A disadvantage to recording the gubernatorial debates for later listening in the Media Nationmobile is that I still don’t know what happened, except second-hand. Seth Gitell’s take strikes me as characteristically sharp. Check out what he says about Kerry Healey:
My only interpretation of this unprecedented campaign: that is, a candidacy where the candidate never introduces herself, never runs an ad telling the public about her background, gives voters no “story” or “narrative” to latch on about who she is. That is always my first question in writing political profiles. All candidates need to lay this positive foundation so they can weather the difficulties of a political campaign — and give voters a reason to vote for them. Either Healey’s advisers are unaware of this basic fact or something is blocking the Healey campaign — or the candidate herself — from telling this story. I have a couple theories about this. One is that her campaign team has no confidence in any story Healey would tell pro-actively. Another is that Healey has difficulty talking about herself.
OK, that’s more about Healey’s stunningly negative ads than about the debate, but there you go.
What Healey’s doing isn’t working. Adam Reilly was among those who pointed to a new Wall Street Journal poll showing that Deval Patrick’s actually gaining again following a rocky couple of weeks. His lead is now more than 22 points. Another round of attack ads isn’t going to do it for Healey.
Earlier today I was talking with a fellow political junkie. Her take was that Healey should have differentiated herself from Mitt Romney early on — come out foursquare for same-sex marriage and made it clear that she’s a moderate Republican in the Bill Weld mold. That’s who we all suspect she really is. Yet she spends 99 percent of her energy pandering to the tiny number of people who call radio talk shows.
If I’d been advising Healey, I’d have told her that she was probably going to lose, but that she should do everything she could to establish herself as a likable, moderate, competent alternative should Patrick self-destruct. And if he cruised to victory — well, there are worse things than losing.
Like destroying your own reputation, as Healey is doing right now.