Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Gabrielli's big weekend

Great ads, wrong audience - Gabrielli could sink or swim on Saturday.
by Kevin John Sowyrda
Entrepreneur Chris Gabrielli's television ads would be a winning formula for electoral success were the audience of the moment normal, moderate voters. Unfortunately for the Democratic Party's 2002 nominee for lt. governor, the audience du jour is neither; and that's why there's a pretty fair chance that Gabrielli will fail to receive the nod of his party's delegates this weekend in Worcester to appear on the September primary ballot. Gabrielli faces off against Attorney General Tom Reilly and former U.S. Justice Department official Deval Patrick.

Gabrielli desperately needs atleast fifteen percent of the historically left of center conventioneers to vote for him if he's to have his chance for the corner office. Without that precious, all be it anachronistic, fifteen percent threshold, he's got no where to go; and it's too late to pull a Christy Mihos and run as an independent candidate. That would leave Gabrielli a political loser for atleast the third time in his life; to say nothing of the fact that he'd be out a few million - but for Chris that's pocket change and rather incidental, indeed.

It's a damn shame, but I predict it could happen. The convention this weekend is for conventional thinkers, which Gabrielli isn't. These are the quintessential, died-in-the-wool Democrats who come from the very old school of politics. Make that the ancient school of politics. They believe in big government, big spending, big taxes, big projects and very traditional thinking. I'll bet a few of them don't know there's an Internet and think A.T.M. stands for "all taxes matter."

As Gabrielli has shown in his advertisements, he's Mr.out-of-the-box politico if there ever was such a man among us. He's everything the party bosses can't stand and know they won't be able to control. He proposes, for example, to make Massachusetts the stem cell research capital of the world. Before that, his reputation was built on his love affair with charter schools and school vouchers and school choice, themes which are nothing less than anathema to public school teachers who dominate this convention via their extremely muscled union, the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA). The MTA has grudgingly supported Patrick despite some favorable statements he's made on the subject, but to them Gabrielli is too much the education reformist. And trust me when I tell you, the MTA is many things, but God help us, never reformist.

I think likely primary voters - that means people who don't even know there's a convention this weekend - love Gabrielli's newest ads. I know I do. I think they're absolutely delicious and simply rock. They're everything our present state and national leadership isn't - creative, inventive, bold and imaginative. But this crowd sojourning to the Worcester Centrum doesn't care about those noble qualities, suddenly packaged into a last minute electronic ad buy. It's all falling on shamefully deaf ears. They're loyal to a fault to the progressive man of the hour, Deval Patrick, who by now knows the state's highways and byways better than Map Quest. They resent Gabrielli - for no logical reason - for his untimely entry into a contest which has been, from their parochial perspective, going on since last year; with little room for tardy membership. Unless you've attended the Needham Democratic Town Committee meeting atleast fifteen times, you must be a mole for George Bush.

And as for new ideas, these delegates would get much more fired up if a candidate saturated the airwaves with a proposal to abolish Proposition 2 1/2, or some other foolhardy missive. In point of fact, this crowd of delegates is so unabashedly left wing that had Gabrielli spent his suit case of cash on a very different ad campaign, let's say one that preached George Bush should be impeached by the state legislature for his 'crimes' in Iraq, he wouldn't get his 15 percent - he'd get about eighty. (For those of you who missed seventh grade civics class, the state legislature can't impeach the president, thank Heaven.)

So how have past non-liberals like Gabrielli survived this once-every-four-years liberals only festival. Well, in the case of the most conservative Democrat ever to survive the convention, he had a secret weapon. He had a consummate deal maker named Billy Bulger. That uber conservative candidate was John Silber, known for his iron fisted leadership of Boston University, his very right of center social agenda and his close friendship with Bulger, then the state senate president and master manipulator of political voting. Silber garnered his fifteen percent, barely, because Bulger corralled the votes with near ruthless tactics, for which Bulger was always infamous. Bulger pulled it together for his comrade Silber with his unique brand of arm twisting, deal making and cajoling - and it worked perfectly.
Silber was not too conservative for his party's open primary voters. He went on to win the September primary. The same could be the case for Gabrielli - who not so incidentally, is much more socially progressive than the retired Boston University president will ever be.

But Gabrielli has no Bulger. And according to my political intelligence, he has no deal makers; atleast none of Bulger-like caliber. That's his problem going into Saturday.

