Wednesday, November 01, 2006
"Dead in the Water"
A) desperately trying to marshal whatever of the faithful haven't lost the faith (this includes bringing up gay marriage once again as The Great Evil;
B) in serious denial about a coming political calamity of his own making;
C) has some very dirty little surprise cooked up and ready to spring at the last minute.
On the other hand, with John Kerry presenting Bush and his gang with the gilt-edged issue that he dropped on us all yesterday, the Democrats may just be poised to destroy themselves and our hopes of deliverance as they've shown such a talent for doing in the past.
Here in Massachusetts our governor's race has been marked by one of the strongest differences in style of any campaign I can remember. Democrat Deval Patrick has established and maintained a tone of almost saintly calm, reasoned discourse, warmth and personal dignity in the face of the filthy little campaign waged by the present Republican Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey.
Giving Healey her due, she was burdened by a Governor, Mitt Romney, who turned unexpectedly and disastrously into an albatross around the neck. Having sworn to be a two term governor because of all the important work he wanted to accomplish here, Romney dropped Massachusetts like a hot rock several months ago with his [totally expected by most of us] announcement that he would not run for a second term, even as he was traveling around the country delivering speeches insulting and slamming Massachusetts and its citizens in order to appeal to red necks and religious wing nuts nationwide in his bid for the presidential nomination.
For the bulk of Healey's campaign, Romney was totally invisible, unmentioned and never seen in her TV ads. From the beginning she tried to distance herself from Romney as far and as fast as possible. Only when her campaign threatened to collapse in the face of massive public disapproval did Romney make a support speech, but indications are it hasn't helped her one bit.
So what killed her in the people's estimation? Patrick began the official race with an up-beat, positive message and an almost 30 point lead in the polls; from the beginning her ads have been relentlessly negative, employing every dirty tactic up to but blessedly not including the race card against Patrick. The low point, if the entire campaign can't be considered a low point, was an ad that equated Patrick with a brother-in-law of his who had in the past abused and even raped Deval's sister. The couple went through a lot of therapy, and have made a go of their marriage since.
But Healey's been almost paranoid in trying to pin rape on Deval, digging up legal cases in which he acted as defense lawyer for men accused of rape, and shoving them at the public incessantly in several different scenarios. In the end, the National Organization for Women and a couple of national lawyers' associations condemned Healey--a lawyer herself--publicly for spreading irrational fear and for denigrating the Constitutionally guaranteed right to legal representation and due process of law via a trial. Yesterday, members of the Governor's Commission on Sexual and Domestic Violence demanded she step down as Chair because of the ad campaign
While all this was going on, Healey's campaign sent groups of campaign workers in the orange jumpsuits prisoners wear to hold fake rallies in front of the houses of Deval and his campaign manager, urging people to vote for "the inmate's friend," harassing the families of both men in the process. It was the last straw for the public. She appeared on the evening news with her tail firmly between her legs, allowing as how she had to talk to her overenthusiastic campaign workers about not doing that sort of thing any more--as if anyone could believe she hadn't plotted the whole sorry affair herself. And despite her denials that she'd known in advance about the jumpsuited shock troops, she didn't call them off until after they'd shown up in downtown Boston to confront Deval Partick supporters outside a televised candidate debate.
The Patrick campaign got Bill Clinton to come for an appearance in support of his administration's former member, and Patrick continues to state calmly and clearly that he isn't going to play down on Kerry Healey's level. Through it all his lead has remained around 25 points and at times it's approached 30. Even the conservative tabloid Boston Herald that endorsed Kerry Healey, published a full front page picture of her the morning after the last candidate debate with the headline "Dead in the Water."
She ran her campaign in the gutter and her candidacy wound up in the gutter where it belongs.
What I don't get is why these people don't have some outside person/firm give them a "what does this look from the outside" perspective. Because, as someone not living in the state, but covered by MA TV, every Healey ad I've seen has just made HER look like a whiney, childish idiot. And that's without even considering her possition on any issues.
As for her not pulling the race card she has done everything but say, “Did I mention the other guy is black?” Patrick’s lead in the polls restores my faith in the people of the Commonwealth.