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

The debates’ strange end

It should have been in black and white. There should have been cigar smoke wafting through the hall. The candidates should have been waving their arms in the air, drenched in sweat and gesticulating madly.

There was something weirdly anachronistic about tonight’s gubernatorial debate, from the echo chamber of an auditorium to the cheesy podiums to the howling mob.

Lately it’s become fashionable to say that Kerry Healey is better than her campaign. Well, tonight she was as nasty as her campaign, or close to it.

And Grace Ross finally lost it, whining incessantly that Healey and Deval Patrick were refusing to engage her.

Tonight was the last of the 117 televised debates. And yes, it’s time to bring this show to a close.

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  1. Anonymous

    Healey’s balls finally dropped tonight. Irrespective of content — I know, what a great way to look at politics — I would say she was the debate’s winner. Still, I doubt it’s enough to make her the election’s winner.

  2. Dan Kennedy

    I love the debate spin today, which is also in the Herald: Healey finally got mean enough last night. Er, she hadn’t been mean enough?

  3. Anonymous

    wow, who did the herald front page, shelly cohen and tim o’brien from the healey camaign? that hasn’t even a touch of the veneer of political reporting. from the repulsive cutout of john kerry to the nicole kidman lookalike choice of picture of healey, this harkens back to the worst days of rupert murdoch and, what a surprise, ken chandler’s heydays at the top there. it’s ny post come to herald square and no apologies. when will they go to 25 cents?as a lifetime reader and former employee, i am saddened and if the latest circ figures don’t tell purcell this is the wrong direction, then he’s nowhere near the businessman i thought he was.

  4. Ron Newman

    I often see the Herald being sold for 25 cents, and sometimes even given away, at various downtown T stations.

  5. PRrag


  6. bostonph

    The other weird thing is Kerry’s own spin, as noted by Adam:Healey told The Associated Press in an interview on Wednesday that it was the media that played up her opponent’s support for a convicted rapist — and not her campaign’s ads.”The media has spent too much time focusing on this one issue and therefore we as a campaign have ended up spending more time talking about this one issue than about many of the many other substantive issues,” Healey said.It sometimes seems being a Republican means blaming the liberal media for everything, but Kerry is really pushing the envelope.

  7. Anonymous

    Fellow anon: You think publishers really make the connection between content, quality and circulation? Sounds like you’ve been out of the newspaper business too long. At one decent-but-slipping North Shore daily, part of a Deep South-based conglomerate, the editorial page keeps drifting further to the right, while the readership is generally left of center, and many of the moderates are the immigrants too often targeted for scorn by the opinion page. But, back to Healey: Yes, she was mean before, but at least she was less feckless in this last debate. Still looks like a second-place finish for the Belle of Beverly Farms, though.

  8. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 2:31: Nice to hear from a fellow Salem News subscriber!

  9. Anonymous

    gee anon 2:31 p.m., your paper wouldn’t be the Salem News, would it?I can’t believe they endorsed Barton over Tierney today. With the exception of the occassional Alan Lupo column, their editorial page is so out of touch it’s frightening.and P.S., the second place finisher woulf would more properly be referred to as the Belle of Prides Crossing. We have very strict boundaries.

  10. o-fish-l

    The assaults on Healey and the Herald here notwithstanding, Joe Battenfeld and Andy Hiller are among the “right wingers” who declared that Healey won the debate. Dan, what do you consider “mean?” The factual ads on LeGeur or the entirely unproven allegations that Healey’s people leaked the info on Patrick’s rapist brother-in-law failing to comply with Megan’s Law? Forewarning to all future Republican nominees, forget what you heard about politics being a contact sport. Around here it’s “Kumbaya Only.”

  11. Dan Kennedy

    Folks: Notice that Fish has accused me and the rest of us of claiming that “right wingers” declared Healey the winner. He even puts it in quotation marks, as though one of us had actually written it. In fact, you won’t find any evidence of that in this thread.

  12. Anonymous

    In the perfect coda, Channel 5 reports John DePetro has been fired from WRKO for making homophobic comments about Grace Ross.

  13. Anonymous

    True, Grace Ross is a fat lesbian. She also has bad teeth — there I said it. But John DePetro is simply a pig. How WRKO holds an audience with him, Howie Carr and the equally porcine Michael Savage in liberal Massachusetts is beyond me. Can there really be so many people who didn’t have any friends or go to the prom, and now must make the world pay?

  14. o-fish-l

    quotation markn. Either of a pair of punctuation marks used primarily to mark the beginning and end of a passage attributed to another and repeated word for word, but also to indicate meanings or glosses and to indicate the unusual or dubious status of a word.—Dan,As per the tail-end of the above definition, I placed right wingers in quotation marks to indicate the dubious status of the term. In other words Battenfeld and Hiller aren’t right wingers but were still able to see a Healey victory. In no way was I trying to falesly attribute the term as a comment by anyone here. I am sorry that you took it that way. There are more than enough gems here, there is no need to make anything up.

  15. mike_b1

    anon 12:33: one nit to pick.Whether Massachusetts is liberal — and personally, I’ve found Boston proper to much less so than it is perceived; for starters, folks on my quiet block of West Roxbury still use the “N” word — isn’t the point. Any media outlet that takes itself as a serious forum for news and politics should offer a range of views, conservative among them. To me, the issue is that WRKO litters the airwaves with so much redundancy of “thought.”

  16. Anonymous

    Mike B1 — Agreed. Conservative views … absolutely. Though I don’t share many of them (I guess I could be described as a fiscal liberal and a social libertarian), rational conservative thought is absolutely welcome, especially when too much of the left wing (See Air America) simply marches in lockstep and labels as troglodytic anyone who, say, believes in God, favors some limitations to abortion and espouses the need for government restraint in fiscal policy. But there’s a difference in putting forth reasonable conservative/libertarian arguments — a la Gene Burns when he had a local show and, occasionally, Jay Severin — and calling gays “pickle sniffers” and even more hateful and puerile epithets, the way too many Entercom “personalities” do. Gone, I fear, are the days of Wm. F. Buckley and Gore Vidal (though, let’s not forget Buckley’s famous threat to smash Vidal’s face after calling him “a little queer.”) Ugh. As a bit of graffiti in Jim Jarmusch’s masterwork “Stranger Than Paradise” puts it: It’s a sad and beautiful world. And, by the way … what is Howie Carr doing calling anybody fat? He hasn’t exactly been hitting the crunch board lately. (And, truth be told, neither have I.)

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