Andy's theory is not only plausible, but likely. Healey may have an ad attacking Chris Gabrieli, but the political consequences are so obvious that there's no way she was being that straightforward. Healey inevitably must have realized that by attacking Gabrieli, it would make it look like she really, truly didn't want Gabrieli - and therefore people who wanted a Democrat in the office would be all the more likely to vote Gabrieli in the primary. Voters may be uninformed, but they're not stupid. After all, we want to win - we want to vote for the electable guy. Well, folks, like I've said all along: vote for the guy who you like best, because we're going to romp Healey any way she wants to take it.
That said, Democrats have to remember how Republicans operate. They don't win because they have more money. While that may help, it doesn't explain the phenomenon of Republican dominance. Republicans win by creating clear distinctions between candidates. They define their campaign and, more importantly, they define their opponents campaign. Old-style democrats waffle and fall right into the trap.
Kerry Healey knows not to trust a poll months away from the General Election. The candidate she wants to face isn't based on poll numbers, it's based on who she can face that would confuse voters the most. Clear distinctions are key - and she knows it. It's much easier to attack Chris Gabrieli for not being for or against the tax cut, than it is to attack Deval Patrick for not being in favor of it now. It's much easier to attack Chris Gabrieli on a convoluted plan than to attack Deval Patrick on something he's laid out black-and-white: He isn't going to support an income tax rollback right now and wants to address more pressing needs, like housing costs, jobs and healthcare - and Kerry Healey won't be able to handle that onslaught.
Just remember this when Chris Gabrieli sacrifices the Democrat Party up to Kerry Healey trying to win. He's a DLC-style politician and proud of it. DLC-style politics have led to Republican electoral dominance. John Kerry lost because of it, Al Gore lost because of it and we've lost Congress and the Senate because of years of it. However, it's not just a national phenomenon - just ask Shannon O'Brien. None of those candidates had to lose - they all are actually very different than their Republican opponents. However, they all had one fatal flaw: they listened to DLC-style politicians screaming to run to the center and look Republican-lite. Sadly, Chris Gabrieli has that trait too - and that's why Kerry Healey wants to take a crack at him.
PS: Mark my words, Gabrieli is going to run with this. He's holding a press conference at 2pm at the State House. Here's the gist of Gabrieli's speech before he makes it (mark my words), "Kerry Healey doesn't support stem cell research and wants to see little children die from childhood diabetes. The truth is she's afraid of me and knows that I poll the highest against her. If people (note how he probably won't say "Democrat") want to see an end to 16 years of failure by the Republicans in the Corner Office, vote for me."
Gabrieli is absolutely going to run with it - and Kerry Healey is going to be ecstatic. Whether I'm right or wrong on this theory, DON'T LET KERRY HEALEY INFLUENCE YOUR VOTE. This is a Democratic primary, Republicans aren't invited. Despite Gabrieli's problems, he'll still be odds-on to win if nominated. However, let's not make it easier for Kerry Healey by playing into her hands. While I hope everyone votes for Deval Patrick, I only ask that you don't vote based on Kerry Healey or DLC-style "electability" because it'll be a recipe for disaster. We don't want a close general election, especially when we can trounce Kerry Healey and send shockwaves throughout the state: the people have taken back government.