Sunday, August 27, 2006

Some Things Work Both Ways

Like this:

(Note to readers: my words are in italics. Also, read this response I just wrote for something that isn't quite as juicy and snarkalicious.)

It’s sad when a seemingly nice and intelligent guy demonstrates truly uninformed and biased opinions on a regular basis, but unfortunately that is what my blogging peer Aaron at Mass Democracy has been reduced to. Aaron and I have been trading barbs back and forth for some time now over which candidate is best suited to represent the Democratic Party in the election for governor of Massachusetts this year. I have been... and continue to be a strong supporter of Deval Patrick. Aaron is equally vigilant in his support of one of Patrick's opponents, Tom Reilly.

Early in our blogging feud (note to readers - I never realized Aaron
considered this a fued... wierd, huh? Apparently politely disagreeing = fued to some people?), Aaron
demonstrated some common sense and respectable points of view. Lately, however, he has gone so far off the deep end in his hatred for Deval Patrick that it is actually embarrassing to watch. It began with the revelation by Boston Globe reporter Joan Vennochi that several Reilly aides had e-mailed one another regarding Ray Rogers of Stop Killer Coke, an organization whose goal is to expose the crimes on humanity and the environment inflicted by the Coca-Cola Corporation, of which Mr. Patrick is a former legal counsel. Since then, the
wheels have come off of Aaron's blog.

When the Vennochi article hit the web, Aaron said he could give a rats ass about Killer Coke and the Swiftboating of candidates. Overall, his all-too-proud ignorance was astonishing, not even caring about whether or not a law was broken. He proclaimed that the Reilly campaign was "in some vague way" helping Ray Rogers without having any shred of evidence as to the level of the Killer Coke/Tom Reilly relationship. Furthermore, he didn't even ask Tom Reilly to publically condemn Ray Rogers for spreading baseless innuendo.

Well, people woke up to their morning papers, and guess what? The Boston Globe didn't give proper coverage to the story. Sure, the bloggers were up in arms, but most of them were never with Reilly to begin with. Average, working families across the state didn't have the opportunity to learn about what truly happened. What is grossly offensive is the superior attitude that emanates from Tom Reilly's supporters. You see, Aaron: when a superior-acting blogger goes and tells off someone for having a bias when they clearly have their own, it's not all that intelligent.

A few days later, when it became clear that the Reilly camp was still standing, Ryan posted a follow up attempting to make sure the story wasn't forgotten. He encouraged Mr. Reilly to inform his campaign staff to “Play by the rules.” Aaron snarkly notes that there's no official campaign rulebook and doesn't care about candidates spreading misinformation or using shady tactics - in fact, it's all par for the course and makes for a great system of Democracy! Unfortunately for Aaron, most of people disagree and it's a statistical fact that negative campaigning hurts a candidate's own image - often ending up hurting their own campaign.

It soon became clear that Vennochi’s Killer Coke story wasn’t causing shockwaves throughout the state, especially since there was a lack of follow-up and media coverage. Furthermore, his repeated contentions that illegal activity had taken place have gone nowhere. It's a difficult law to prove and apparently it only matters if it's illegal, the fact that it was shady only makes it campaign-genius and something we should be proud of and gloat about. Even Adam Reilly (no relation to Tom) of the Boston Phoenix, not the biggest Tom Reilly fan in the world, agrees.

“The Reilly campaign’s apparent coordination with Rogers isn’t necessarily problematic from a legal point of view,” Adam Reilly said in his Phoenix column from August 17.

