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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, September 23, 2006

What have you done for us lately?

The numbers are ludicrous. The CBS4 poll results showing Deval Patrick with a 39-point lead over Kerry Healey are indeed simply a reflection of the attention paid to Patrick's victory over his Democratic rivals.

But within those early numbers lies the nub of a major problem facing Healey -- and her decision to go loudly negative on Election Night. The CBS4 survey shows Patrick with stunning large margins among men and women and a solid lead among independents. The latter group of course, is the one that decides elections in Massachusetts.

Healey was over the top on Election Night. Democratic Party Chair Phil Johnston was equally over the top in his characterization of her remarks the next day. But the GOP slime machine needs to operate at full throttle if it hopes to keep its grip on the Corner Office.

Can someone explain why driver's licenses and in-state tuition is a leading edge issue in a state that has been bleeding jobs and residents as home prices soar through the stratosphere and beyond?

Why not discuss the impact of property taxes on the wallets of homeowners in the context of higher home values and state income taxes -- and the failure of the Romney-Healey administration to restore local aid (and local services like public safety and education) to the levels they were before they blew into town on a slate of false promises.

What makes a "career criminologist" who has spent her career in the classroom presume to define as "soft" on crime a man who served in the upper levels of the U.S. Justice Department?

And who is a bigger crony? The teachers unions or Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, the GOP-loaded "management" company has produced a Big Dig that is not on time, not on budget and not safe.

Let's not forget that it was the Democratic Legislature that kept taxes from rising when the state was suffering from the post 9-11 recession. The GOP is fond of saying you need a check on the Democratic legislators. But the simple fact is the minority party is so weak that it cannot sustain any gubernatorial veto.

The Massachusetts Democratic Party reflects the range of political philosophy lacking in the one-note GOP. It was conservative Democrats like former House Speaker Tom Finneran who exerted the strongest influence on tax rates, not the Romney-Healey administration.

So it's not surprise that Kerry Healey came out loud and continues to pound on the traditional GOP straw men of taxes and crime. The Romney-Healey administration has nothing to show for its four years in office on those issues. The only way for them to win is to change the subject and pretend people won't notice.

The early numbers say people are not in the mood to be fooled again. But there is a long way to go and a lot of vitriol still to come from the GOP attack machine.


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