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

Healey’s river of denial

This is pretty incredible. Kerry Healey tells the Salem News that her gubernatorial candidacy sank like a rock because the public was repulsed not by the negative ads with which she assaulted Deval Patrick, but, rather, by negative ads taken out against her.

Here is the top of Ed Mason’s story:

Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey yesterday dismissed recent public opinion polls showing she trails Democrat Deval Patrick by at least 25 points because of the negative tone of her attack ads. Instead, in a meeting here with Salem News editors, she blamed an onslaught of negative ads launched by Patrick and others for her plummet in the polls.

“If you tallied up all the negative ads run against me and the governor since the primary,” Healey said, “I’ve run maybe three negative ads and they’ve run, I don’t know, 20.”

There is so much that I could say, but I’ll leave it at this: Even Scotto gets it. And denial is a river that runs through Prides Crossing.

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  1. Don

    Does it really matter who is elected Governor of Massachusetts? After all, you lived through Dukakis, didn’t you? And you still have the crazy Ks in the Senate.

  2. o-fish-l

    Dan, if “this is incredible” that the anti-Healey ads might be having an effect, then why does camp Deval continue to run all of them, like these four that I just sat through during the local evening TV news? Martha Coakley trashing Healey, a “teacher” asking voters to undo the “devastating Romney-Healey cuts to education,” Deval himself criticizing Romney-Healey and my all time favorite the supposedly needy, elderly woman (who I happen to know is a Democrat activist who lives in a $750,000+ South Shore home near some of the Red Sox) who is “devastated” that Healey said some elderly living alone might want to downsize.I guess if Deval and Co.’s ads are unnecesaary and are having no significant impact we can soon expect a critqiue from you on the ineffectiveness of Deval’s ads and his penchant for needless campaign spending.I look forward to it.

  3. Dan Kennedy

    Fish — Healey is ignoring poll results showing that the public is repulsed by her ads. Tell us why those results are wrong — or admit that Healey is deluding herself. Those are your only two choices.I never said Patrick’s negative ads were ineffective. The point is that her negative ads are ineffective, because they’re rebounding against her.

  4. mike_b1

    Like we’re supposed to take the word of the Herald and some guy named “Scotto” that Kerry Healey is a better choice? Hmmm…something about “consider the source” comes to mind.

  5. Stella

    Once again, Prides goeth before the fall…

  6. Citizen Charles Foster Kane

    Dan:You can lead a fish to water but you can’t make him think.

  7. Anonymous

    Dan,did I miss your outrage over the SEIU “Locust Valley Lockjaw” campaign of the spring and summer? 2 months of unanswered negative radio ads? So it’s all about what is “effective”? The end justifies the means? I’m not sensing a lot of difference between the parties here. Grace Ross looks better by the day.

