Monday, May 23, 2005

Reilly On NECN

Tonight, Tom Reilly was interviewed by NECN's Chet Curtis (Media Player). The entire interview is worth watching. Reilly came off pretty well on first view, I thought. Transcribing the interview, however, I realized that Reilly tends to speak in long, run-on sentences. Luckily for him, most people won't be blogging his interviews, so I think he'll be fine.

Here are some of the highlights:

"You're Attorney General for everyone: Republicans, Democrats and Independents. The same goes for governor. You're the governor for an entire state. We saw examples of it last year during the presidential campaign. With all the bashing of Massachusetts that was going on, a governor has to stand up and fight for his state and defend his state. And not a word out of [Romney]. He went along with it and when I saw that happening -- he's given up on this state and he's given up on us. And a governor can't do that. A governor has to lead his state and that's why I'm in this race"
Reilly was also asked why voters should pick a Democrat for governor, given the already heavily Democratic legislature.
I think what they really want is someone independent. That someone's going to look out for their interests and fight for them and realize and understands what their lives are like and how they're struggling. There's tremendous economic uncertainty. So I think what they're really looking for is are you independent? Will you look out for my interests? Will you rise above partisan politics and will you focus on the common good? I've done that throughout my entire career and that's frankly what this state needs now -- someone that can bring people together, get them to focus on the public good, on the public interest. That's how you move forward. Thats how you get things done. Focus on what's for the people of this state and not some ideology or political idea or partisan idea. It's not about being a Republican; it's not about being a Democrat. It's about doing what's best for the people of Massachusetts."
On therapeutic cloning:
I think that research should take place in Massachusetts and I think it's -- the perception of Massachusetts and the people -- if this type of science goes to some other state, then we've lost and we've lost big time. You have to focus on the future of this state, and that's what this election going to be all about.
When Reilly was asked about the plank in the Democratic platform in favor of same-sex marriage, he didn't go so far as to say he didn't support it, but he did repeat his refrain that it was time to move on.
I thought that we missed a wonderful opportunity to talk about issues that are important to everyone in this state. That's jobs, that's the economy, the condition of our health care system, education, housing. We missed that opportunity. No, I don't believe that that platform -- that part of the platform should have been on there because the debate -- it is time to move on in this state and I believe the people of this state have moved on. It's time for the party to move on and focus on those issues that are important to everyone in this state. And if we do that and we show people that we care about the struggles that they're going through every day. You know, people sitting at the kitchen table trying to pay their bills and figure out how you're going to put your kids through college -- people leaving this state. We're losing -- the only state in this nation to lose population, much of it due to the cost of housing, much of it due to higher education, the economic uncertainty. Focus on those issues that effect everyone. Let's move off that issue. I think it was a missed opportunity, I'll put it that way.

Curtis: Do I take your comments to mean that you now favor same sex marriage?

Reilly: Right from the beginning, I have been a long time supporter of civil unions, although I have a traditional view of marriage -- marriage being between a man and a woman. That was the law of this state until last year. When that law changed and the court ruled -- I took an oath in this job and to implement the law, and I respect the law -- there's a lot of people in this state that respect the law. So at that point I moved on. We implemented the law. It's gone perfectly. I don't believe we should go backwards. I think that I have respect for the law. Many people in this state are like me, they respect the law. It's time to move on and I think we're at a point when somebody is legally married in this state and the law has provided for that, I don't see how you take that right away at this point. So, it's time to move on, but it's time for the party to move on.
While I would rather have a candidate who supported the marriage rights plank in the state platform, it's hard for me to disagree with Reilly after seeing the media coverage focus exclusively on the gay marriage plank of the state party platform, to the exclusion of all of the other progressive issues contained therein. I said it before -- if we look like we're the party of gay marriage and nothing else, we will lose. I think it's important to be in favor of equal marriage rights, but I don't think that should be the centerpiece of the gubernatorial campaign. The issues that will resonate with the majority of Massachusetts residents are kitchen table issues -- jobs, pensions and health care.

That said, Reilly clearly wants to run for the center in the general election. If he can also motivate Democrats to come out for him, that could be a winning strategy. As a Democrat, though, he does have to worry about losing his left flank to a Green-Rainbow candidate. Half of the state is unenrolled in either party, but that doesn't mean that they are all in the political center. Personally, I think that it is more important to be seen as independent of the parties than it is to be in the center of them. If Reilly can show that he is not beholden to insider interests on Beacon Hill (whatever that means) I think he has a decent shot of winning -- particularly against such a flawed candidate as Romney. If, however, Romney is able to paint him as a wishy-washy insider as he tries to appeal to people in the middle of every issue, he'll be lucky to do better than Shannon O'Brien.