Friday, October 27, 2006

Getting down to the wire.......and Holly Conflict

Too many mistakes.
by Kevin John Sowyrda

Should Deval Patrick assume the seals of office in November, the Commonwealth will slip into an abyss of government-sponsored criminal enterprises, where the office of His Excellency coddles the perpetrators of heinous, unspeakable acts of violence and succors them, just as Romulus and Remus were nurtured by a she-wolf.......or so the advertisements of Republican aspirant Kerry Healey would have us believe.

Unfortunately for Healey, there are two endemic problems inflicting her bid for high office, to say nothing of the fact that most people shouldn't care who Romulus and Remus were (Romulus killed Remus and then founded Rome. For further information just rent the 'I Claudius' DVD box set.). First, the citizenry is no more apt to buy Healey's commercials than they're lined up with cash at the spinach aisle. Second, Healey's campaign has been one of the worst produced, orchestrated and executed political events in state G.O.P. history; for the following very specific reasons.

First, Healey's in the wrong race. She should be the Republican roasting Ted Kennedy now, who instead faces some mouse of a candidate who won't break seventeen percent. One must admit that it's time for Old Ted to face another Joe Malone, somebody who gets him back on his toes and actually makes him defend some of his economic policies which apparently haven't been too gloriously successful, unless you refuse to glance at cities like Lawrence, Holyoke and Springfield.

Had Healey run a highly positive effort against the man embraced by Democrats and considered anathema by most Republicans, inevitable defeat aside, she would have made a national name for herself and in a few months would be deputy secretary for such and such for the last two years of the Bush Administration, which beats the future she's looking at today - a lot of free time for High Tea at Myopia.

Second, Healey's time is so incredibly off cue, one wonders who can possibly be advising this woman. Anyone putting their finger to the wind even a year ago would have seen the growing anti incumbent sentiment and the fact that it was simply going to be the 'Democrats' turn' this cycle.

Third, we need not wonder whose advising the lieutenant governor because we know his name is Rob Gray. You can't discuss Kerry Healey absent a mention of Rob Gray, anymore than you can analyze the Bush Presidency without studying Karl Rove. Gray is Healey's Rove, with more the bravado and ten times the venom. I was speaking at length Tuesday morning with one of the best known Republican officials in Massachusetts, a man with years of experience in G.O.P. politics. He agreed that Gray's "go for the throat" campaign tactics have not only destroyed Healey's chances for victory but that the stratagem is a throw back, an antiquated plan for victory that no longer works in an era when voters have become immune to negative advertising - to such an extent that its effectiveness is already being questioned by the more savvy strategists on both sides of the aisle.

Fourth, Healey does not know how to answer questions. If I didn't know better I'd swear her debate coaching came from the same crew that ill prepared Shannon O'Brien four years ago. Healey's debate performances rate poorly because even when handed a softball she still can't hit it out of the park. Take this querie from that pathetic - more on this later - debate at Fanueil Hall last week. New England Cable News reporter Allison King asked one of the few decent questions of the night when she nailed Healey on Romney's adnauseum use of Massachusetts political culture as a one liner on the Republican fundraising circuit in the Midwest and other regions. Healey could have played it sharp and to the point, without throwing the old man under the buss. "Mitt Romney will always be my friend, but he's campaigning for president right now in a way I wish he would not." The crowd would have cheered, though to no avail long-term.

Last, but not least, Healey has violated one of the most basic tenets in big-time American politics. You don't go nuclear on the T. V. ad thematics until you've first identified yourself to the electorate; in the process establishing a base of support and a reservoir of respect. I think Healey's 'who am I' ads lasted about a fortnight before she started behaving like North Korean dictator Kim IL Jung, a bomb tosser without much of a cause.

And now for just a little bit more on that political debate last week, which reminded me of Winston Churchill's famous quote, "Democracy is the worst form of government; except for all the rest." Last week, David Gergen had me convinced that it's really "the worst" on such occasions as that. Am I the only person who, having watched this man try to moderate for one hour, can no longer fathom how or why leaders of the free world ever sought his advice and counsel.

As for the questions, my reaction was to call CVS to see if they'd get me some quick cyanide. Would it have been so unnatural for someone to ask Grace Ross, "As the first Gay woman to run for governor of Massachusetts what is your opinion of this administration's statements regarding Gay citizens and what do you have to say to the lieutenant governor this evening that might change her mind as to your right to marry in Massachusetts?"

The losers in this race will hardly be just Ross, Healey and Mihos. The press has lost credibility. Take this week's edition of the Boston Herald featuring G.O.P. strategist - a strategist is a consultant with no clients - Holly Robichaud. For the umpteenth time she shredded Christy Mihos in her analysis sidebar which is featured regularly in the tabloid. God forbid that the paper disclose (and it never has) that until recently Robichaud was on the Mihos payroll as a highly paid consultant until the Mihos people fired her for what one top Mihos commandant told me was "erratic behavior." Nothing like a strategist scorned.

The election clock ticks and Patrick's lead surges. But the race might have been atleast close had Healey relied on some real, adult advice from savvy players instead of yielding to those who can't fathom the new times we live in.

Kevin John Sowyrda is a political writer and commentator. You can email him at and read his daily blog at

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