“All politics is local” was Tip O’Neill’s famous phrase. And for years now many Democrats, especially in Massachusetts, have tried to ride the strength of this feel-good slogan into elected office, repeating it ad nauseam. The problem is that most people actually believe that Tip O’Neill was giving advice on how to govern. Actually, it was only advice on how to campaign. In 1936, Tip O’Neill ran for the Cambridge City Council. He campaigned everywhere except in the neighborhood where he was born and raised simply because he assumed that he already had those votes in the bag. After O’Neill lost the race, he reviewed the vote totals by precinct and discovered that he had actually done worse in his own neighborhood. “People like to be asked,” a neighbor lady explained to him. O’Neill never made that mistake again, and he never lost another election.