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Finneran weighs in on Walker win in Wisconsin, Brown-Warren showdown

Former House Speaker Thomas Finneran, who recently left his radio job at WRKO, appeared this week on WBZ-TV’s “Keller At-Large” show to chat about Wisconsin politics and the local US Senate race.

Finneran, a Mattapan Democrat, said the Wisconsin election, in which Gov. Scott Walker remained in place despite a recall pushed by union leaders furious over a cutback in collective bargaining rights, was “relatively unique” and doesn’t apply to Massachusetts.

But he compared the recall to a Civil War battle, saying Gettysburg proved a “fatal blunder” for Southern forces because the Union army, like Walker, had the “high ground.”

“People are so worried about their economic present, let alone their future. They know what’s going on with their own pensions, and their own health care contributions and everything else, and they saw the unions out there throw a temper tantrum,” Finneran told host Jon Keller. “About what? Being asked to pay about six percent to the cost of their future pension and about ten percent or twelve percent to the cost of their health care. Here in ultra-liberal, ultra-blue Massachusetts, for years, public employees have been paying 11 percent into the pension and 25 percent on health care. So they fought on crappy, factual ground. How do you get any sympathy – electoral sympathy – if you’re fighting on lousy ground?”

Asked about the Senate race between incumbent Scott Brown and Democratic nominee Elizabeth Warren, Finneran said he expects the race to come “thundering down the stretch.” He called Brown a “very skillful campaigner” who has a “good chance” at reelection, noting that Massachusetts voters have pulled the lever for Bill Weld and Ronald Reagan.

The question is, Finneran said, whether in a high turnout year, voters will split the ticket, voting for President Obama and then marking their ballot for Brown.