However, Deval Patrick would be wise, or atleast some of his supporters told me this week, to make a deal quicker than Monty Hall. The man who could be the state's first African-American governor needs more than a one on one contest to win in September. Attorney General Tom Reilly, for all his faults and political blemishes, has a campaign treasury which is intimidating when compared to Patrick's. I think Patrick's chances in September are better if he's one of three candidates, and not just one of two. Gabrielli and Reilly would split the more conservative and moderate Dems (both Reilly and Gabrielli support tax cuts), and Patrick could, so the theory goes, sneak a win with the progressive and minority voters.

Either way you look at it, Gabrielli is in trouble; because the convention is not representative of Massachusetts. One delegate told me this week that he's had call's from the Gabrielli camp "literally begging" him to defect to their bandwagon. My friend declined, as I'm told have many others who committed to Patrick or Reilly long ago.

Gabrielli's got great ideas but bad listeners in Worcester. And if he's denied a place on the ballot the ultimate winner is the G.O.P. nominee Kerry Healey. Healey will be watching intently this weekend because she knows the real truth - she can certainly best Reilly, and possibly best Patrick, but she gets eaten for breakfast if her opponent is Gabrielli.

Because of that political likelihood, it's time for this convention to take a reality test and not to look a gift horse in the mouth, regardless of how late he arrived to the cotillion. Gabrielli brings deep pockets to the race which even the wealthy Kerry Healey can't compete with. That means he can win in November, and it won't just be the money. Gabrielli's message is ironically Weldian (as in the former governor) in nature. He's a social liberal and a fiscal moderate, the perfect ideological mix for the November electorate; and Weld proved this twice at the ballot box. Gabrielli has proven that he's got the tenacity to take on the Democratic establishment while remaining perfectly faithful to key, party values. His social progressive credentials are quite solid, as is seen in his strong support of Gay Marriage. And last, but not least, in the era of political cacophony Gabrielli is a breath of fresh air because he's actually got something to say, as opposed to most politicians who, lately, can only banter. Gabreilli's ideas are deeply substantive and timely.

The Democrats have been exiled from the governor's office since January of 1991. They've got a very good chance to take back the prize if they only dare open their minds and ears this weekend.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Romney's Chuck Colson

Romney's Chuck Colson
by Kevin John Sowyrda

One of these days, right about the same time I figure out how to download music to that I-POD thing I got for Christmas, I'm going to discover what ever went wrong with the formerly moderate Massachusetts Republican Party, its leadership, and certain key disciples who, once upon a time, were perfectly comfortable with Gay people and Gay Community issues; only to be transformed into hostile opponents who manipulate even minutia issues to slap Gay people and Gay youth down, and down hard.

Case in point, one Beth Myers, the new bad girl in Boston. Myers is to the Mitt Romney Administration what Chuck Colson was to the Nixon White House in the Seventies. You know her if you're a political junkie and you've never heard her name in your entire life if you're a normal, Joe-voter type. She's become the - I won't say ruthless - but the hatchet lady governor's office chief of staff whose put her own personal beliefs in a lock box in favor of pushing a right wing agenda which even the party's present nominee for governor is distancing herself from a mile a minute.

Beth and I have broken bread together on many occasions and have had more than our fair share of great conversations; though on Tuesday she was apparently too busy to respond to my two phone messages which fairly warned her that I planned to eviscerate her in this week's column as you will see and which she so richly deserves.

Disloyal? Me, never. I just can't stomach it when I see people who once professed the civil libertarian creed of the G.O.P. - something I have always admired about the party and still do in some of its members (anybody remember Bill Weld and Lowell Weicker?) - degenerate their own intellects and forsake their own hearts and take up this cheap and shallow cause of social agendizing, where it's their way or the high way when it comes to life style.

The background is already known to you because Bay Windows broke the story that His Excellency was apoplectic that the state sanctioned gay youth council, invented by former Governor Bill Weld, was marching in a parade and promoted same with state stationary bearing Romney's name. The typically over-rehearsed and never-to-be-found-with-a-hair-out-of-place presidential aspirant had an uncharacteristically pre-schooler temper tantrum and tried to abolish what is officially known as the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth - though it's never really been Romney's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. He's always viewed it as sort of a mother in law type thing; it comes with the package, if you get my drift.

You would have thought someone had whispered in Romney's ear that jack-booted teens with brown shirts were going to be doing the goose step in His Excellency's name down Park Street to Tremont. It was Myers, from what my governor's office deep throat (I really have one) tells me, who made sure than an executive order was typed pronto. The imperial edict abolished the group so heralded by the progressive community and educators when Bill Weld had the intestinal fortitude to create it years ago.

