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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 05, 2006

Gotcha politics (II)

There's no doubt a lot of high-fiving and chest-bumping at the Healey campaign today. They're drawn blood with a gotcha. But surprisingly, it's the no-so-liberal media that's taken some of the wind from their sails.

Healey's insistence in fighting the battles on her terms -- meaning no defense of the Romney-Healey administrations efforts in job promotion, education, failure to provide enough local aid to hold property tax rates -- bore fruit with Deval Patrick's acknowledgement that he wrote some letters and a check for convicted rapist Ben LaGuer.

Ignore for a moment that LaGuer's campaign drew the support of fuzzy-headed liberals like John Silber. Or that Patrick's donation, no matter the size, helped contribute to the DNA test that eventually proved LaGuer's guilt.

The Patrick campaign should have known that Healey's opposition research efforts would scour the kitchen sink and then throw it at him. And that being on the same page as Silber notwithstanding, writing support letters and a check for an accused rapist is likely to come up in a political campaign -- especially one they knew would be based on attacks.

So how lame does this "defense" from Patrick aide Doug Rubin sound?
"It's something that Deval hadn't thought about very much in the past few years. When we first got questions, we tried to go back and put together the record. As we got information, we tried to make it available."
Well some one else, in the Healey camp certainly thought about it. Although efforts to pin Patrick for not remembering timelines for this goes too far, failure to line up the paperwork is a no-no.

Then how surprising is it for Patrick to get some relief in the form of the Herald's "gotcha" -- that a convicted cop killer has gotten light duty by working on clean-up details in, wait for it, the Statehouse. Healey, it is rumored, works in that building.

It takes a tough man to make a clean office?

OK, now that both sides have had their knuckles rapped can we get back down to serious business -- and crime and public safety is serious business. For example, what have local aid cuts and rising property taxes meant to staffing of local police and fire departments. Would a woman have perished in a Gloucester fire if voters had not turned down a Proposition 2 1/2 override that would have allowed a fire station closer to her home to remain open?

So yes, tax burden is a public safety issue too. But there's been very little talk about that amid the gotchas. Can we talk about things that affects everyday people or do we stick with ripping things from the headlines?

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