by Kevin John Sowyrda
Somewhere deep in the bowels of the Geneva Convention, is a clause or two regarding the humane treatment of gubernatorial aspirants and the acceptable methodology for torture versus those techniques which cross the line of even Bush Republican acceptability. One expects those seeking fortune in the plebiscite to suffer the pummeling of unearthly questioning from Boston 'journalists' who have yet to hear from their dentists that they're definitely too long in the tooth. Candidates must also endure the ignominy of the proverbial nasty political ads and the danger that most people will swallow anything if it's fed to them in sufficient quantity on the television set. But do these candidates really deserve Grace Ross?
Henri Dunant is one of the men who inspired the Geneva Convention, first convened in 1864. But now that I ponder it further even he, the greatest humanitarian I've ever studied, could not have forseen Green-Rainbow Party candidate for governor Grace Ross, who would look more natural in a Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream commercial than she has ever appeared to be on the Massachusetts gubernatorial debate stage. If Dunant were alive today he'd agree that two of the candidates who lose this race are due reparations for having to endure this 1968 throwback; that's presuming that the winner will forgo reparations in lieu of winning the corner office.
It's just too much to bear. Here you are, a Christy Mihos, a Deval Patrick and a Kerry Healey, all polling at least significant numbers, and your opportunity to engage and go at it Lincoln-Douglas style is atleast waned by a "who the heck is she" whose yet to measure a nano-point of support in any poll outside that little concrete enclave at Harvard Square by the magazine store; where they still smoke the funny stuff until the Harvard University cops get too close for comfort.
The fact that Grace has been given entry to a dimension properly and ethically reserved, atleast before now, to those who exhibited legitimacy through their past practices and potential for success is one of a plethora of examples proving the ongoing mental retardation of the Boston media establishment. Yeah, she got the ten thousand signatures to get on the ballot. Big, fat, hairy deal. One of these days a neo Nazi is going to do the same thing, but that doesn't mean we'll prop them up, elevate their stature and give them the bully pulpit they never deserved.
No, I've yet to see Grace doing the Goose Step, and the comparison is purely theoretical. It's just for the past many weeks, as I've observed Grace utter generalities broader than Arnold Schwarzenegger's shoulders and some one liners that are more childish than actually funny, I've wondered what she does to elevate the debate, improve the substance or show me the beef. After serious consideration I've come to the same conclusion as you have, according to the most recent poll, and that is that she has been a complete waste of everyone's time and would be better situated as a candidate for the board of selectmen in Athol. And that's being very rude to Athol.
Did you ever watch Hogan's Heroes. If Major Hockstedder were here he'd exclaim, "Vut is dis vooman doing here!"
She's here because the Boston media doesn't want Kerry Healey to win, or atleast you'd think so. If only Nixon could go to China, only I can throw this bone to Healey. My missives on this administration have been of such a demeanor that I should hire those body guards Wilkerson used should I ever venture near the office of His and Her Excellency at Beacon Hill. But fair is fair and I'm beginning to have my suspicions, because any half sober political novice will agree that the over crowded debate formats have made the Republican nominee's position tenuous at best - though for the record her debate negotiators were sufficiently masochistic to agree to it in the first place.
How Healey stands it, I'll never know. I'm wondering if Alfred Lord Tennyson had visions of Healey when he wrote The Charge of the Light Brigade, "cannon to left of them, cannon to right of them," and all that sort of stuff. Healey shows up on stage and sustains body blows from Christy Mihos on one flank and the irritating sarcasm of Ross on the other. "Boldly they rode and well into the jaws of Death. . .," yeah, that's been Healey under this absurd debate format which might be fine and dandy for Patrick but nonetheless intellectually dishonest on the part of the debate sponsors.
Why is it dishonest. Flash back with me to the Democratic Primary race for president when national media titans felt oddly compelled to include the Rev. (I use the title Rev. loosely here) Al Sharpton in the televised debates. It was an absurdity only journalist Lawrence O'Donnell would speak out against. You've seen him on the McGlaughlin Group and know him better as one of the creators of the NBC series, 'The West Wing.' Larry took his colleagues to task when he talked about debate segregation being perfectly acceptable, meaning that you don't let just anyone on the stage. There's got to be an elevated bar, and if you don't reach that point of distinction and credibility you should be home watching the debate like the rest of us, not faking it on stage like Ross has gotten away with here in Massachusetts.
Ross doesn't irritate me just because she's frumpy and could use about eighteen months of counseling from Queer Eyes for the Straight Guys, or just because her Green-Rainbow Party is so horrifically far to the left that the party's platform would scare the hair off Karl Marx. What gets me is that she has absolutely, positively nothing to say; and maybe that's exactly why the Boston media has cozied to her so much, because most of the time they have nothing to say either. Birds of a feather, as they say.
The race for governor is almost over, but not the suffering and humiliation for some. Grace Ross is like the bad cold that won't go away and there's no zinc cough drops that will make her disappear. The candidates will have to share the stage with her again on October 19 and then again on November 1. She's gotten more than her fifteen minutes of fame while what we've gotten is a diluted debate series that was great for Ross's cell of supporters and negative for the democratic process, which should not allow every Tom, Dick and Harry and Grace to get on stage and babble.
Finally, Ross's media exposure has apparently not translated into a bulging campaign war chest. I called her campaign headquarters for comment on Tuesday night using the number 508 754 3505 as displayed on the candidates web page. But the number was disconnected, just like the candidate will be in a few, short days; thank God.
Kevin John Sowyrda is a political writer and commentator.