Married Alums Enjoy Life as Political Odd Couple

Marblehead Pair Try to Focus on Common Ground

02/09/2012
By Geoffrey Douglas

To all those who lament the incivility of our society, who bemoan that we’ve grown too polarized as a people to any longer see past the differences between us — there is a living, breathing rebuttal: Dwight Robson and Lena Robinson, husband and wife.

Robson ’93 and Robinson ’92 are the James Carville and Mary Matalin of Massachusetts politics, but without the fanfare. She’s a consultant to Republicans, he to Democrats; her values run to low taxes and small government, his are rooted in more help for the little guy. He wrote a check last fall to the Deval Patrick campaign; she canceled it out with a bigger one to Charlie Baker. When it comes to politics, they don’t agree on much.

And yet.

And yet they’ve been together since they met at ULowell — where she was as left-wing as he was (“of the ACLU card-carrying persuasion”) until she read Ayn Rand. They have two children together, share a home on the North Shore, and only rarely give way to screams. ("Occasionally I lose my cool,” she told a reporter last fall. “Dwight really doesn't.") They made it through last year’s election by agreeing on no lawn signs.

But there are moments. There are flash points.

Mitt Romney is one. ("Dwight has a personal thing with that," Robinson told the reporter.) Al Sharpton is another. (“Don't even go there,” she said to her husband; “he’s kryptonite to me.”) And he’s never been happy with her membership in the NRA.

Still, there is common ground — which is something they work hard to stress.

She is friends with Shannon O'Brien, former Democratic candidate for governor; he’s worked on behalf of charter schools, which have strong Republican backing.

"I never did see things in black and white," he said last year. "Democrat, good; Republican, bad — I don't see politics [that way]."

So the next curmudgeon you come across, arguing that we’re too divided to get past our differences, or that Congress is too partisan to ever get anything done?

Send him out to Marblehead to take a lesson from Lena and Dwight.