Here we are a few weeks later, and the Reilly campaign is not only still standing, but a recent poll shows him in a statistical tie for first place. Another poll, released on the same day, show's him in dead last at 20%. Furthermore, every other poll from at least the last month show Reilly in last place. Which brings me to my next point. A few days ago, Ryan wrote a little beauty called ”Reilly surging to third.” In it he quoted an e-mail that was sent to Reilly supporters stating that it is an “Exciting time in the race for governor. And with four weeks until the Democratic primary, the Reilly campaign is right where we want to be.” Ryan then questioned why the campaign would want to be in “Third place?” Well Ryan, let’s try going over this once more. When a poll shows one candidate with 34%, and the other two tied for 30%, and the margin of error is 4.8%, that is a statistical tie. Well, Aaron, let's try going over this once more. When a poll shows a candidate with 20%, and the other two have a higher percentage of the electorate, the candidate with 20% is in third. Furthermore, that third-place candidate had been in third in all polls for over a month and I - as a responsible student of politics - prefer to see the results of a poll revealing extrordinarily different results repeated before I take it for fact. In the case of a poll the apparently unbiased Aaron ignores, the difference between the guy in front and the two guys behind him is MORE than the margin of error. Furthermore, with one exception, all other recent polls show Tom Reilly in third beyond the margin of error.

In Ryan's latest, he reiterates his contention that Mr. Reilly is not fit to be governor for having gone negative in his campaign for Attorney General in 1998 and for many other reasons Aaron completely ignores. At this point, I actually do feel bad for Aaron. He seems to think that politics is all knives and daggers, and anyone who tries to keep an upbeat, positive campaign deserves to lose because they aren't cuthroat assholes. Sorry Aaron, but I have higher standards and millions of other voters do too. Perhaps instead of validating what's shitty in our political system, you should be dignified and stand for change.

The sad irony to all of this is that Aaron, like so many of Tom Reilly's supporters, says Deval Patrick supporters are mean bullies when really Aaron has gone beyond what I've read, seen or heard from any Deval Patrick supporter. Perhaps supporters are accountable for their own actions and we shouldn't blame candidates for what their supporters do, at least when those supporters aren't strongly linked to the campaign. However, I assure you that Patrick himself is not getting all upset by people saying mean things about him - he wrong a lengthy response in an email to clear his falsely damaged name. He’s a big boy, and he can handle criticism, but won't timidly stand back from Swiftboaters. He knew the establishment would do anything - including using nasty campaign tactics, lies and cheating - when he entered this race, and he chose to enter it anyway to reform the way we do government and offer hope to voters who feel turned-off by the system.

And Aaron, in regards to this line from a recent post of mine: “(Reilly) is about to have an early retirement-and all his effort went to what? A second story apartment he doesn’t own?” Maybe you and Howie Carr could take a step back and realize that taking quotes way out of context is immature, immoral and wrong. Both Mr. Reilly and his wife have been in public service for virtually their entire careers, and have raised three daughters along the way and that had almost nothing to do with my post, but nice try. The point was that after losing an election when serving the public for a lengthy period of time and essentially getting a vote of no-confidence, it really stings. I wrote a blog about how I can relate to it and felt a lot of sympathy for Tom Reilly. Aaron chose to ignore all that and make up shit instead. Good job taking one right out of Karl Rove and Tom Reilly's handbook, I'm sure Mr. Reilly would be proud.

2 comments:

D. R. Tucker said...

May I just say that I officially feel sorry for both of y'all?

Anonymous said...

I think Reilly's supporters are the biggest hypocrites around. They literally change their positions within the course of a conversation based on whatever they think will help them win. If Deval were going negative, they'd scream bloody murder about being divisive and hurting our chances in the fall, but it's fine when Reilly does it, that's reality and playing with the big boys. The new system to keep candidates off the ballot at the convention was wonderful last time around when the old school conservative Dems were the ones dreaming it up to keep progressives off the ballot, but, whoops, it's actually working to the progressive's advantage this time around...now it's an issue of democracy! I mean hypocracy, no, democracy! Shady back door deals are bad, no good!

This is what I hate about the conservative Dems, they're all about "party unity" when trying, over and over and over again, to sucker us into supporting yet another old school troglodyte who doesn't represent us, but where are they with the party unity when the candidate happens to be a progressive? Where's the, we all have to vote for him regardless of whether he's our dream candidate or not, he's our candidate? I know damn well that none of the Reilly supporters I know are going to vote for Deval in the general if he wins the primary (well, at least they won't be voting Republican this time since the Republicans nominated a woman). Party unity only goes in one direction for these fools, and that's to the right. And farther to the right. And can't we go a little bit more to the right? Blech.

About Ryan's Take