Thursday, September 07, 2006

Next Massachusetts Governor

I watched the debate last night among the 3 democratic candidates for governor. Chris Gabrielli, Tom Reilly and Deval Patrick squared off, sort of, in a debate to give the voters an idea of who should be the democratic nominee to go up against Kerry Healy, the current lieutenant gvoernor and a staunch republican, for governor.

I hadn't seen the three democratic candidates all together before. I noticed that Chris was the tallest of the three and Deval the shortest. Deval impressed me as being the brightest, although Chris was extremely bright, as well. Reilly impressed me as being the most obnoxious.

I found the debate to be very enlightening. I hadn't known that Deval Patrick, while an attorney in the Clinton administration's civil rights division, led the investigation into the southern black churches that had been torched. It was also intriguing to learn that he was brought in by Coca-Cola and by Ameriquest to straighten out problems and be part of a solution. To hear Tom Reilly attack Deval's work with those two companies made me feel like Reilly was small-minded and vindictive.

I came away from the debate not liking Tom Reilly at all. Currently, Reilly is the attorney-general for Massachusetts. He irritated me about six months or so ago when he allowed the gay marriage legislation to be put back on the ballot. I figured right then that he was in the pocket of the catholic church, his being an Irish Catholic and would, as an elected official, go the way he's told to go. He further got to me when I learned that he interceded on behalf of a family of a friend of his to try to ease the penalty of one of their kids who'd gotten into trouble. He's really taken a lot of heat in the Big Dig issue, given that he was almost forced, it seemed, to go after the contractors. In the debate he came across, not as feisty, but as a little bantam rooster trying to impress the hen house. To me, he came across as someone out of his league who figured if he bullied and blustered, he might get his way.

Chris Gabrielli came across as a nice guy. A bit of a doofus, very cerebral and very wealthy. That he dropped out of medical school to help run the family business, his father was a software developer, was nice but I think he would have been just as rich had he gone on to become a doctor. I think he was/is focused on being very rich.

It impressed me that at the end of the debate the most sustained applause came for Deval Patrick. I think he deserved it.

My summation of the three is that Reilly represents the status quo. Voting for him is voting for the machine. He's a machine politician who would do what he's told to do by Boston's power brokers. I think Mass. big business would very much like to have Reilly in office.

Gabrielli is very bright but I don't think he has the political acumen, the background or the skills to be governor. He would be an excellent cabinet member and would do well for pushing for Mass.'s technology sector.

Deval Patrick represents change. He would come into office not beholden to anyone. He would have a clean slate. He is bright, has demonstrated leadership skills and is willing to listen. He impresses me as someone who has a clear vision but who is grounded in reality.

It will be interesting to see what happens on Sept. 19, when we vote for one of those three.


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