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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The perils of instant analysis

Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to revise and extend my remarks.

Last night's gubernatorial debate produced a swirl of instant analysis, 140-character bits of wisdom that may not seem so wise in the light of day. Take this for example:
Baker does well but Patrick is a very calming presence. Charlie has improved, but enough?
I smiled as a saw several retweets and thought to myself what a successful evening of punditry.

But then I awake to headlines in the Globe and Herald and on WBZ-AM, focusing on some of the harsh words between Charlie Baker and Tim Cahill -- "Charlie, you're lying" -- and think "did they watch the same debate?"

And the answer is yes they did. Only they watched the whole thing without the distraction of providing of 140-character bon mots.

Because in the clear light, the Globe's Brian Mooney hit the nail on the head:
Before the largest audience of the campaign thus far, the two top challengers in the governor’s race had an opening last night to make up ground on incumbent Deval Patrick. Instead, Timothy P. Cahill and Charles D. Baker spent much of their debate time carving each other up on live television.
The Baker-Cahill exchanges were electric, rarely does one politician call another a liar, no matter how true it may be. It was clear that Baker, playing the role of of King Henry II to Cahill's Thomas Becket, was looking for someone to "rid me of this turbulent" politician and end Treasurer Tim's political life.

But unlike Becket, Cahill fought back, using the L-word and getting under Baker's collar.

As did Deval Patrick.

Knowing the analysis after the last debate was that Baker was a bit too hot a candidate, Patrick dug up the Big Dig again. Baker had some good retorts, particularly blaming former Patrick transportation Jim Aloisi for being the only person around the project for its lifetime.

But, as one tweep noted, most of the viewing audience probably had no clue what Baker was talking about.

In the end, all three gave as good as they got. I doubt there will be much movement in the polls -- bad news for Baker. My analysis wasn't bad -- but it wasn't even skin deep.

And I learned that I needed to think before I tweet.

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