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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Stick a fork in him

Challenging a sitting incumbent of your own party -- no matter how unpopular -- is not an easy thing to do. Just ask Ted Kennedy about Jimmy Carter in 1980. You need to run a flawless, mistake-free campaign, declaring your differences with the incumbent in clear and precise terms.

How's Tim Cahill doing so far?

Treasurer Tim's all-but-formally announced run for the Corner Office may well be over before it starts with word the Ethics Commission is looking into his relationship with friend, neighbor and fund-raiser Tom Kelly.

With the usual disclaimer of innocent until proven guilty, ethics regulators are looking at the circumstances that led Cahill to award a Lottery contract to a firm represented by Kelly, over the recommendation of staff.

That company was actually one of two with skin in the game and it was paying Kelly tens of thousands of dollars in consulting fees. That's a separate story because the commission is looking at Cahill.

While Deval Patrick won't win many popularity contests these days, he doesn't have that kind of blemish on his record (yes, there is the Ameriquest call and the drape and Cadillac screw ups, but nothing that hints of cash and favors).

A challenger, especially one who wants to run under the competency and effectiveness bandwagon, has to be as pure as the driven snow. Cahill, at least today, more closely resembles one of those disappearing piles of blackened ice at the side of the road.

Aside from the nasty words "ethics probe," he has the burden of the poorly thought out slots proposal and the illegal lottery lease idea. Or the "working" pension reform group that didn't.

Not to mention his chief fund-raiser is neck deep in the details of what the ethics commission is looking at.

He can at least be grateful the Legislature has yet to act on a tougher ethics reform bill.

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