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WWSD: What would Shays do?

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

Hey it's been a crazy week here from the public relations side of the business with not one but two simply outrageously entertaining press releases from the far right.

First, I received a release from the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project. According to the release Governor Deval Patrick "has refused to fulfill the wishes of the people of Massachusetts opting not to sign a proclamation that would recognize Feb. 6, 2007, as "Ronald Reagan Day.'"

The release continues with "Former Governor Mitt Romney signed the proclamation last year in behalf of the Bay Staters. The Ronald Reagan Legacy Project (RRLP) believes his failure to honor the nation's 40th president is a display of his intention to play party politics as he begins his term of Governor of the Bay State."

Grover Norquist, a conservative advocate, is the head of this organization and is quoted stating, "I am disappointed that the governor has started his term by putting party politics ahead of honoring one of the most influential presidents of the century. He has abruptly refused to heed the people's call in Massachusetts. I suspect this is the kind of behavior we should expect to see from this governor."

Damn right it is. Why would a governor facing a multitude of problems waste his time on a proclamation that honors Reagan? The only reason the Mittster did it was to help secure his conservative credentials for the up-coming election.

The other item that came along is the amazing idea that Rush Limbaugh should be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize. The Landmark Legal Foundation, which describes itself as "the premiere public interest law firm fighting for conservative principles in America," has asked the Nobel Committee to consider Limbaugh.

The press release noted, "Limbaugh, whose daily radio show is heard by more than 20 million people on more than 600 radio stations in the United States and around the world, was nominated for the prestigious award for his nearly two decades of tireless efforts to promote liberty, equality and opportunity for all humankind, regardless of race, creed, economic stratum or national origin. These are the only real cornerstones of just and lasting peace throughout the world," said Landmark President Mark R. Levin.

" Rush Limbaugh is the foremost advocate for freedom and democracy in the world today," explained Levin. "Everyday he gives voice to the values of democratic governance, individual opportunity and the just, equal application of the rule of law and it is fitting that the Nobel Committee recognize the power of these ideals to build a truly peaceful world for future generations."

Really? Gosh, I never received that impression of Limbaugh through his radio shows, books or his television appearances. I've never realized that Limbaugh had brokered any peace accords or performed humanitarian efforts that have promoted peace.

Last year the Peace Prize went to Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank. Yunus is the architect behind micro lending which has allowed people without resources in Third World nations to acquire funds they need to start businesses. Alleviating poverty is one way of securing peace.

So I ask you what specifically has Limbaugh done? Could this be a way to offset some recent bad press Limbaugh has received? Well, I don't know for sure, but I do know he serves as an unpaid member of Landmark's Board of Advisors.

I love show business.


Here's a new way to describe Western Massachusetts: "Catalyst of the Constitution."

I don't know if it should be put on a license plate, but I do know that without the actions of Daniel Shays our nation may have taken longer to find its way.

Shays understood that part of being a citizen in the newly formed nation was to challenge the status quo. I'm not suggesting that we take arms against the establishment in this day and time, but the fact that a majority of us fail to even vote would make Shays hang his head in shame.

I have to admit that the concept of a Western Massachusetts militia taking a stand against the abuses put upon us by Boston is something that dances in my imagination.

If there is a person I'd like to see immortalized in a statue or put on a postage stamp, it's Daniel Shays. It's too bad no one really knows what he looked like.

This column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments to or to 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028.