For the past few days, I've been having fun by poking at Kerry Healey. She's trying to run a campaign that's as negative as possible, but it just isn't working. Normally, after the MSM starts tearing her a new one, I'd have some pity for Kerry Healey. At one point, during the primary, I ceased to dislike Tom Reilly and just felt bad for him. Kerry Healey doesn't deserve that; she won't get my pity. Instead, I'll watch with fiendish glee as she gets crushed by Deval Patrick in November.
However, at times it isn't going to be pretty. Kerry Healey has seen the poll numbers. She knows that her negative ads, while they seemingly improved her position somewhat, have driven a lot of people away from her. When you're already tremendously disliked, it's dangerous to go negative: you just feed into the position you've put yourself in.
It's Kerry Healey's own damn fault she's going to lose this race - and lose it big. Yet, she'll do anything - anything - to get at Deval Patrick. Well, she'll do anything except what she should have: staked out issues early on and run an informative, tough campaign. She needed something more substantive than cutting income taxes, which clearly didn't help her. Failing to do that, she turned to Rovian tactics. However, Karl Rove's tricks are anathema to Massachusetts voters. That barrel of tricks just doesn't work here, but she learned that too late to actually do anything about it.
Now, her Rovian tactics are all she has. She can't run a positive campaign at this point because people would know she's full of it; they've seen the venim she spews. You can't pretend to be a kitty when you already unleashed the tiger. It's too late to change tactics, so she has the choice of either giving up or employing a stay-the-course approach. She'll stay the course and try to ratchet it up a notch, but she'll fail. In the meantime, while she tries to fire up the electorate, she's really only be firing up Deval's people-powered army to come and drown out her flames in November.
Finally, I leave you all with an excerpt from Deval's message, emphasis mine:
Update: Before I get any comments that say, "but it was the Herald that printed the story, not Kerry," let's see if she denounces it. Until then, this is all part of the dying right-wing propaganda machine. When you want to smear someone and get away with it, you dial up the Boston Herald.
I got into this race with no illusions. In a world where negative campaigns are commonplace, I expected to have my own accomplishments trivialized, my own judgments questioned, my life choices challenged. I haven’t always liked it, but I knew it was a price I would have to pay to be an agent of change -- not just in our policies, but in our politics.
And I took the time to prepare my family for what I thought would be coming. My sister and her husband went through a difficult time, and through hard work and prayer, they repaired their relationship and their lives. Now they and their children -- who knew nothing of this -- have had their family history laid out on the pages of a newspaper. Why? For no other reason than that they had the bad luck to have a relative who is running for governor. It’s pathetic and it’s wrong. By no rules of common decency should their private struggles become a public issue. But this is the politics of Kerry Healey. It disgusts me. And it must be stopped.
Kerry Healey has never offered a single reason why she should be governor that doesn’t depend on tearing me down. She has no vision, no plan, no positive agenda, and no leadership experience. Her record on jobs and the economy, on health care, on higher education, on crime has been one of shortcuts, gimmicks and failure. And so rather than deal with that, she has done everything she can to change the subject.
2nd Update: The Globe knew about this story since last Friday, yet is trying to cover up that fact (read the comments). So far, the Globe has refused to confirm or deny whether or not Kerry Healey's forces were behind this most recent smear tactic. My guess is Kerry Healey is about as far removed from whoever is peddling this crap as the Bush administration was from the Swift Boaters (which is to say, barely removed at all). Deval Patrick is right: It's time we stop allowing politics to become games of cynicism and start ensuring government becomes a tool for good once again.