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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Friday, October 06, 2006

When you ain't got nothin', you got nothin' to lose

That should be the new theme song of the Kerry Healey campaign -- and of the bored political columnists who are in high dundgeon over the manufactured "scandal of what did Deval Patrick know and when did he know it is his now-lapsed support for convicted rapist Ben Laguer.

Patrick said it best:
"We screwed up in terms of how we have handled doing the homework before we answered questions about this issue, no question about that. And I take the responsibility for that."
Patrick followed the classic political neophyte model of open mouth, insert foot. After some not-so-tasty shoe leather, he has tried to make amends by doing something most other politicians steadfastly refuse to do: apologize and take responsibility.

But without any good juicy stories, our bored political columnists are looking to further the sturm und drang (a German reference because even John Silber agrees with Patrick's motives, if not performance this week).

Brian McGrory offers his "I like him, I really really like him" defense before declaring it's "time for honesty" from Patrick. Apparently he missed yesterday's availability. Too busy with Kerry Healey's efforts to keep the story alive and divert attention from her scurrilous Willie Horton-like ad.

For those of you who missed it because of all this attention on the front-runner's stumble (Rule #2 in the campaign reporter's handbook -- flood the zone on gaffes), Healey produced an ad slamming Patrick's role, as an NAACP Legal Defense Fund, in defending a Florida man accused of killing a cop.

"While lawyers have a right to defend admitted cop killers, do we really want one as our governor?" the ad by the "career criminologist" asks, following the Republican Party belief that the Constitution is just so much Kleenex tissue.

Never mind that the rent-a-trasher Healey brought up from Florida is a friend and business partner of a convicted child molester. Do they grow pedopiles in Florida?

But it's Patrick, not Healey, who gets the bulk of attention from Scot Lehigh's attention today. Maybe he expects more of Patrick than Healey, a fair expectation given the background of both candidates.

But let's be honest. Healey has successfully (so far) steered this campaign to issues that are only on the periphery of what Massachusetts residents should be talking about. Crime is a piece of the puzzle (as in how are we going to pay for adequate public safety when we cut taxes yet again). But so are jobs. The Economy. Education. Affordable Housing. Health care.

The Healey campaign is running on fumes -- the last remnants of 16 years of Republican domination of the Statehouse by men who focus their attention elsewhere. There is no record to run on, no new proposal worthy of discussion. So they follow the classic Republican fear and smear handbook.

The sad thing is the media keep falling for it.

Oh, and who's trolling Healey's past for things that can be twisted and distorted?


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