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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Buzzing around

I opted to pass on the latest gubernatorial love-in and from the reviews it looks as if I didn't miss much.

Oh sure, there was a kinder, gentler Kerry Healey (it would have been hard for her not to be at 53 percent unfavorable and being fitted for a Halloween costume appropriate to neighboring Salem); an opportunity to question Deval Patrick's failing memory for dates and another chance for Christy to be Christy. And there was less talk of violence and more talk of taxes -- and nothing new under the sun to chance the impression of those voters who bothered to tune in -- or tune out.

Healey desperately needs to create some buzz, so she went back to a tried and true GOP scare tactic: beware the Democratic insiders!
"Deval, you know that all around the State House this week there's just been a buzz, which is -- we're so excited that Deval Patrick will be our next governor because he's going to be a rubber stamp for every single spending proposal that we have," Healey said. "He's going to fulfill our agenda. He's going to do what we want [him] to do. I've been up here long enough so that I know what they want to do is spend taxpayers' money without regard to the work that went into every single dollar."
At least Healey shows up in the Statehouse, compared to her boss, the wandering Mitt Romney, who plans to drop in this morning and give us his take on the race to succeed him (hey if he can pundit from a distance, why can't I?)

Patrick, who to the best of our knowledge has held exactly one meeting with legislative leaders, was almost gentlemanly in ignoring the Romney-Healey administration's most egregious failure to rein in special interests, Bechtel/Parsons, Brinckerhoff. You know, the company that has been paid $8 million since the Big Dig ceiling collapse, including the ludicrous decision to allow it to supervise the repairs of the flaws it was responsible for in the first place.

The most interesting exchange surrounded taxes -- with Healey tripping up Patrick on whether he voted for the rollback in 2000. In the gotcha game, she scored a small victory. Too bad no one pressed her about Paul Cellucci's promise the rollback would be painless.

But he scored in return when parrying the standard line about how the money belongs to the taxpayers, reminding people about the toll that comes from believing the tooth fairy funds public amenities.
"It's their money," Patrick said of the taxpayers. "It's also their broken roads and their overcrowded schools. It's their broken neighborhoods and broken neighbors."
When Healey went back to the well -- again -- with her line about Patrick's promises likely to cost $8 billion, he was ready.
"Lieutenant Governor, when you're talking about a balanced budget, you're talking about a $700 million income tax rollback," Patrick said. "You're talking about $114 million in forgone tolls. You're talking about all kinds of [campaign proposals], many of which require new spending. That is what you are putting on the table as a way forward. . . . And it doesn't add up. It does not balance."
Patrick also turned the tables on Healey when discussing immigration (avoiding any mention that there is a lack of unanimity in the Healey household). And he hit her where it counts -- accountability between word and deed on her push for taking action against employers who hire undocumented workers.
"We have public information that your own government, your own administration, has been giving millions of dollars of government contracts to construction companies who do this very thing, and the question, I think, is: Who's in charge? When are you going to take responsibility for that?"
That produced one of the lamest responses I can ever recall in debates.

"We're not an investigatory agency; it's the attorney general's job," Healey shot back.

And Patrick was ready.

"Why don't you just stop writing those checks. . . Debar those construction companies. Use the levers you have."

So, Deval forgot when and whether he voted for the 2000 rollback. Healey forgot that the administration in which she has served has failed to practice what it incessantly preaches: fiscal and personal responsibility.

I don't that 27-point gap is closing any time soon.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did Patrick ever give Patrick permission to call him Deval, or is she just doing it to be disrespectful and condescending? Everytime he calls her "Lt. Governor" and she replies, "Deval," grrr!

October 29, 2006 1:22 AM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Kerry Healey condescending? Nah! What would ever give you that idea? :-)

November 01, 2006 7:21 PM  

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