By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

It’s almost unanimous

The local commentariat on Tom Reilly’s performance in last night’s debate. First, the Globe:

  • Jeff Jacoby: “Reilly came across as the colorless party hack from central casting. Tired, uninspired, quick to prattle about ‘leadership’ but unable to demonstrate any — if ever a politician embodied the Peter Principle, dwindling in stature as he rises to his level of incompetence, Reilly is that politician.”
  • Scot Lehigh: “Grim and angry, Reilly was in full prosecutorial mode from moment one … This went well beyond scrappy and into off-putting. Reilly looked desperate.”
  • Joan Vennochi: “Reilly … wasted much too time on attacks …”
  • Derrick Jackson: “Reilly will undoubtedly physically stay in the race until it is over. But his only value at this point is whether he takes more votes from Patrick or Gabrieli.”
  • Brian McGrory: “Reilly … [was] loaded for bear. Whether he hit anything remains to be seen, but the early impressions are that the puddles of blood on the floor might well be his own.”

Next, the bloggers:

  • Adam Reilly: “Tom Reilly is f’ing up, big time…. Last night on NECN, I predicted that Reilly would eke out a win in the Democratic primary. I hereby change my mind.”
  • Jon Keller:Memo to the Reilly campaign: Patrick’s corporate entanglements? Fair game. Gabrieli’s business background and wealth? If it was OK to rake Romney on those subjects, it’s OK to toss a few elbows at Gabrieli. But I really don’t think too many voters care about a tax lien Patrick once had to deal with, or who leaked the report on Marie St. Fleur. Why would you want to ever bring up the St. Fleur episode at all?”
  • Charley on the MTA: “Last night, Tom Reilly did everything but sling his own feces at Deval Patrick and Chris Gabrieli, and succeeded mostly in getting it all over himself.”
  • John Daley: “Tom Reilly came out swinging, accusing Gabrieli of leaking a report to The Globe. Bad idea. The fact that Reilly and his staff really goofed in not reading the St. Fleur report was a one day story until he brought it up again last night. And it’s about basic competence, or the lack thereof.”
  • Andy at Mass Revolution Now! “I thought that Reilly’s debate prep was most likely done in a locker room just before the debate where he put on a helmet and had his campaign staff slap him on the head while shouting things like ‘who’s got a big house in Milton while you are still renting in Watertown!’ ‘Who took advantage of you dropping the ball on your LG pick so that it came back to haunt you!?’ He was WAY too aggressive.”
  • Mass Marrier: “Tom was somewhere between Perry Mason and Vlad the Impaler. His out-of-his-back-pocket insults and accusations were apparently intended as some melodramatic breakthrough to prove something to someone. Instead, his ‘So there!’ became ‘So what?'”
  • Aaron Margolis: “Rumor has it that when it came to Final Jeopardy, it was not the snoozefest many expected it to be, mostly at the hands of an eccentric Tom Reilly. There may not have been a clear winner, but we know who’s not coming back for the next episode.” (Aaron didn’t actually watch, but that’s OK.)

Finally, the Herald, where people see things differently:

  • Howie Carr: “For Tom Reilly, freedom is apparently just another word for nothing left to lose. Where has this guy been all year? By 7:03 last night, he’d ripped Chris Gabrieli’s throat out. He was standing in the middle, between Gabrieli and Deval Patrick, and by 7:10, both of them had broken out in flop sweat. They were worried he was coming after them next … and he was.”
  • Virginia Buckingham: “Sure, Reilly was way too hot for TV. And the ‘I was the only one’ refrain was grating rather than inspiring. But he sent a message that he’s not going down without a fight. And despite Gabrieli’s height advantage, I wouldn’t bet on the winner between those two in an alley.”

Reilly’s best hope today is that the Democratic primary is dominated by Herald readers.

Did I miss anyone? If so, please add links to the comments section.

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No sweat


The only candidate


  1. Anonymous

    MassNews took time off from writing mash letters to Brit Hume to write yet another column praising Mr. Riley. Mr. Pawlick genuinely seems to like him as a candidate. Too bad for Tom. Takes the Offensive; Rattles Opponents in Televised Debate Tom Reilly, considered the underdog by the Boston Globe, caught opponents Deval Patrick and Chris Gabrieli off guard last night at a televised debate with an onslaught of ethics issues ranging from leaks of personal information to failure to pay federal income taxes. In the first moments Reilly turned on Gabrieli, accusing his campaign of leaking to the press a confidential report about the troubled finances of Reilly’s failed selection of a running mate. “The only person that had access to that report and a reason to give it to The Boston Globe was your campaign chair, the campaign chair of your campaign right now,” Reilly said, referring to Cheryl Cronin, a high-powered Boston attorney. Gabrieli sheepishly denied that Cronin, nor anyone from his campaign leaked to the Boston Globe a confidential report detailing St. Fleur’s problems. The Globe has frequently used the financial problems of Marie St. Fleur as a cudgel to take hits at Reilly, even though she was only Reilly’s running mate for a day. Reilly, who once considered Gabrieli a potential running mate, scoldingly said to Gabrieli “I’m very disappointed in you.” Reilly also went after front runner Deval Patrick. Since Marie St. Fleur was considered a political liability because of her unpaid tax debt, he asked Patrick about whether federal tax liens placed on Patrick’s house, since paid off, disqualified him from the governorship. Reilly also asked Patrick about his service on the board of Ameriquest, a predatory lender who recently settled a mult-million dollar lawsuit with Massachusetts and other states for defrauding borrowers. Asked after the debate about Reilly’s aggressive approach, Reilly campaign communications director, David Guarino told the State House News Service: “He showed people he’s fighting for this race.”Reilly Came Alive in Final 15 minutes Reilly was subdued and quiet at the beginning of the debate, but he became alive and aggressive for the final 15 minutes. He turned to Gabrieli and said: “What really matters is whose side have you been on? I’ve been on the side of the people of Massachusetts for 16- straight years, fighting for safer streets and neighborhoods, protecting the children, taking on the big corporations that you (Gabrieli) as well as Deval, were making millions of dollars on. The people will be voting on this- who’s going to be on their side? Who’s going to fight for them each and every day? I’m the only one at this podium that’s done it over the last decade.” There was no possible come back for Patrick or Gabrieli on Reilly’s point. Both businessmen have for over a decade been profiteering on dubious stock deals with companies that have had to answer to the Federal Trade Commission. Reilly, on the other hand (who perhaps coincidentally, was the only one wearing an American flag on his person) has been prosecuting their type on behalf of the Commonwealth.

  2. The Chief

    Yada yada yada…and then I woke up and Patrick was governor.

  3. Harris

    Paul McMorrow from the Dig catches Reilly resurrecting a ghost from the busing wars:”Either Tom Reilly has decided to play the closet-quasi-racist card, or he’s totally forgotten everything he ever knew about Massachusetts’s political history.”

  4. Anonymous

    …and Aaron Margolis once again reviewed the debates without having seen them. What’s the point?

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