But as proof that there's still a check on the absurd antics of this governor's office, Myers told the commission chairwoman, Kathleen Henry, that His Excellency had reversed himself. This all happened in the same business day and the positive political flip flog came only after Romney was reportedly flooded with protests from Beacon Hill lawmakers who, unlike the governor, are to the left of Attila the Hun, not the right. There was some debate about whether or not an executive order killing the council was ever, in reality, drafted; but few people on Beacon Hill take seriously any denials, or for that matter any statements at all, which emit from the office of gubernatorial communications lieutenant Eric Fehrnstrom. He was deputy state treasurer when over 9 million dollars was embezzled from that office - the biggest theft of public dollars in Massachusetts history. Of course, Eric didn't know anything about it. I mean if he did, he'd be in jail right now instead of telling the press that the governor didn't want his name associated with "that parade".

First, some facts you already know thanks to the cracker jack reporters at Bay Windows who broke an important story the very pompous governor's office wishes had stayed, excuse me, in the closet. "That parade," was always privately paid for. Second, what is the big deal. In the era of television's Will and Grace and Dick Cheney's Gay daughter roaming the talk show circuit, what in the name of Heaven is the preoccupation of this executive office with anything and everything with the letter 'G' tagged to it. I mean, do they actually know it's the year 2006 and not 1956. And is there nothing more important on their plate, such as stopping the reported exudus of Bay State residents who can no longer afford to live here.

Yes, some - not all - of the evangelicals in Indiana get a kick out of kicking Gay people, but the nation is changing and Mitt Romney isn't. His stagnant social agenda is so archaic that his presidential bid will be perfectly successful; if his goal is to be ambassador to Bermuda, a historic consolation prize to those who tried too hard in the primarys and spent way too much for way too few votes. As that character in 'Broke Back Mountain,' might say, Romney "just can't quit" that Gay bashing - and it could be his undoing. I mean think about this for a moment, other than fighting against Gay Marriage and now this group that tries to help kids, what is this governor's moniker? What in the world does he have to say that matters to real people??

The governor is being so abysmally advised that two very practical responses should be prompted by his almost execution of a council whose only crime is that it tries to help kids who are often bullied. First, Mitt Romney knows prejudice and should therefore be expected to sympathize with those who know exactly the same and so frequently face it, such as Gay youth. The governor is Mormon and members of his faith have been sadly persecuted in our society for years. Many find the faith to be much more queer than Queer people. One would think Romney would be the empathetic governor to this issue instead of the hostile politician he is. I've always thought JFK was able to fight better for civil rights because as a Roman Catholic he understood the evil of social labels and ignorance. But Mr. Romney; I've met you, I've covered you, and you're no JFK.

Second, who advises this guy whose favorability ratings are on par with those of the president's? My deep throat says, and a flock of politicians on Beacon Hill will tell you also, that Beth Myers has become the very right of center, key advisor. She's a sort of ultra conservative version of Mary Lee King; who was the last high ranking woman to counsel a Massachusetts governor, and in my opinion do so very wisely. In King's case she was the reasonable and mature voice prompting Bill Weld to act on his beliefs and lead, as opposed to following polling data. In Myers case, she's the harsh-toned conservative who imagines that the presidency is decided by Indiana and Georgia. She was almost successful in prompting the governor to do something that would have made great headlines with conservative bloggers but hurt kids here in Massachusetts. That's definitely Chuck Colson's style - or atleast his style before he discovered Jesus.

Soon, none of this matters. Romney's relevance is almost depleted, a new poll shows his traction is nil at the national stage, and, I predict that should the next governor be Republican Kerry Healey you will ironically see a much more diplomatic relationship between the corner office and the Gay Community. That would be refreshing after nearly four years of gubernatorial hostility encouraged by political advisors who decided to forget the most important lesson Bill Weld ever taught his party - "keep the government out of people's pocket-books and out of their bedrooms".

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Senator Wilkerson's last hurrah

Pictured above, convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
by Kevin John Sowyrda

It's the end of a Nixonian political career based on false hopes, greed, arrogance, unprecedented immaturity, personal self-aggrandizement and a total separation from reality - to such an extent - that you would swear, soon to be former State Senator Diane Wilkerson were the local representative of the Tom Cruise Scientology recruitment chapter.

