Friday, September 08, 2006

Notes From our Debate Party

First, I want to apologize for the light blogging over the past month or so. This is, of course, the worst time to reduce my posting output if I want to attract readers, but I made a decision. The work I'm doing here in Watertown for Deval Patrick's campaign is more likely to make a difference in the election than anything I write in the blog. I only have so many free hours in the day, and I've been spending them lately trying to help the campaign here in Watertown. Chances are, if you've seen a Deval Patrick sign here in town, I put it there. (As an aside, while Tom Reilly's street is littered with signs for him, the next street over is a haven for Deval signs -- funny how that worked out). Expect light posting until the primary.

Anyway, last night we had a debate watching party here in town, about a mile from Tom Reilly's home. We had a great turnout -- standing room only -- and generated a lot of momentum going into the final week of the campaign. Thanks to everyone who came!

Obviously, everyone in the room was a partisan, so any report of our debate experience will be hopelessly biased. We all thought that Patrick came off the best, of course, though a few came away with a better opinion of Gabrieli than they had previously held (not enough to sway the vote, sorry Chris). The biggest surprise of the night, though, was how nasty Tom Reilly came across. I don't know if Chris Gabrieli's campaign had anything to do with yesterday's story that Reilly knew about Marie St. Fleur's tax problems, but I'm not sure it was such a great idea to attack Gabrieli right out of the gate. First, it was a complete non sequitur to the question he was asked (always a pet peeve of mine) and second, it keeps the St. Fleurasco in the news for another couple of days. If you could pinpoint the moment Tom Reilly's campaign imploded, it was the day he announced Marie St. Fleur as his running mate and I have no idea why Reilly wants people to be reminded of that. Not only that, but Reilly spent half of the debate talking about how private these tax records are, at the same time he's airing an ad talking about how Gabrieli and Patrick should release their tax returns. It seems like he's trying to have it both ways on this.

Other notes: Janet Wu came out guns-ablazin'; we gasped at how good some of her questions were. Gabrieli had the most laugh lines, but Patrick had some good quips in there, too. When Reilly talked about his street in Watertown being just like anyone else's and his neighbors are just like everyone else, we all rolled our eyes; someone remarked, "We're your neighbors" and we're rooting for the other guy. The stem cell business went on way too long, and Gabrieli turned what should have been his strong point into "I love Harvard!" which may not play the same outside 128 as it does at the Kenndedy School. The other thing that bothered me about Gabrieli -- he said that we're not going to fix the health care system in the next few months. That may be technically true, but we are going to have to implement the health care reforms that were voted in this year. There's a lot for the next administration to fill in, and it will all have to be done in a few short months. He might not be able to 'fix' it, but he is going to have to act quickly.