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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, October 21, 2006

Tasteless and shameless

Just when you thought the Healey campaign could not hit a new low, they come up with a way to surprise you.

Hard on the heels of an ad the Washington Post calls "a Hail Mary pass" and "as vicious as it gets," the junior G-men of the Healey brigade decide on guerrilla theater, dressing up immature college Republicans in orange jump suits and portraying them as "Inmates for Deval." Or is that Skinheads for Healey."

The boys got into a little shouting and shoving match with Patrick supporters at Faneuil Hall on debate night, but guerrilla theater is an accepted "art form" in those scenarios. Memo to Healey fans: If you can dish it out, you better be able to take it. Union members are not wimps.

However, 7 a.m., in residential neighborhoods as children of the Patrick staff and their neighbors go to school is tasteless in the extreme. Police were called in one community. And, par of the course, the Healey campaign offers the GOP's standard Sergeant Schultz defense.
"The Healey campaign has hundreds of volunteers doing standouts all over Massachusetts every day, and they aren't centrally coordinated out of our office," said Nate Little, a spokesman for her campaign.
What would they say if the Patrick campaign chose to highlight Healey's mean streak with a protest in the "blighted" Pride's Cross neighborhood where she lives?

Naturally, the Healey campaign says they will air the ad even more now -- and probably stop traffic with their little guerrilla theater efforts. It's clear this is a desperate campaign because they are ignoring one of the basics -- ads that sling mud often hurts the slinger more than the target.

The desperation is also evident in her renewed call for one-on-one debate, something Patrick continues to resist but I suspect won't be able to hold off forever.

His reasoning is strong: "The voters will choose among four candidates, not just two," he told the Globe. Hers is logical: Christie Mihos is aiming both barrels at her on every occasion

The decision by debate consortia to eliminate candidates because of "winnability" has always been controversial. Media should not have the right to decide who can win and in effect, overrule voters who sign petitions to get candidates on the ballot.

The argument can hold greater water in early presidential primaries where the outermost wings of each party and assorted flakes join the race. But what strikes me about this race is Mihos' willingness to speak truth to power and the articulateness of Grace Ross.

Mihos may border on flakiness in his manner but he is anything but. Ross' party will forever leave me cold because its 2000 presidential candidate said there was no difference between Al Gore and George Bush. Ralph Nader decided that election. He was no fringe third party.

And the 2000 election also reinforces the importance of those "unwinnables." They may hover in the low teens and single numbers -- but in close races, those votes are counted and make a difference. Voters should know whether they are throwing away a vote, making a solid statement and standing up for someone on principle.

In the end, media and Healey pressure will get so intense Patrick will probably need to surrender so the campaign isn't consumed by another false issue. But by then, the boys will have shifted from prison jumpsuits to chicken costumes.

The Healey campaign is already running on fumes. When you ain't got nuthin', you got nuthin' to lose.


Anonymous Owen R. Broadhurst said...

"Ross' party will forever leave me cold because its 2000 presidential candidate said there was no difference between Al Gore and George Bush. Ralph Nader decided that election."

Sadly, you're terribly mistaken. Ralph Nader never, never, never made that assertion. Somebody lied to you.

You should also know that Ralph Nader did not decide that election. Somebody named Harris did, with considerable assistance from the Supreme Court, unfortunately.

October 22, 2006 7:45 PM  

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