She didn't get enough signatures. My God that sounds sweet. Now I know how Octavian felt when he had Anthony and Cleopatra cornered in Alexandria. It's purely delicious and I'm going to savor the moment like a good, cabernet or an old scotch . Can I say it again? She didn't file enough signatures to get on the ballot. Come on, cut me some serious slack and permit me to utter it just one more time because I've waited for this column for many blessed years - Senator Wilkerson couldn't muster the whopping three hundred signatures and now she's off the ballot and will have to pull a miracle out of her hat to politically survive.

Yup, I'm gloating like Hillary Clinton the day Bush's ratings hit the thirties.

And you thought Congressman Patrick Kennedy had problems? Compared to Wilkerson, the young lad from Rhode Island is Albert Einstein.

And for anyone daring to feign ignorance as to how the senator was so abysmally incompetent in not collecting 300 good signatures, something the local Girl Scouts could have mustered, may I dredge up the following historical facts. The senator could never perform numerous, what social workers call basic living tasks. The senator couldn't file her taxes for years, the senator has been fined by the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) so many times that I hear they may set up a satellite office in her neighborhood, the senator couldn't pay her parking tickets, enough to wall paper all sides of the Hancock Tower. Simply put, the senator couldn't execute adult decision making.

I'm being too scorched-Earth, you say? I beg your pardon and ask you to imagine the political blessing of a South End absent Wilkerson holding the legislative scepter; a neighborhood with a real senator who can focus their attention on the myriad problems this great neighborhood faces instead of the gigantic problems the legislator faces – or refuses to face - personally.

The myriad of problems climaxed when Wilkerson was staring straight at a hefty prison sentence for her tax evasion. Her attitude during the case was so hostile and arrogant it was on par - granted at a lower dollar level - with that of disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abromoff, who atleast could chirp the 'sorry' word when being sentenced to the long stretch of jail time he so richly deserves. In contrast, go back in time with me to Wilkerson's appearance before Judge Ted Harrington in 1997 when she had the unmitigated nerve to maintain that her failure to go through the April 15th misery with the rest of us common folk was because she lacked funds to pay her taxes since death threats from Southie insurgents required her to retain a private security force of unknown origin; and apparently at great expense.

Her lame excuse for the egregious behavior was like watching Saturday Night Live. But it wasn't amusing. It was quintessential race bating, pure and simple.

But, Harrington, an eccentric Republican, must have a soft spot for imbecilic behavior because he baby-slapped Wilkerson with a generous half-way house sentence of six months. You or I would have done serious time at Cedar Junction.

And rest assured the time in 'jail' did little to temper the "do you know who I am" attitude of the state’s most infamous senator whose cavalier disregard for even the most rudimentary rules of adult behavior have clearly affected her ability to be an ombudsman for this district.

We learned of other offenses quite recently which read like they came out of the Abramoff playbook. Wilkerson's campaign treasury has spent $70,000 on highly suspicious expenses which only the attorney general's recent law suit will uncover, since the ever belligerent senator won't explain them to OCPF. Wilkerson, a trained lawyer, is alleged to have given herself $18,000 for we-don't-know-what and retained her two sons as consultants doing we-don't-know-what. And you thought the Republicans in Washington had cornered the market on corruption? Incidentally, Wilkerson's salary as a state senator is above $50,000 and she's free to work other jobs, as most legislators do.

It would take Dr. Phil to figure out this entire Shakespearean political play. For every breach of ethics, for every exposed impropriety, for every bad headline, Wilkerson has seemed only more determined to pursue the erratic way of life. As one state senator told me off the record this week, "she's sweet in person, even a good public speaker, but the behavior would land the rest of us in jail. We stopped listening to her a long time ago. She's just not going to be relevant." But the South End needs a relevant senator.

So where does Wilkerson go from here, if not to join Patrick at the clinic. For my money, no one’s lined up to lick the 300 stickers she needs in September to get her name on the ballot. I think her base of support is eroding quicker than the president's. I also consider it nothing less than crude, racial stereotyping to presuppose that the African American community forgives Wilkerson's sins; as if they tolerate corruption in government any less than any other demographic group. And the senator's Republican rival, law school student Samiyah Diaz, suddenly seems like an anomaly in the making; a Republican South End law maker. She’s told the Associated Press that she may also run in the Democratic Primary. Maybe she'll be a Republicrat.

Speaking of that now wide-open primary, the attraction of a basically open state senate seat would normally be very alluring to many aspiring politicians. Don’t tell me City Councilor Mike Ross doesn't wish he could do it, and many others of his caliber. But this is Boston, and just to show you the racial tension that still commands decisions here, few will dare venture to Wilkerson's district because in Boston the racist charge is thrown as casually as the softballs on the Larry King Show. If you run against Diane you must naturally be a Klansman.

