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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Let's see, Massachusetts can restore local aid, increase funding for K-12 and higher education, finance health care reforms AND cut the income tax rate to 5 percent.

Tom Reilly -- meet George Bush.

The attorney general and Democratic gubernatorial candidate continues to run a textbook campaign -- if the textbook is how to mess it up. His performance in the CBS 4 debate shows there's still no one running strategy for this campaign.

Not content to sit on his laurels with two grand gaffes, include the St. Fleur affair -- Reilly decided to be the aggressor yet again, without thinking through the potential responses.

For example, he called Deval Patrick on his relationship with Ameriquest and its shady lending practices, without necessarily anticipating the response.

Yes, Patrick should disclose what he's earned as a board member and hopefully his Statement of Financial Interest filing will be revealing. But with his response to Reilly's challenge I think he came out ahead on points:
''Ameriquest blew it. I know it, you know it, and more importantly, they know it, which is precisely why they invited me to come on their board, to help straighten them out. I've been involved in predatory lending issues for 20 years, starting here in Massachusetts. And that's a very, very good and important settlement, Tom. You had a role in it, and so did I."
But it's on taxes where Reilly fell the hardest. There may not be two more ingrained fallacies in politics that Taxachusetts and the Liberal Media. Any candidate who thinks he or she can win but saying taxes are just right or too low has a tough row ahead.

And Patrick certainly faces that challenge given Reilly's adoption of the Taxachusetts argument. But once again, Patrick was well-armed to fight off the Reilly charge, based on this exchange:

Thomas F. Reilly: ''Voters have made it very clear in Massachusetts. They want their income tax rolled back to 5.0 [percent]. That's real money in people's pockets. That's $200 for the average family here in Massachusetts . . . "

Deval L. Patrick: ''You're right that the impact on all of us -- but particularly folks in the middle class and the working poor -- of the cost of living is high. But the fact is that rolling back the income tax from 5.3 to 5 percent is fiscally irresponsible. We can't afford it. The tax to cut is the property tax. And we can't cut the property tax if we don't restore local aid and we can't restore local aid if we roll back the income tax." (Emphasis added)

As the Globe noted, Patrick's position is where Reilly was a year ago. I believe Paul Tsongas had a symbol for Reilly's tactics: pander bear.

So Tom, what's going to go to pay for the roll back -- local aid, health care or education?


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