Particularly from last evening's Dem candidate debate, we are damned sure that he'd be a terrible office mate and a much worse boss. When he's in court, hiding behind his, if you pardon the term, briefs, he doesn't show his nature.
Now we know, as G.I. Joe characters used to say, and knowing is half the battle.
For all but his most delusional supporters, Reilly completed the destruction of his campaign last night. Now, even before the race to the general election, we can't help but wonder where his handlers have been and how did he turn a huge campaign war chest and high personal recognition into failure.
Absent any evidence or commentary from his campaign workers, we have to assume this is Tom at his Tom-est. For example, in the debate we saw:
- Reilly repeatedly snapping fingers to "prove" what a great manager and leader he was.
- Reilly telling us again and again to trust him to run the big show or handle crises because, just because.
- Reilly many times iterating that whatever the challenge, he could do it, he was that kind of guy.
Tom's petty and childish verbal assaults on the other candidates did not sound desperate. Perhaps if he had a better grip on reality, he would feel that level of panic.
Instead, Tom was somewhere between Perry Mason and Vlad the Impaler. His out-of-his-back-pocket insults and accusations were apparently intended as some melodramatic breakthrough to prove something to someone. Instead, his "So there!" became "So what?"
To the point at hand then, has he staffed his campaign with toadies who are afraid to disagree with him and who let him make such blunders repeatedly? We have to conclude that he likely is following his personal strategy and is too arrogant and egotistic to see how it has failed him from the beginning.
From his public appearances, and particularly last evening, Tom seems to be cocksure and patronizing. He doesn't even rise to the classical tragic image of an otherwise great person with a single flaw.
If he is as he appears, he does not brook dissent. Nor would he be likely to analyze and present his positions to convince voters. Instead, he would be authoritative -- snapping his fingers as proof and saying with great conviction that he can do anything, and better than anyone. Oh, that's what he did.
Such confidence is great on a wrestling mat. It can work well on a battlefield. It has failed Tom as he as failed his own campaign this year.
Until insiders can inform us otherwise, we assume that Tom bulled ahead, just knowing that his attitude was all that was necessary to whip those pathetic voters into line. Well, that may work in the DA's office or the Attorney General's, at least when he's the top dog. Grrrr.
Without the power of position, he faces what seems to be humiliating to him -- asking for the favor of a vote, having to present reasons to support him rather than simply obey him. He either doesn't get it or can't bring himself to do it.
As cliché would have it in failed quests, we think of the Terry Malloy character in On the Waterfront talking to his brother in the backseat of the limo. "I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am."
There appears to be no one else to blame in this featurette. Reilly has managed his bout onto the canvas. Ding. Ding. KO.
Tags: massmarrier, Massachusetts, governor, debate, campaign, Tom Reilly