After Deval Patrick's ho-hum and somewhat defensive last debate as a candidate leading into the primary, I feared he might struggle tonight. Not to worry, he was solid and by far the class of the stool sitters.
Disclaimer: This blog supports and has endorsed Patrick since the spring.
Before the moderator Chris Wallace's very first smirk of the evening, questions included:
- Will Green-Rainbow's Grace Ross have any impact?
- Will Independent Christy Mihos go more after Republican Kerry Healey or Democrat and front-runner Deval Patrick?
- Will Healey address the failures of the Romney administration or just attack Patrick?
- Will Patrick get whiny or defensive?
A surprise was that Ross had her best performance to date. For example, Healey hit her with saying you want to do this, that and everything without raising taxes, how can you do that. Ross was ready and cited something $5 billion she'd get from flat taxes and savings, basically hitting the rich families and corporations, Robin Hoodishly. She seemed to be talking out the top of her hat, but with great conviction.
Mihos was in Healey's pointy face all night. Pointy had another meaning as he kept pointing accusingly at her as he called her administration corrupt, do-nothing and irresponsible. He'd hit at Patrick now and then, but he was hunting for Healey skin tonight.
His best points were those she lobbed to him. She kept saying the Big Dig deaths, costs and everything wrong were the legislature and Turnpike Authority's fault. She and Gov. Willard Romney were trying to fix the mess of those dreadful Democratic lawmakers.
Mihos was on the Authority before Acting Governor Jane Swift with Republican Party head Kerry Healey saw that he was tossed. He does not seem to be one to forgive or forget.
Unfortunately for Healey, he also was able to tell her and the viewing public where she was wrong and where she was lying. The governor's office had the figures and reports all along and did nothing.
When it was his turn to chime in, Deval returned to the big kid's theme lacking in Healey and Mihos' nah-nah charges. He said that it was the job of the governor to collaborate with the legislature to get a handle on these big issues. Avoiding responsibility and blame were not his way.
The tenor varied by candidate. Unfortunately for her, Healey was strident and unbelievable again. Someone told her too often and too clearly that her role in the debate was to attack Patrick unrelentingly. So, each time she had a 1 minute question or a 30 second rebuttal, she'd quickly turn it to saying not what she would do but what Patrick would do.
First of all, she should be about convincing us to vote for her and why. Second, only a loyalist coming in could believe that she knew and could predict what Patrick thinks, feels and how he'll act. By extrapolating way out on his statements she failed to convince that he was too general. Instead, she showed that all she had was a plan to get people to vote against Deval. He may be physically short, but by concentrating so much on him, she made him look real tall tonight.
Let's all pick up the dailies tomorrow and watch for Adam Reilly's take at the Phoenix on Thursday. Get your political Jones satisfied meanwhile with the usual suspects, Blue Mass Group, Ryan's Take, .08 Acres and the like. Oh, yeah, be sure to cruise Universal Hub for links to the best punditry. (Links are left in the blog roll).
Honestly, narrow little fellow that I am, I would have been more excited had the debate covered whether the candidates would fight or support the anti-same-sex-marriage amendment at the November 9th ConCon. In lieu of that, I'll see what the MSM sloggers and the bloggers have to say.
I'd like to get through with one of these TV debates without the obvious cheap physical comments, but I must be too shallow. To Christy, where did you get that odd tan, looking like bronze enamel? It was distracting and maybe blinding to the other candidates.
And Kerry, is it too late to redo the do? She is an ectomorph with a long, long, thin, thin face. She can't help that and most in her horsey set likely think you can't be too thin. But the hair doesn't move and it's way out the side off her ears. Her head nods and turns, but the rigid salon-blonde hair just stays put. That's a personal Astrodome. Do we talk to the face or to the do?
Tags: massmarrier, Massachusetts, governor, Deval Patrick, Kerry Healey, Grace Ross, Christy Mihos, debate