Jim Lyons might have kept his job as chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party, if only he could have done just one thing.
Win an election. Just one. Just once.
But putting that elusive first “W” up on the board was something Lyons could somehow never accomplish, not even a single time, during the four catastrophic years in which he has almost completely dismantled both the local GOP as well as Massachusetts as a two-party state.
Check out the photo of him from Tuesday night in Marlborough, during his ouster from the $98,000-a-year job that he desperately wanted to hang onto.
Lyons is 68 years old, but boy, doesn’t he look more like he’s, maybe, 108 years old?
Losing every day, in every way, 24/7, must really take it out of you.
Lyons’ last vote, by the way, came last week at the election for Republican National Committee chair. By proxy, he voted for Harmeet Dhillon.
She lost, of course. Once Lyons endorsed Harmeet, her defeat was pre-ordained. A Jim Lyons endorsement has been the political kiss of death ever since he first started running for office back in 1984.
He was a Democrat back then. That was the year Ronald Reagan carried 49 states. Jim always knew how to pick ‘em.
After being mugged by reality (and the voters) yet again Tuesday night, Lyons posted the following on Facebook:
“We have only just begun.”
Now that’s a scary thought, at least to the handful of elected Republicans left in state politics after Lyons’ four years of political pyromania against his own party.
The job of being a state party chairman is pretty simple. The committees exist as vessels, basically, to funnel support and, more importantly, money, to local political candidates.
As one state rep explained:
“A party chairman has two tasks – he has to be able to get along with people, and he has to be able to raise money.”
Jim Lyons could do neither. He had retired from the legislature in 2018 due to ill health – the voters got sick of him. So he decided to run for party chairman – the job needed the man, and the man needed a job.
He railed against Gov. Charlie Baker, as well he should have. With COVID, endless scandals in state agencies and his insane green energy policies, Baker was, like Lyons, a total disaster.
But once Baker became a lame duck, it was time for Jim to pivot. So he switched from attacking the most prominent Republican in the state to stalking lesser GOP figures, like everybody on the state committee who opposed him.
Lyons was soon too busy to worry about winning elections. He was instead consumed with suing other Republicans for… whatever. Forget planning campaigns – he wanted to attend the depositions. Send out some more subpoenas!
The donors vanished. So he used the party’s dwindling funds on private detectives. He had them trail one female member of the committee, she says, to Tennessee. He used his own company’s funds – fat with $48,000 in COVID welfare – to dig up decade-old divorce records on another member of the committee.
Like everybody else, I watched this disaster unfolding with increasing dismay. He tried to knock the only remotely serious GOP candidate for statewide office, Anthony Amore, off the ballot.
After failing to get four different referendum questions on the ballot, he tried again with drivers’ licenses for illegal aliens. He set up a totally worthless website. I screamed at him. Finally, with a lot of help from all of us who weren’t suing each other, he got it on the ballot.
But then he couldn’t raise any money – this is a recurring theme, you may have noticed. And what little Lyons did raise, he spent some on the lawyer who was suing other Republicans for him, and on “consultants.” Oh yeah, he also did some campaign literature – without Amore’s name on it.
The Democrats, meanwhile, were fanning out to city and town halls, researching who was asking for mail-in ballots. They would then solicit their votes. Jim Lyons filed a desultory complaint against mail-in voting and then went back to plotting more lawsuits… against Republicans.
Meanwhile, his candidate for governor, Geoff “DoorDash” Diehl, ran like a scared rabbit from debates with his Republican opponent. Diehl refused my offer of a second debate.
Lyons and his Kool Aid Kult grew surly. They accused me of “selling out,” because the other candidate had bought ads on my radio show. Guess what – I sell ads to whoever wants to buy them, including the Mass GOP. So Lyons’ minions started making up fantastic lies about how much I’d gotten for radio spots.
I asked them to retract their falsehoods, but they refused. That left me no choice. As Harry Truman used to say, “If they’ll stop lying about me, I’ll stop telling the truth about them.”
So I started scouring their social media. This is how clueless the Lyons crew was – they never bothered to scrub their Facebook accounts, Twitter feeds, etc.
It was like shooting fish in a barrel. I’d tweet out a photo of some Lyons loser on the committee snuggling with some random guy, and then underneath I’d run the news story of the friend’s indictment on charges of forcible rape of a minor in Essex County.
Lyons claimed he was the biggest Trump guy in Massachusetts, a total lie. I ran photos of him with Ted Cruz in 2016, and his proud announcement that he was Ted Cruz’s state campaign chairman.
Al Davis used to say — Just win baby! Jim Lyons turned that around — Just lose baby!
Last week, Lyons didn’t even show up for the only debate of his campaign for reelection. Just like his boy, DoorDash Diehl, he went MIA because he couldn’t defend himself. What could he say?
Before the vote, he and Diehl went on a final tank-town tour, addressing what few true believers remained. He told the shut-ins about his big plans – not to win elections, but to file more and bigger lawsuits against Republicans.
He told his mouth-breathers that the big problem in state politics wasn’t Democrats, it was Republicans.
But he would sue them, the bastards, the RINO’s. At the start, Lyons promised he’d get his supporters $4 million. Then it was $5 million. In a final email last weekend, the number was up to “in excess of $5 million.”
And now Lyons is left, once again, with Dick Tuck’s lament:
“The voters have spoken, damn them.”
But Jim Lyons has only just begun. Forewarned is forearmed.