro-union, somewhat more conservative and Catholic on social issues and occasionally hawkish on foreign policy — was once very common among Massachusetts Democrats. It was the politics of Beacon Hill power-broker Billy Bulger, whom Lynch succeeded in the state senate, and Joe Moakley, the longtime congressman Lynch replaced in the House. (Though Moakley was a foreign-policy dove.)

It’s still a potent enough combination to potentially make Lynch a formidable general election candidate, as a successful Republican nominee needs to appeal to blue-collar conservative Democrats. Lynch is about to find out whether his approach will still work in a Massachusetts Democratic primary.

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