Healey is one Humpty Dumpty of many to fall.
By Kevin John Sowyrda
Perilous polling data is rarely a Sunday brunch any candidate for governor cares to munch on, so I'm surmising that Her Excellency the Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey is still reaching for the big bottle of pink stuff to assuage her nerves upon learning Sunday morning that the gap between herself and her principal opponent Deval Patrick is one she couldn't close in time for November; unless she discovers Jimmy Hoffa's body, the cure for cancer and the whereabouts of Amelia Earhart. And even then she'd lose, because it's her political destiny, just as it's the destiny for national Republicans to take a shellacking in the up coming Mid Term Election because of a 'final straw' named Congressman Mark Foley.
Locally, the die was cast the day Healey assumed office as a joined to the hip entity of an ultra conservative who had a disjointed, if any, domestic agenda while lashing out at domestic rights for Gay men and women. Forget the fact that the UNH poll, commissioned by the Boston Globe and CBS4, shows Healey some twenty-five points behind her opponent, with just days till the election. What proves true her inevitable downfall is two ultimately compelling inner polling data factoids which are more telling than any polling data we've seen in this campaign in an entire year, both of which deserve some inspection.
First, the poll shows Healey's association with Romney prompts voters to avoid supporting her own bid for office. So much for the 'standing up for the institution of marriage' and all that stuff. I believe history will write that Romney made a political blunder his party will not recover from for years. He shattered the tradition voters loved to embrace since 1991, a tradition of moderate Republican governors who, as one of them so succinctly put it, wanted to "keep government out of your pocket books and out of your bedrooms."
Romney invaded bedrooms with utterances perfectly in Goose Step with the dark agenda of radio talk show hate mongers like Howie Carr and Jay Severin, both of whom have polluted the airwaves with their disgusting, anti-Gay rhetoric with Romney - a bishop in the Mormon church - serving faithfully as their yucking-it-up side kick on a painfully frequent basis. Not very gubernatorial, and hardly presidential; and evidently damaging to the woman constitutionally serving as Romney's deputy.
The poll's second revelation is the most devastating for Healey and shows that all compartments are flooding. The UNH poll documents that people who absolutely disagree with Deval Patrick on issues straight across the public policy spectrum are nonetheless enthusiastically supporting him because they prefer his demeanor; which is to say his positive message and his inspirational persona.
This second facet of the UNH poll is unquestionably a death knell for Healey. It's something we really haven't seen before in a Massachusetts campaign of any sort and it's proof positive that the fat lady won't bother singing on election night, but has already emailed her ballad to Healey Headquarters. You can't beat an opponent when he's miles ahead of you, at this point in the race, with thousands of those supporting him admitting they don't concur with him but prefer him anyway. As one high ranking Democrat told me the day the poll came out, Patrick would have to commit "an incredible gaffe" for this race to swing the other way. Personally, I think if Patrick paraded down Beacon Hill in his birthday suit, on a Pink Elephant with Howard Stern, he'd still win this by double digits. This guy was born a winner and he's on fire right now, a political juggernaut no one and no event can stop. Should you doubt me just ask two guys named Reilly and Gabrieli what they're doing these days.
The dynamics leading to Healey's foundering campaign have unfolded in a predictable way for everyone; except those paid to advise her. First, she's an unimpressive incumbent at the exact moment in time when voters have no appetite for incumbents. You can blame the big dig for this powerful sentiment and Healey might as well be ousted Big Dig Czar Matt Amorello himself running for office because voters obviously view her as an integral part of the problem - make that catastrophe - of the day. Second, Christy Mihos' relentless blitzkrieg on Camp Healey has been more affective than the Healey "braintrust" was intellectually capable of preparing for. Healey's not ready for prime time advisors, like G.O.P. adventurist Rob Gray, must be having a deer-in-the-headlights week. What to do, what to do, what to do - he must be thinking while not chewing gum at the same time - when one's client is twenty-five points behind a guy who people don't even sync with on the issues of the day.
That's definitely a bigger challenge for Gray than the year he mysteriously lost the state of Maine for the Bush Campaign while both of the state's US senators were Republicans and Maine itself was overflowing with Christian evangelicals. (It would be like managing Ted Kennedy's campaign for US Senate in Massachusetts right now and losing.)
My advice to Healey? Save the kid's inheritance and plan for another day. If there's anyone around her who cares about Healey as a person and her own future - trust me, there isn't - they'll tell her that now it's about preserving her reputation and not being remembered as a desperate, way-behind candidate who started launching nuclear missiles like she were the Barry Goldwater candidate of Massachusetts politics. If she were a chum of mine I'd say fire your go-for-the-throat consultants and go super positive and prepare to eat the political caster oil you've got no choice to drink. Politics is often about another day, lieutenant governor.
Meanwhile, Healey's defeat in Massachusetts may be third page news at national G.O.P. headquarters on election night given the fact that they yell bon voyage to the House and send the thank you note with flowers to Mark Foley, a congressman from Florida with all the ethics of a lizard and friends who apparently regarded covering for his abhorrent behavior the same way you and I would look at giving an excuse for a co-worker late from lunch break.
Foley has admitted to soliciting a minor and his calumny is overshadowed only by the admission of House G.O.P. leaders that they had damning information regarding Foley dating back to last Autumn, but casually dismissed it. Who would have thought the Republicans in Washington were taking advice from Cardinal Bernard Law on such matters.
The only thing more disgusting than the facts flowing like sewerage from the House G.O.P. caucus is the pathetic attempt at spin control by some people who just never get it. Newt Gingrich was on Fox News Sunday this week defending the "cover up" because, as he put it, had the G.O.P. leadership gone public they would have been accused of "Gay bashing." Host Chris Wallace seemed a little stunned and questioned Gingrich on why they'd be accused of Gay bashing. Kudos to Chris.
Are you completely insane, Mr. Speaker? A man soliciting a boy for sex is not Gay, anymore than a man soliciting a girl is Straight. It's all the behavior of pedophiles and has about as much to do with Gay people as you have to do with Martians.
November will be a landslide month for Democrats, locally and nationally, for two reasons. Locally, Mitt Romney spent precious time obsessing with the behavior of consenting adults; time that should have been invested in crafting a real vision and agenda for the Commonwealth. He's consequently contaminated his 'number two' and she can't recover. Nationally, Republicans can't recover from documented evidence that they protected a colleague who was attempting to abuse a minor.
Locally and nationally, the G.O.P. has broken faith with many of their own doctrines and certainly the people. The price they will pay, in Massachusetts and Washington, will be steep indeed.
Kevin John Sowyrda is a political writer and commentator. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and read his daily blog at www.thebostonmemo.blogpost.com