Monday, May 22, 2006

The Lowell Democrats/Blogger Ltd. Governor's Forum...

Boy what a fine old time it was, all Humble Elias missed was the traditional bottle of whiskey in the middle of the table in the blogger bullpen.
Kudos to Lynne Lupien and Susan M. from the Route 495 Blog for their sterling work setting this event up.
The candidates, Deb Goldberg, Sam Kelley, Andrea Silbert and Tim Murray were all in fine form, they are universally a well informed serious bunch of people.
With the except of some hedging about the MCAS and the Cape Wind Farm all and sundry sounded pretty definite about the range of issues under discussion.
Which sort of leads me to my big impression that at this stage in the game very little seems to separate all four candidates ideologically. They are all for free WiFi, better commuter rail links, paid maternity leave etc etc. Some are maybe MORE skeptical of the MCAS' utility some LESS enamored with gay marriage but for the most part there is consensus on the issues and how to address them.
So where the differences and contradictions creep in is largely in the area of electability, political skills, poise and stamina.
It is also interesting to note that other than Worcester Mayor Tim Murray the only other elected official in this race is Deb Goldberg a selectperson from Brookline.
Silbert and Kelley are activists in their statewide electoral debut.
Deb Goldberg is somewhat handicapped by being from Brookline, a city that if the democrats lose in November then that portends national catastrophe. She is though, an immensely well informed candidate and passionate about her issues.
Sam Kelley is a game fellow with a reedy, stuffy tentative voice and a long rapsheet mostly in the field of child psychiatry. He is pro-gay marriage or at least he seemed pro-gay marriage. Humble Elias wouldn't call him passionate on that or any other topic so Kelley will have to settle for earnest. One is intrigued at skill set he'd bring to the executive department.
However is he ready to run statewide in a contentious campaign?
Probably not.
Nonetheless he might make a very interesting and able cabinet officer, he seems to have a strong desire and get in there and start doin' stuff.
Humble Elias wonders though, if he'll get past the 15% mark at next week's convention. If not maybe Tom, Chris or Deval can tuck this post away for future reference when it comes time to start looking for department heads.
Deb Goldberg is a scion of the Stop-n-Shop fortune, she can't make much electoral wampum out of the board of Selectmen in Brookline but lord knows she tries. Deb Goldberg is therfore handicapped by being a greater Bostonian, what new constituency she brings to the table is a question mark. She is though, an immensely well informed candidate and passionate about her issues. Goldberg seemed to be the most critical of the MCAS of the four, but then she hails from a high income community that probably rightly regards the MCAS as a classroom impediment.
I like her sass but can't see her getting over the finish line in the primary.
Andrea Silbert is telegenic, articulate even a teensy but charismatic but she is straight out of non-profitopia a record she lauds at almost every opportunity. Truly if her record is that good why leave the non-profit sector at all? On the other hand, she scored some points on the persistent feminization of poverty a formulation you won't hear too much about locally or nationally this year.
Tim Murray is a bluff hearty avuncular shiny politician from a traditional factory city in the beating heart of New England. He brings self evident electoral strengths and a successful record as mayor to the table. If that is ALL we want then Tim is your guy. I wouldn't say he is the most sophisticated guy in the room but he is no-one's dummy either. Murray seems quite alert to the political possibilities behind Romney-Healey's endless fee increases...That alone is an issue with resonance for the fall campaign.
If I had to call this race right now, I think Kelley might be out of the running by next week with the whole thing devolving into a race between Silbert and Murray by September. I think Goldberg can hang in there, but she has to hope for a tight three way split on a rainy primary day...Those are to say the least long odds.
Silbert, Kelley and Goldberg seem to be thwarted candidates for the state legislature, smart but untested. Only in Blue State Massachusetts could "starting at the bottom" come to mean"taking a flyer in the Lt Governor's Primary".
If all four have a central flaw, it is their earnest and repetitive attempts to weave their personal history into a larger political context for the state.
Even Murray with a long political resume relies too much on this line of reasoning.
We have three activists in this race with short rapsheets, even with the Mayor of Worcester in the fight it makes it hard for these people to mix it up.
And anyway, its the nominee that determines what issues will be brought forward, everyone can debate and talk but everything hinges on the decisions made by the gubernatorial candidate.
But anyway it was a very informative event, Humble Elias thinks we oughta go for the gold and try to get a blgger-centric gubernatorial forum up and running.

No comments :