For my money, a silent majority steps in here and says enough of the fourth grade antics we've all had to suffer since Wilkerson's political birth. Boston's African-American community is savvy, educated and breaking more glass ceilings than ever before. A sophisticated electorate will not give an umpteenth chance to the perpetually melting down senator. They want the shootings stopped, a new police commissioner who can actually think out of the box, better schools and reasonable property taxes. Wilkerson is trapped too deep in her own abyss to help these constituents.

Soon we can all suspend reading and writing about a tawdry political career that was never more substantive than last week's episode of Desperate Housewives.

Kevin John Sowyrda is a political writer and commentator.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Healey's path to gubernatorial victory

Healey could be a contender if she's willing to break the outdated rules of politics.
by Kevin John Sowyrda

I'm listening to Newt Gingrich Tuesday morning on my XM Satellite Radio - forgive me comrades - and without his knowing it the former House speaker from Georgia was mapping out the winning strategy for Massachusetts Republican gubernatorial candidate Kerry Healey, who also serves in that meaningless position of lieutenant governor. Her Excellency has been on my mind of late for two reasons. First, I wish I had just the interest she earned last year on her checking account. Second, I've got Healey on the brain cells because she was just anointed at this past weekend's G.O.P. convention in Lowell, which is a great place to have a political reunion if you like visiting the many urban arm pits of the Commonwealth while the rest of us are rollerblading and planting geraniums and soaking up the rays.
The convention was about as eventful as George Bush's last I.Q. test. With no one of significance running for the other constitutional offices, there just isn't much to report except that it happened, that there were a lot of open-bar parties, and that die-hard delegates were dumb enough to rally in Lowell instead of enjoying the most beautiful spring weekend New England has seen in about twenty-five years. Oh, and yes, former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card gave a speech confirming that Bush is best served without this dolt who still looks like a very parochial state rep, which he was. And, former U.S. Senator Edward Brooke gave another speech which was actually pretty decent for a guy whose one-hundred and twenty three years old.
But there is this necessary follow up to the yawner of a political weekend. Just a minor detail for all our brain cells, that being, how does this wealthy woman win in the present, turbulent political environment; with gas prices soaring and popular anxiety levels soaring with them? And that's where the Speaker grabbed me. Queried on Fox Radio about the upcoming midterm election and how his party, the G.O.P. might miraculously hold on to power and win votes, the man who took the House back for the Republicans in 1994 said the truest truism I've ever heard. He declared with positive affirmation that voters are mentally and spiritually exhausted with slick slogans and wind bag politicians. They want a complete reformation in campaign dialogue. They seek a frank, even brutally frank, discussion on the issues of the day and are poised to throw their weight behind any candidate who willfully de sanitizes the message and gets right to the "here's what we need to do," however painful that may be.
So were I to bend the receptive ear of the woman who daily lives a heart beat away from gubernatorial power and grandeur - what a rush that must be - I would whisper the following plan of attack, inspired by my new friend Newt.
First, convince Governor Mitt to resign and hand the seals of office to you, yesterday. Cajole, threaten, horse trade; do whatever it takes to become acting governor. If it worked for Boston Mayor Tom Menino - his incumbency as acting major was the pivotal factor in his stunning 1993 victory - it can work atleast a little bit at that loftier level of politics where Healey dwells. Plus, the resignation takes Mitt off the painful hook of local, media coverage - no more articles in the city's broadsheet or tabloid about the hours adnuaseum he's spending flipping hot cakes in Iowa instead of cracking lobsters at Lockobers.
Second, whether she be governor or lt. governor, Healey has to hit this gas crisis right over the head with a jack hammer proposal, Arizona style. In that sunbelt state, once upon a time, they introduced a whopping state tax rebate for anyone who purchased a hybrid vehicle. The response was huge because the tax rebate was nothing less than huge. If a big enough carrot is extended you'll see people in the Baystate waiting in line for that Toyota Prius thing, and the tax revenues the state loses will be partially compensated for by the inevitable economic tendency of taxpayers spending what they get back in an enhanced refund check.