  8. Anonymous

    Can we at least clarify something that is lost in the shuffle?What qualifies for a negative ad?To me, a negative ad is where one candidate LIES about something that is utterly not true or completely taken out of context and distrorted and if explained correctly, it would be harmless.Swift ads are example of a big fat lie. Another more recent is where one candidate was saying his opponent ‘enjoyed’ phone sex from his hotel room, on the taxpayer dollar no less. In fact, the guy had merely misdialed a number, wanting to call a prosecutor’s office and a digit later, he is talking to a sex line. He was charged a dollar or somehting. That is the definition of crass.Pointing out something in your opponent’s record that is perceived as bad policy or a mistake is NOT negative advertising. It is the truth that hurts.Ads that talk about an opponents character are usually hypocritical and hyped with fear and misleading poppycock, ARE negative ads: leave character issues to the public to judge, point to facts and shut up. No playing God in ads, please.Talking about anything public in the opponent’s public/business life is fine but not personal life: Revealing that he had a mistress IS a negative ad. Revealing relatives’ misteps or run in with the Law IS a negative ad. It is irrelevant to the public. Family bonds are hard to explain in public non-emotional terms. A lot of decent people still stand by their felon relative. That is what family is about, NOT running around and shouting family embrassing aspects to the world. Family, by definition is a bonded shelter and intruding on that is the height of negativity.Put another way, this example is completely hypothetical and not based on ANYTHING real anywhere: But suppose Kerry was aware of a minor SEC infraction by her husband, like he traded on something he had previleged info on or something, do you think she would have run out and alerted the SEC?Any Republican who says so, please come forward….and be called “full of #@$*”I would totally understand that she’d want to shelter her husband from harm and give him the benefit of the doubt more than anyone else.And say it came out in public, would then she be censored or recalled because she knew but didn’t make it public? No. Why should she be accountable for anther person’s sin if she wasn’t involved directly, didn’t profit directly and didn’t help the transaction. It would be unfair to blame her and go after her.If you again disagree to justify your side of the argument today for convenience, then I have one name for you: Jeannine Pirro.Finally, the other popular and crass negative ad is distorting the voting record and not accounting for deals between parties, special circumstances and not pointing out for example that something nefarious was introduced (quietly) as part of the bill and it was a take all-leave all situation.And one last point about Kerry that is never mentioned: If Kerry is elected, she would leave BEFORE Romney did. She would be a very pouplar rising star in her party and would be slotted to take on soemthing bigger, more nationally visible: the first woman to be elected conservative in the bluest of the blues. Remember all those portaits and national media attention Jane Swift was getting BEFORE winning at the poll? The first sitting (acting) governor to give birth…etcShe would be long gone. Has she ever pledged to not run for or accept any other post for the next four years? Even entertaining a position or campaigning on behalf of your party nationally can take you away from the state for long periods. Maybe she has pledged and I am not aware of it, but then again, why should anyone believe that? We heard that one before.N.

  9. Dan Kennedy

    N.: You can’t say that an ad attacking another candidate isn’t negative. I’d say the difference is between fair negative ads and unfair negative ads.

  10. Anonymous

    N,don’t lose any sleep over Healey leaving the Governor’s office early to take a post in Washington. The majority party has guaranteed that point to be moot. The fact that unlike Swift, Amorello, Bulger, et al, she never spent time in the State Senate was a GOOD thing, IMHO. Do you also worry about the tax consequences of winning Megabucks? (Odds are similar.)

  11. Anonymous

    anon12:12 Give it a rest. The SIEU adds were 1) well over 6 months ago 2) on AM radio and 3) sponsered by a third party. They did mock Ms. Healey’s record and personal stiffness, but they were entirely factual and, frankly, a lot nicer than what Howie Carr was writing about “Muffy” at the time. To compare it to the recent bombardment of racist crap sponsered by KERRY HEALEY is delusional.From your writing style, I’m guessing you’re a sock puppet for o-fish-l. Please tell Mr. O’Brien that his strategy of having people post Healey talking points on every blog they can reach isn’t working. Even the most casual blog reader is capable of recognizing Republican boiler plate when they see it. Someday I’d love to meet the idiot who came up with “as a lesbian I oppose gay marriage”

  12. amusedbutinformedobserver

    Speaking of Healey, what was Dr. Healey’s doctoral dissertation title? Nobody in the campaign seems to know, but her foreign doctorate seems to be taken as fact. Has anyone double-checked the resume?

  13. neil

    I’m with N about negative ads. If any ad that takes issue with an opponent’s public record is considered negative, then the term “negative ad” is a tautology thus pointless. Pointing out policy disagreement is not negative, in a meaningful sense of the word.Misrepresenting an opponent’s position on the other hand, is negative. For example in the Sunday Globe’s Ideas section, Michael Dukakis calls Healey’s position on immigration “offensive” and “shameful” and backs this up by describing how his father came to this country penniless, etc. As if that had anything do to with the issue at hand. Speaking of tautologies, Dukakis only mentions “foreign” immigrants. As opposed to…? He ignores the distinction that matters, which is not between foreign and (?) immigrants, but between legal and illegal immigrants, for the sake of taking a cheap shot. That’s “negative”.

