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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Monday, March 15, 2010

Missing in action

The jokes were as corny as the beef -- or as stale as some of the beer consumed later in the day. And the new rules of politics must include a ban on campaign staff access to Photoshop.

But when politico non grata Martha Coakley shows up -- to the strains of "You're as Cold as Ice" -- while the leading candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination begs off on a "prior commitment" it says something about the importance of the annual South Boston St. Patrick's blarney fest.

My friend Dan Kennedy thought it was appropriate for Charlie Baker to skip out on the time. It was clear the tall Yankee was going to be a target --much as the shorter African American and the barn coat-wearing junior senator.

It can also be argued with some justification that breakfast is an anachronism, now so much "the event" it is housed in the convention center rather than the small stuffy rooms it once resided it.

But for politicians, particularly those in election years, it is a rite of passage, where you appear to dish it out and take it. And the message from his absence in the minds of many is that Baker can't do either.

That's probably far different from the image the campaign hoped to cultivate -- that he isn't into the "fun and games" that marks business as usual in Massachusetts.

And by breaking the unwritten rules it can be argued Baker needed a smackdown. You have to admit is is interesting timing that the Herald chose today to print an analysis comparing the increase in rates for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care customers -- tracking it to Baker's salary -- in the same issue that notes his absence at the Southie festivities.

Compare that to the coincidence of a profile on Tim Cahill's independent challenge grading the Globe's front page.

Baker admits he's not great on the stump. Showing up at yesterday's Wacko Fest would have gone a long way to humanize him. And while a commenter over at Media Nation suggested I would object to Baker's choice of wheat bread for breakfast, I'd respond that what he really needed yesterday was Irish soda bread served up with ample doses of corn and blarney.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The excuse was used that he had a "prior commitment" at a meeting of Scituate Republicans, but what could he have accomplished there, other than preach to the choir and campaign to those who already support him? What he did do was be seen avoiding a major bloc of voters, and those often likely to vote Republican, all because he was gun shy of the venue. Not a good move.

March 15, 2010 1:47 PM  

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