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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Frankly Kerry, you just don't get it

Let me see if I have this right. Kerry Healey, who launched the first negative ad of the campaign when she reached over party lines to blast Chris Gabrieli, says she is the victim of negative campaigning?

The same Kerry Healey who came out on primary night with both barrels blazing -- making a very large presumption that Massachusetts voters knew her as more than Mitt Romney's second banana -- and launched a shrill attack on Deval Patrick on crime and taxes.

Or the same Kerry Healey who received notice in The Washington Post for an ad described as "as vicious as it gets."

As Ted Koppell once said of Mike Dukakis "frankly (lieutenant) governor, you just don't get it."

"If you tallied up all the negative ads run against me and the governor since the primary," Healey said, "I've run maybe three negative ads and they've run, I don't know, 20," Healey blithely claimed in an interview for what she probably thought was a friendly home court audience.

She has certainly run three of the most talked about negative ads: targeting Gabrieli; using a convicted Florida cop killer to question Patrick's legal career; and the disgusting garage ad to try to hang Ben LaGuer around his neck.

And here's where the negative-comparative ad debate comes into play. Patrick and his allies in the Mass. Teachers Association, the Patriot Majority Fund and other independent groups have not been soft on Healey. That would be unilateral disarmament. They have used her words against her -- particularly the "overhoused" seniors line. But they have not attacked in the sense Republicans are particularly known for.

Nor have the Democrats been alone in receiving outside support, particularly from 527 groups. Healey famously received funds from the Republican Governors Association, headed up we should note by her (former) boss Willard Mitt Romney.

So Healey seemed to be poorly briefed when she went into that interview, shedding crocodile tears for herself when in fact she is recognized across the state and nationally as the person who has been over-the-top negative. (We won't even get into the verbal stylings of Tim O'Brien and the boys in Skinhead Central.)

Maybe that's why a large majority of Massachusetts residents think it is time for a change. Here's a novel idea -- a governor who is elected, serves and is engaged for four years and who doesn't allow boondoogles like the Big Dig to eat up tax money.

And a belated thank you to Dan Kennedy for sharing the Salem News story.

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