Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gosssman against the wall

Neither has a pol/sales rep/cheerleader personality, Yet it's Steve Grossman v. Martha Coakley for MA Gov. She leads him by perhaps 30% heading to the Sept. 9th primary.

Our irony factor is that the third Dem in the primary has the best platform and policies. Donald Berwick (Dr. Don) is the true visionary and progressive in the race. He's nowhere near as well known as the two cabinet members and few give him even a slim chance.

Cliché time

Yesterday's intro of Grossman's first video ad reeled in the stereotypes and assorted tropes. (Click the ad below and judge for yourself.)

As usual, the silliest was in the Boston Herald. Immediately under the head Steve Grossman goes on the attack in first ad of race was a tightly cropped pic of him looking like a screaming berzerker (definitely not his style or wont). Winger columnist Hillary Chabot wrote it was a decision to go negative and got a pol turned UMASS prof to call it a Hail-Mary approach.

Set aside her perpetual melodrama and disdain for all lefty and Dem ideas and folk. This piece is asinine and wrong. Personally after observing and writing about politics — five years in South Carolina, 10 in Manhattan and 34 in Boston — I think I recognize negative and dirty politics. Grossman's I-know-biz-and-job-creation-from-doing-it doesn't qualify. He didn't even use Coakley's name and just said he could and had done it.

As usual, the LITE version came on TV news/noise. On WCVB, Janet Wu missed repeatedly with loaded content. For example, she denigrated his introduction of a female employee he had helped twice as her boss as "bragging." She has real emotional issues with Grossman. Then over at CBSBoston, Steve Keller was his usual hit-and-miss self. He began reasonably, raising the question of whether jobs would really be what swung this primary, as Grossman holds. Yet he thoroughly muddled this with a made-up alternative about it being centered on women. Lackaday.

Refreshingly enough, over at the Boston Globe, Joshua Miller had a passable take on the ad and related campaign. He describe the ad, noting that it drew a contrast. He avoided the clumsiness of the other commentators. He didn't analyze or speculate what might work for Grossman.

Any chance?

Big questions remain in what looks like a grim eight weeks for Grossman. When the first polls came out showing Coakley skunking him, many asked how one cabinet member had such a much higher profile. Likely her then humiliating 2010 loss to Scott Brown for the U.S. Senate seems to have played out in the predictable stereotype; in the minds of voters, she may have been elevated to Senator/Governor status. Grossman remains "just" a successful business guy who's done really good stuff as Treasurer and Receiver General.

To Keller's unanswered query though, what is this election about and what would enable Grossman to win? Unfortunately for him, timing on the jobs-creation is not good. Voters who get any news know by now that our MA unemployment is about 5.5% and many know folk who are back to work. There are still huge problems, like in gateway cities and lack of preparation in education to prepare young and reentering workers for future needs (which will also attract businesses).

Both Coakley and Grossman when they spoke with Left Ahead said these economic and education issues were huge. Yet at the moment, people here seem less morose and panicked about it all.

In TV dramas, such elections would pivot on a sudden surprise scandal revelation. Forget it. Coakley has been known to misspeak and misjudge her audiences, but she's no crook. Grossman is literally and figuratively an Eagle Scout. He's clean.

I suspect he'll not find the traction he needs in his job creation ad(s). Here's betting he has several more approaches ready to go. He might even be able to sweeten some of his issues area, say promising affordable daycare for working moms. No time to waste for him.

Vaguely related: My rant on his weird hangout for the ad last night is here.

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