  14. Anonymous

    11:05,You’re pretty cute.1. constitutes a head start to a campaign that is still under way2. AM radio has no audience? Would WCRB be more appropriate?3.Yes, a “527” is a third party “sponser (sic)”. Like the Patriot Majority isn’t? If you had any clue, you would know the ads spoke about Dow Jones COMPANY, a disinterested 3rd party that was dragged into the discussion. Get your facts straight.I have no idea who o-fish-i is and could care less. I am a lifelong unenrolled voter who knows racism when he sees it. 3 viewings of the Healey garage ad and I haven’t seen any African American people yet. To me, THAT accusation is the boilerplate.

  15. Anonymous

    12:12,1. I can think of several reasons a union might have issues with Kerry Healey outside the campaign. In fact, the ads list some of them. Shocking. I also remember that the union was trying to drum up support for a unionization push at the hospitals. Yet you keep trying to tie the ads to Deval. Compared to prime time television? No, it doesn’t.3. You mean the “what’s bad for Mr. and Mrs. Jones is good for the Dow Jones” tag line? I’m sure the Dow Jones employees were cut to the quick. And so what? So racism is like obscenity – subject to your own personal interpretation? I’ll say it again. I’ve seen (or heard) both sets of ads. The SEIU ads aren’t anywhere near as offensive. The Thurston Howell III voice is even kinda funny.p.s. Thanks for reminding me of another favorite sock puppet tag line: “I am a lifelong unenrolled voter.”

  16. Anonymous

    To Anon 5:06 PM,Far from it, I am not losing sleep AT ALL over a potential departure. All the power/good luck to her. My point is simply to wonder out loud why was such a pledge a big deal last year and not at all on the radar about her this time around.The Cellucci departure was fresher in our minds then, granted, but the same pointers are still there, ie “another Mass. conservative who reached an impass with an ‘uncooperative belligerent’ Democrat-dominated legistlation, gives up and leaves to fight national fights to make people aware of ……”Another mistake I think that will be revisited in the soul-searching to come, is the fact that Gov Romney and Mass GOP’s handpicked Lt Gov candidate turned out to be a lightweight. Maybe they should have allowed the person with most votes to win the nomination. Wasn’t it Rappaport who was favored to win if they hadn’t taken him out so publicly? Would he have been a stronger understudy? Or was it that the Gov was afraid that another wealthy successful white male would share the stage with him too much and overshadow his credits for a national campaign?Who knows? We’ll never know…Oh well…..One last thing: I called up some Globe articles from the Summer looking for the quotes from Healey TV ads describing her Education plan as “boldest”If you read the article, it isn’t really a ringing endorsement, a passing one at best in this Globe editorial ‘Catching dropouts’ from July 12th:'s interesting to note, is that a month later, The Globe says this in ‘Higher learning’s reach’ on August 24th, another editorial:”The candidate with the boldest proposal is Democrat Tom Reilly…” also contains this jab at all:”If lip service were dollars, public colleges and universities would be rich. All the gubernatorial candidates say they want the campuses to thrive. Repeated themes include the power of education and the importance of making college accessible and affordable.”So who is overreaching here? Is Healey looking for the sunniest spec or is the Globe not sure what they want or like?I think the answer lies in the fact that there is no candidate with ALL the answers and ONLY the right answers. All have good ideas and good intentions, some with experience doing it like Gabrielli.So reading the articles, there is no plan that emerges as THE BEST above all else, but rather the Globe tips its cap to..ehh ALL, in turn.Maybe if the Globe put its foot down more often and was clear on what it wants, it wouldn’t be found needing a Welch rescue or any other kind.N.

  17. Anonymous

    C’mon. They spent six figures because they thought a weak Lt. Gov. would somehow get them a contract? You may be going a bit overboard on this “Supervillain Muffy” thing. Was she hiding on a grassy knoll?If you can find me a recording of that ad with the words “THE Dow Jones”, I’ll kiss your sock puppet. I’m in a position to know. Kinda the point. One expression is an economic indicator, the other, an uninvolved corporation trying to coexist with the sainted Globe. Ask DK what a little preposition can do to meaning. (Not unlike the use of spell-check). Funny how the same person who hears a preposition that wasn’t there sees a non-existent black man in an ad. On second thought, forget about the sock puppet offer. Considering how often you bring it up, I think you may be spending too much time handling yours.12:12

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