Republicans in Massachusetts are going from endangered to extinct.
Nowhere is that any clearer than in the 40-member Massachusetts Senate which, following the election, will now be made up of 37 Democrats to just three Republicans.
Soon there will be two, then one, and finally none.
But before that happens, though, we plan to be on hand in the historic Senate chamber to witness the final speech of the last Republican member of the august Massachusetts state Senate. It may come sooner than you think.
Then all 40 members of the Senate will be Democrats, and there will no Republicans around to blame for anything, only themselves.
And, after all, we were there when the Republican Party stood for something, and when it was a force at the Statehouse, instead of what it is now — a vanishing bunch of RINOs who dress and talk like Republicans but think and vote like Democrats. They even get paid like Democrats — quite well.
That last, lone Republican standing in the Senate just might be Sen. Bruce Tarr, 56, of Gloucester. He has been in the Legislature for 26 years, 22 of them in the Senate.
Tarr is the Senate Republican minority leader. As such, he will be the leader of two senators in the upcoming 2021-2022 session of the Legislature. So, you can see why he would be working on the Republican’s last speech in the Senate. He might give it.
Currently the GOP in the Senate consists of a minority leader, two assistant minority leaders and a minority whip all making extra money above the base pay.
They are Sen. Ryan Fattman of Sutton, and Dean Tran, both assistant minority leaders, and Sen. Patrick O’Connor of Weymouth, the minority whip.
While all three hold “leadership” positions, and generous stipends to go along with their $62,500 a year base salary, there is nobody to lead. And Tran is on his way out.
In addition, the concept of the base pay is misleading.
Tarr, for instance, as minority leader is paid close to $100,00 thanks to a stipend for being a “leader.” Fattman and O’Connor are paid $84,700 each.
The current number of four Republicans was whittled down to three election day when Tran, of Fitchburg, the first Vietnamese American elected to the Legislature, was defeated by Democrat newcomer John Cronin, a West Point graduate and Afghanistan veteran.
Dean earlier had been stripped of his “leadership” position — assistant minority whip — by the other three Republican “leaders” after the Senate Ethics Commission found that he used his office staff for campaign work during office hours. He thought he was a Democrat. Tran was being paid $92,400 before he was demoted.
The same pay scale holds true on the Democrat side, only it is more costly because there are more of them. There are now so many Democrats in the Senate that Senate President Karen Spilka risks running out of leadership titles and committee chairmanships to hand out, along with the extra pay that goes along with them. Spilka is paid $151,700.
Things are a little better for the GOP in the 160-member House where there are 31 Republicans still hanging on for dear life — and a paycheck — so the decline in Republican numbers there is not as noticeable.
The last time the Republicans represented something of a force in the Senate was back in 1992-93 when Republican Bill Weld was governor, and the late Paul Cellucci was lieutenant governor. Cellucci had served in the Senate before hooking up with Weld.
Both were instrumental in helping elect several Republicans to the Senate, which boosted the number to the high water mark of 16, enough to sustain a gubernatorial veto.
It has been downhill ever since, and if Gov. Charlie Baker campaigned for any Republicans running for the Senate in the last election, it is the best kept secret around.
Baker, a RINO, is quite comfortable dealing with the Democrat majorities in both the House and the Senate. The more the merrier.
So, Tarr may end up as the last of the Mohicans. Or maybe, when he gives that farewell speech, he might quote Geronimo, the last Apache leader to surrender to the U.S. military in 1886. Geronimo said: “I should never have surrendered. I should have fought until I was the last man alive.”
The Democrats will then erect a sign in the Senate. It will read, GOP. RIP.
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Editor’s Note: In the original version of this op-ed, the State Ethics Commission was incorrectly referenced as having found that Dean Tran used his office staff for campaign work during office hours. It was the Senate Ethics Commission that issued the report on Tran’s transgressions which led to him being stripped of his position in the state Senate as the Republican assistant minority whip.