Third, come out swinging for that windmill farm which would generate mega, mega watts in eyesight of the part-time dwelling of senior Senator Ted Kennedy. I think the contraptions are just as much a scar on the Cape Cod landscape as does the up-for-reelection Washingtonian, but his Democratic Highness opposing high-tech wind power is also quintessentially hypocritical given his decades of ranting and raving for environmentally sound alternatives to fossil fuels. Healey could actually run against Kennedy without really running against Kennedy. And what do environmentalists do - an uber voting block on Cape Cod, a region which the Republican can not afford to lose in November? They'd be compelled to support Healey just while the national press corp is admiring her for taking on the living legend of Massachusetts politics with whom the environmental lobby is none too happy with, of late. (Not so incidentally, all parties agree that the Cape wind farm would generate no less than half the electricity needs for that growing region of Massachusetts. It would be unprecedented in U.S. history)
Fourth, speaking of voltage issues, Healey need propose atleast two new nuclear power plants for the Baystate. No, I'm not losing my mind here and forget that West Wing episode a few weeks back portraying a Republican defeat due to a nuke shutdown in the fictional G.O.P. candidate's home state. That's all from the mind of mindless producers like liberal commentator and producer Lawrence O'Donnell, who refuses to take recess from his old school theologies.
I recall the first time I learned about what's commonly referred to as 'third generation nuclear power'; and it was from an unlikely source. His name was John Forbes Kerry. This guy lives at Louisburg Square from what I remember and was thinking about running for some high office; and he must have been pretty desperate for company at this boring Christmas party we were both pretending to enjoy because he struck up a conversation with little, old me that lasted about a half hour regarding his strong support for the nukes commonly built in France and Japan - so called third generation nukes. They're virtually fool proof and don't spill millions of gallons of crude along our fishing banks - neither do they spew millions of tons of black soot into our air. I guarantee you that for every ten dollar increase in the price of a barrel of crude, support for nuclear power will increase by that same number in favorable opinion polling data. As Newt advises, time to be bold. (And, yes, suddenly the Cape Cod environmentalists are completely confused and don't know what to do.)
Fifth, come out in favor of Gay marriage. Before you pass me the straight jacket - no pun intended - please consider this because it theoretically could happen. I think Healey has the courage to do it. Why? First, based on many conversations with my contacts in her campaign I sense she's more the civil libertarian at heart than her boss Romney was ever able to be and I'm told she's perfectly Gay friendly, also unlike Romney. Second, she won't lose her base. Massachusetts Republicans have been working with Gay people since Bill Weld appointed a flock during his one-plus terms in office. They won't stay at home on election day simply because Healey comes out for civil unions. This isn't a Conservative state and there's no significant Evangelical movement here. Healey's doing this does nothing less than throw the race right on its ear and guarantees her a voting block that's already proven its muscle - the Gay vote. The first Gay friendly governor of Massachusetts was Bill Weld, and he was reelected in an enviable, historic landslide, besting his opponent 71 percent to 28 percent. Get the message, Kerry?
Last, but not least, Healey needs a nothing-less-than-primo commercial on the airwaves right away that articulates these ideas and her commitment to out of the box thinking. It can't be anything like that yawner of a Chris Gabrielli spot airing presently, which takes thirty seconds to tell us the state's in turmoil without even hinting about Gabrielli the man, not even the part that he's run for office more times than Bill Rodgers has run the Boston Marathon.
Healey has the chance to do better. Picture the Republican nominee speaking along side a gas pump in Somerville articulating her plan for a $5000 state tax credit for anyone purchasing fuel efficient cars. As that little old lady from those ancient Wendy's commercials might have said, "Yup, you're showing me some beef!" And if she's acting governor and sugars this message with a plan to temporarily slashing the state gas tax she puts state house Dems in quite the pickle and probably picks up ten points minimum in popularity at the same time (Healey said on May 2 that she would consider a suspension of the state gasoline tax. The state gas tax is presently 21 cents per gallon).
The clock is ticking and the election is near. Healey has the money, and I happen to think the stamina, to be a real contender. To be a real winner, she needs ideas that shatter absolutely every rule in the business and consequently grab voters right by their heart strings, while the media is writing columns about her using words like 'bold', 'daring,' and 'original'. Her supporters see something special that was not seen when she first assumed state-wide office. "In Kerry Healey we have a candidate who is brilliant, forward thinking and not afraid to put forward new ideas," said Jan Saragoni, chairman of Women for Healey and one of the city's more savvy media consultants.
The times we live in demand new and unprecedented campaign tactics, and candidates who do not adapt to the new season we live in will not survive the coming tidal wave of popular discontent.
Kevin John Sowyrda is a political writer and commentator. You can reach him at and can read his blog daily at