Saturday, June 10, 2006

Will the Best Bucks Win?

This year's gubernatorial election may be unique in candidates' attitudes. Three of the four rich folk -- Kerry Healey, Chris Gabrieli and Christy Mihos -- claim not too subtly:
  1. I have so much money that I won't, can't be outspent.
  2. I therefore am the best hope of our party getting (or keeping) the corner office.
From one angle, Tom Reilly is right there. He loves the common-man/apartment dweller image, but he has many millions collected for this campaign.

Only (the still rich guy) Deval Patrick has taken a grassroots approach. His message, not his investment portfolio or existing war chest, has gotten and kept his supporters. The others seem largely left with whines like, "If he really loved you, he'd pledge to give you back your 0.3% -- about one three-hundredths -- of your state taxes back to, to, well, maybe buy dinner.

That surely must please the Republicans and Healey immensely. Gabrieli just barely, and by the grace of House Speaker Sal Dimasi tossing him surely-strings-attached delegates at the last minute, bought his way onto the primary ballot.

Now he has sworn to spend up to $15 million and change to win the primary. This means, most obviously, that the candidates' and Democratic Party's wealth pisses down the political urinal, while Healey and the Republicans watch with amusement and a crisp Muscadet in hand. They count their cash as the Democrats spend each other down.

Obviously, the best for the DP would have been for Patrick or even Reilly to have taken all the marbles at the convention. Second best would have been for the relative losers to say, "Okay. It's important enough for Massachusetts that we retake the governor's office that I step down and support the leader, the next governor."

I think it's fair to say that neither Reilly nor Gabrieli cares as much for the commonwealth's citizens as they do for their own ambitions and egos. That should be no surprise among politicians.

Let's assume the very unlikely, that Gabrieli wins the primary. He would do it on fumes, or more like glue vapors. He has a venture capitalist's platform, which has as its centerpiece and almost entirety a $1 billion stem-cell R&D program. Like any good VC, he's mostly Barnum and bunkum. His latest good idea is a great idea and it will lead to solutions to all major problems. Trust him.

Also like a typical VC, he is very LITE. Even Reilly's pathetic, lock-'em-up platform is deeper and farther ranging. Take away the Healey-style buzzwords and Gabrieli has shown us next to nothing.

Consider the piece in today's Globe that covers how late and lame he was on supporting same-sex marriage and gay-rights. As this DP campaign continues, we're likely to see more comparing by the candidates. Gabrieli was busy doing a good job making money after losing two statewide offices. He didn't have brilliant or even solid platforms then or now. He hasn't been saving the world or the state or even Boston. He has considerable catching up to do, but would be well advised not to claim positions he never had.

Back to the assumption, Gabrieli wins the primary. Then he and the Queen of the North Shore go wallet to wallet, money-o a money-o.

Let's say he's been right all along and that the message isn't the thing. Let's say that the one who spends the most wins, and in this extrapolation, it's he.

What do we, Massachusetts, get?
  1. A Democrat in the statehouse.
  2. A visionless egotist who has a one-trick show.
I can't see him cajoling, inspiring or even browbeating the General Court and its leaders into action. Lord knows, he has next to no actions for promote. We have had a stagnate and cowardly legislature for so long and a series of Republican governors who do not make them solve our problems, much less lead us to a better future.

Perhaps in such a case, it would turn the cliché on its ear. You get what pays for you.

Unless Gabrieli suddenly produces more than fluff and platitudes, that's a very scary thought.

Gabby Up and Down: LeftinLowell has a great set of comments on Gabrieli's money and ideas or non-ideas.

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William said...

RE: "I think it's fair to say that neither Reilly nor Gabrieli cares as much for the commonwealth's citizens as they do for their own ambitions and egos. That should be no surprise among politicians."

What is this based on? And why does it not apply to Patrick?

massmarrier said...

It would have applied to Patrick if Reilly had won twice the delegates he did, and the winner of the primary had to face a fat Republican Party and a rich nominee on that side. The facts are the reverse.

The current dynamics are that three Dems spending millions of their own and the Party's money to win the primary puts the winner at a marked disadvantage against the yawning, closed-purse Republican. No surprise there.

This time, after all that Republican domination in the office, we need to win it. I have yet to see anything from the way and way, way behind place and show candidates to make me switch. Unless they have a better platform than they have shown, it's all ego theater.

Bugsy said...

you are not listen, if you have not heard of a single reason to switch candidates. I supported Devel last Fall and gave him $50 bucks. Now I regret it.

Deval works for Republicians, lives like a Republican and is as intolerant and narroe minded as most Republicans.

Devel does even work well with other Democrats. What's the point of controling the State House with the Gov. and Lef. can't work together.

Gabrieli is the best candidate. Like it or not, the MA economy is built in venture money and venture ideas. And, the problems we have don't require the services of a civil rights attorney.

massmarrier said...

Nice yucks. Thanks.

I listen. I read. I analyze. Garbrieli has been very low on substance. He'd better show a fleshed-out and much improved program and set of positions during the primary race. We're going to see a bunch of debates, maybe he's been holding big stuff in reserve.

Among the three, Deval is the least Republican-like and most consistently and widely progressive. Even for the few positions of his with which I disagree, I know where he stands and why, and what he would like to do about it.

Until they show otherwise, neither Chris nor Tom provides anything like that depth and width. If Gabrieli has the stuff, he'd better stop hiding it behind a smile and a bankbook.

Anonymous said...

"A visionless egotist who has a one-trick show."

Mike, you may be right about the ego, but gosh, I can't agree that Gabs doesn't have substance. We talked to him for 90 freakin' minutes, and like him or not, "lightweight" was definitely not our impression. I just don't think that line of attack is going to stick.

William said...

I don't know--I think it's pretty ridonkulous to expect Reilly and Gabrieli to drop out and support Patrick in the name of party unity. I don't think it means that they have huge egos, it just means that they want a shot at being governor just like Patrick. Delegates are not representative of the vast majority of primary voters, and I think it's reasonable that they want a chance to be tested among real voters. Reilly has been paying his dues and working his ass off for years in Massachusetts public service, it's only natural that he eventually take a crack at the state's highest office. Just because you don't like him doesn't mean that he cares more about his ego than the citizens of Massachusetts.

Anonymous said...

Come on!!!


Like "No Ordinary Leader" and "We can Hope again?"

Deval is ALL platitudes, all the time!

Oh, and it's nice to see another Deval supporter being a bastion of negativity and divisiveness...

massmarrier said...

Welll, the debates should be facsinating. (I remain sorry that the Dems' bucks will go to fighting each other though.)

Perhaps Reilly or Gabrieli will come up with more than I have seen. To me, Deval put out a broad and substantial plan for the commonwealth many months ago. The other two haven't risen to the challenge. It's look at this thing over here or pick, pick, pick.

They have to show me. They haven't yet.