"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
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Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Sunday, July 28, 2002 Questions the Globe Didn't Ask
Massachusetts state Treasurer Shannon O'Brien, leading Democratic candidate for governor, with 2-year-old daughter Regan.
Shannon O'Brien, state treasurer and leading candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Massachusetts, was asked by the Boston Globe to describe "the biggest single accomplishment of her life." Her answer: "Raising my daughter has been, and continues to be, my single biggest accomplishment."
The profile of O'Brien doesn't answer a few questions that readily present themselves: How much time does she currently spend with her two-year-old daughter in between campaigning for governor and serving as state treasurer? How much time does she expect to spend with her daughter after she is elected governor?
The article states that O'Brien's husband is now caring full-time for the couple's daughter. (A big-bucks lobbyist, he put a hold on his Beacon Hill activities lest any conflict arise with his wife's gubernatorial bid. One gets the sense that political and ethics-laws concerns more than paternal instinct inspired his current hiatus in the role of Mister Mom.)
The article does not say, however, whether "caring full-time" means he actually stays home with the child all day – or puts the child in day-care while he goes about his affairs. (A noted Globe profile of current Governor Jane Swift's famously idle husband, Chuck Hunt, described him as a "stay-at-home dad" – but one who had the kids in day-care much of the time.)
We currently have a woman governor, Jane Swift, with three children ages three and under who live a three-hour drive from the state capital and whom she can rarely, if ever, see within normal waking hours. This arrangement makes Gov. Swift uniquely simpatico with the average working woman – or so she would have voters believe.
Now comes Treasurer O'Brien, the would-be Democratic successor, with much talk of education, and child-care, and progressive reform. (The Globe describes her conversion to support for abortion rights as "evolution.") Is it really progress, however, for a woman to become governor, extolling schools and early-childhood development, at the expense of being a mother who plays an active role in the care and nurturing of her very own toddler?
Mother. Or Governor? Which job is really more important?