Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How Credible the Elephants?

There are likely a few things we can't assume before Nov. 2nd, including:
  • Voters are paying attention to TV, radio, papers and blogs to know MA candidates
  • Obvious failures of vision and reason by GOP candidates will be obvious to voters
For a couple of cases in just the past two days, Gov.-Would-Be Charlie Baker was unable to be honest or show even moderate wit with newspaper editors and self-moniker-ed Mary Z played coyote to the roadrunner on NECN. BlueMassGroup has concise and link-y diaries on these. They expand on my very short judgment that Connaughton flubbed her chance and analyze Baker's failure with the board of a North Shore newspaper.

So far what these stumblers have shared is epitomized by repetition of low-level, lowbrow talking points. Not only is Baker's target higher profile, but his campaign tries to demand deference to his accomplishments in his only elected office as a Swampscott selectman, to his powerful financial role in the Weld administration and as turnaround manager at Harvard Pilgrim.

So we look.

What we see likely says much about us as about the GOP prospects here in five weeks. Those spaced out enough on cliché may well ignore the Baker who:
  • Was a high and higher tax guy in Swampscott
  • Led the successful effort in the state house to Big Dig financing that continues to hobble our economy while delaying infrastructure work until it too is prohibitively pricey
  • Made Harvard healthy with massive layoffs and trend-setting premium hikes
It's naive to say you can't have it both ways. He either was a spendthrift and a staff butcher or is a financial wiz and visionary. Here as in so many cases, the emotions of the voters mean that for many, a pol can have it both ways.
Many will see the pathetic Wizard of Oz when the dog pulls the curtain aside. Others continue to visualize the giant head and believe in his omnipotence.

His Auditor aspirer was even worse. Baker at least mixes up his claims, even if his platform is simpleminded and his proposals ignore economic impacts. Connaughton has that asthenic, two-tine mini-fork of a campaign.

Every sentence or two, she repeats, "I'm the only CPA in the race and we need an auditor to be Auditor." Then the deal sealer is supposedly that she was the thorniest thorn, as she puts it, in the side of the turnpike commission.

In the real world, those would be starting positions, opening gambits. As we saw when NECN's Jim Braude asked for more, she doesn't have any. When Dem candidate Suzanne Bump noted the obvious, that the job takes someone who can manage CPAs and other underlings, it was a vacant stare and...again....nothing.

These undercard bouts of Auditor, Treasurer and Secretary are huge this year. It's great that the first two are getting debate and media time, and disgraceful that Secretary Bill Galvin is hiding. Each of these positions could use an overhaul and upgrade to new economic and technology realities.

Unfortunately for the Republicans so far, voters paying attention are likely to be stunned at what the GOP guys and gals don't have. Fortunately for them, it appears that relatively few voters are really paying attention.

GOP voters as well as pols here are hungry for more victories. They reasonably assume the climate for them has not been this good in decades, maybe since WWII. We can be sure many will have selective hearing and vision during debates and interviews. We can be sure that emotion will be as if not more powerful than reason when at the voting station.

For the 51% of us who are unenrolled and for the DINOs, what we pay attention to is the game.

We have to be aware that young voters are not plugged into this campaign season. Part of that is the Patrick/Murray and state Dem party's fault for letting netroots, social media and other approaches slide over the past four years. Part is what we are seeing nationally where the elected Dems did not have quick fixes for messes that took eight to 20 years to create; it's less exciting to get behind the oxen than the parade floats.

So on the face of it, the lack of programs and lame presentations should doom Baker, Connaughton and most GOP candidates. We can't be sure that enough voters are paying attention nor that they see the obvious.

Patrick and his crew can't stop until 8 p.m. on November 2nd.

Tags: massmarrier,Massachusetts, Baker, Connaughton, elections, GOP, credibility, BMG

No comments: