Thursday, April 13, 2006

Kerry Healey Shocked by Snow

When I was on my freshman swimming team in South Carolina, we got snow one afternoon -- a blizzard by Columbia standards, almost one inch. Those of us from New Jersey grunted and sweat away at our sprints. The Australian and guys from Florida immediately hauled out of the pool and ran out the doors (into the main campus) wearing only their tank suits, which of course, are really nylon hankies. They wanted to see and feel this frozen sky offering for the first time in their lives.

Yet even these guys knew what snow was, that it was real, that it was cold. They had never seen it but its basic chemistry was no mystery.

If we are too believe our lieutenant governor, she had no idea when she came to study at Harvard that she'd need a coat or that winters in New England were cold. Let's all say it together, "Duh."

Kerry Healey was the latest to get the fluff treatment in a NECN interview, transcribed in its inane totality in the Globe here. At the moment, there's a click to NECN for the whole interview, should you be so masochistic. The NECN site had her up top earlier, but seems to have hidden the clip.

This was the same format as the Tom Reilly and Deval Patrick thingummies. It was a grocery checkout experience of the women's service magazine variety. Up close and pseudo-personal, no politics please, just tell us about your feelings and what's important to you.

Disclaimer: I endorse Patrick and have contributed to his campaign.

Healey acquitted herself the least well of the three. Her words reinforce her shallowness and callowness. Pity, this was a good chance to demonstrate humanity, if not populism.

One quibble up front is that she plays the sick dad card too often, as though it is always trump. In the interview she says that after his heart attack, "we spent most of our savings on his healthcare costs. We didn't have healthcare insurance for his hospitalization."

Certainly, having one or two sick parents with medical expenses is bad and something many of us Boomers can relate to powerfully. However, we're also savvy enough to know that a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel with 27 years in didn't go without tons of free medical care and hospitalization, far more than even those of us with health insurance could expect. Her violin sounds smaller and tinnier by the second.

So, she grew up middle to upper-middle class and maybe took a dip to middle when her father got sick. That's not the Chicago projects or blue-collar Springfield, but it's a modest story. She didn't get sleek and pampered until she was well into her twenties. Ah shucks.

So, what can we learn in 30 minutes of Kerry?

She was so sheltered in her military/Florida upbringing that immigrant-derived neighborhoods were all new here. "I hadn't ever seen whole communities of either Italians or Irish or anyone else that really viewed themselves as a cohesive group..." (Insert snark: That's what must have inspired her to move to Beverly -- to be with her people.)

She went to Harvard and got a scholarship to Trinity in Dublin, where she met the Mr. She alleges that she married him because their military/beach/Harvard backgrounds were the same. (New snark: Kissing you is just like kissing myself. Smack.)

She thinks that leaders need have others tell them what to think, as in:
(P)eople who are in positions of power -- policy makers, politicians, people who lead agencies, and so forth -- don't have any time to really figure out what the right thing is to do, and there's this whole group of people who spend their time researching what's the right thing to do and writing papers about it and giving speeches at obscure conventions somewhere, and they actually know the answers, a lot of them. And I was one of those people once, and I realized that there's never any time for those two worlds to connect...
That sure sounded like abrogation of duty and even of thought. Must we rely on a Gov. Healey to find the right brains to tell her what to say and think? Doesn't she have any ideas of her own? Didn't she get the clue from George the Lesser about the vision thing. Can we point her to the dictionary definition of leader?

Her mother and mother-in-law were public school teachers. She sends her kiddies to private school, as though the rich burbs' schools aren't good enough. Her take on that is double: 1) she wants more structure and uniforms and "an environment where they can talk about a way that you can't always do in a public school setting," and 2) lip service is to public schools and we have to trust her on that.

She and hubby have several houses and bought others for their parents. She has become very New England in the sense of seeing preserving capital as a prime virtue. As she euphemistically puts it, "We feel very fortunate, absolutely we do, and real fortunate to be able to, for example, to have bought houses for my husband's parents, and I am very glad to do that. I think that being able to provide security for your family is one of the nicest things that you can ever be able to do..."

Unlike the similar feel-good pieces with the Dem candidates, there was zero domesticity. The only thing she says about her kids is that they are too good for public school. There's nothing about family, and not the slightest implication that she cooks or interacts any more sincerely with them than she does with us.

From the interview, she was as sheltered and ignorant as a teen as she has remained. If she has any sense at all of what real people do, feel and think, she successfully hid it here. The interview does nothing to suggest that she is anything other than insulated from the world in which most of us live, certainly from that of the poor and middle classes she aims to govern. (Last snark: Maybe she can take a short course over the summer on common people.)

Amusingly enough, her view does not recognize the reality observers would see as her life. As she said, "I did not start out with any sort of security blanket. I knew very well from the time I was 15 that the life I made would be simply that. That I would have to work, and if I worked well, and if I studied hard and made good decisions, that I would have a shot in life."

Ah, another self-made candidate. God, isn't America great?

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Anonymous said...

Ah, so much self-deception. Where to begin with the Lt. Gov? If this is how she presents herself in a fluff piece where she is given the chance to present as a humble being who can connect with the voters on a personal level, then is there much to worry about?

Does she not have enough money to hire a media consultant who can at least tell her how to present to tell her story so she does not sound like she has no clue about real struggle? Or heck, even mild struggle?

How about hiring one of those policy people since she does not have time to form her own opinions?

Why are the Republicans putting all of their eggs in her basket? If she is surprised to find snow in New England, then might not she be just as surprised to find those eggs are fragile and break if you jostle them?

What a waste.

massmarrier said...

Nice trope -- eggs.

I keep thinking that she'll suddenly burst forth as a solid challenger, that she has some hidden something. Saying we must have a Republician to balance our DINO legislature doesn't do it.

Surely among all the Wellesley/Beverly/Dover white Republicans there must be one with some real ideas, some real leadership...well, maybe not. Is she the best they have?