Monday, September 25, 2006

The next governor of Massachusetts...

...unfortunately, is named Deval Patrick.

Just watched the first gubernatorial debate of the general election season. Some thoughts:

- Christy Mihos denies, when asked, that he's just in the race to spoil it for the Republicans. But he used every question as an opportunity to attack Kerry Healey. If I'm Deval Patrick, I'm thrilled with his presence in the race and on the stage.

- Ditto for Grace Ross. The Green-Rainbow Party candidate clearly did not belong. And her presence, combined with Mihos', benefited Patrick greatly, as she's clearly the furthest left. It's tough for Patrick to look as liberal as he actually is when she's sitting at his left.

- Deval Patrick won the debate, big time, because he came across as well-spoken and not insane. He loses if - and only if - the voters are faced with a stark contrast, a race that, on election day, is Dukakis redux vs. a continuation of the Romney administration. He did nothing, said nothing, to move the race in that direction.

- Kerry Healey was unimpressive. Not a great performance. No, strike that. Not a good performance. Not a decent performance. Not an acceptable performance. She didn't have a good answer for the Big Dig question. She didn't have a response, any response at all, to the repeated accusations from everyone else that the Romney administration has recommended or implemented $980 million dollars in increased taxes and fees. Her chances for election rest entirely on being able to convince people that Patrick is the tax and spend candidate, and she's not. She failed. Miserably.

My inital assessment of tonight's event, from a Healey/Republican/taxpayer point-of-view? Disaster. Patrick's got an enormous institutional and demographic advantage. Healey has got to change the perception of him, and the perception of her, to make this competitive. Nothing that happened tonight advanced that cause one iota. Indeed, if this is people's introduction to Patrick, he made ground tonight. A bad night...

Update: Over at HubPolitics, they've got a different take.
As far as performances go, Healey gained the most from her performance and likely helped turn Republicans who feel "they have to vote for her" into Republicans who "want to vote for her." ... Whether his supporters are willing to admit it or not, Patrick truly lost a chance to really do some damage

What can I say? I disagree.

Technorati tags: Massachusetts, governor, healey, patrick, mihos



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