Thursday, February 16, 2006

I Have a Lot of Thoughts.

Adam Reilly of Talking Politics has an interesting take on my recent post about Chris Gabrieli. I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on some issues here.

Adam says:

"I'm not sure if Gabrieli is the Democrats' best hope to reclaim the Corner Office. But let's suppose he is. In that case...Who cares how grassroots party activists feel about his prospective candidacy?"

Who cares what the grassroots think? I think every candidate running in every statewide, town or city race better damn well care about what the grassroots think. We make the phone calls, walk the precincts, carry the signs and get out the vote. An organized grassroots campaign is the best hope Democrats have to succeed. Don't take it from me, listen to Mike Dukakis. Not to go all Alex Forrest on the subject, but you just can't ignore us grassroots types now and then expect us to do the work later.

The February 4 caucus is proof positive that Tom Reilly doesn't understand that the grassroots matter, but Deval Patrick does and that's why he ended up with so many delegates.

Adam again:

"The top priority for Massachusetts Democrats should be electing a governor for the first time in two decades, not bolstering the collective self-esteem of the grassroots."

Hold up. First, the self-esteem comment is just silly. The second part is the meaty issue. I think we can all agree that the goal is getting a Democrat elected, but which candidate, and who gets to decide? The voters should, but we all know that stuff goes on behind the scenes. Agreements get made, understandings are reached --but not always honored, right Mister Mayor?

Indulge me a moment. Imagine if the caucus totals were flipped, and Tom Reilly had won the more than 2/3 of the delegates elected that Deval Patrick did. Would we still be having this conversation? I doubt it. Would Chris Gabrieli, even after the botched LG vetting, still be considering a run for Governor? Again, I doubt it. No one would want to be seen as rocking the party establishment boat.

For reasons unknown to me, Reilly's poor showing at the caucus seems to have triggered some sort of Plan B. Apparently to some in the party establishment the idea of someone not connected to the party machine getting the nomination is unsettling, so now we're seeing the recruitment process for a new standard bearer at work here. We're reality based, right? Let's be realistic. Pleasant personalities aside, and bearing in mind that Gabrieli is well thought of by a certain group of democratic activists, would he really make that good of a candidate?

Adam seems to think so:

"But Gabrieli isn't just a legitimate prosepct because he's rich--he's a smart, thoughtful guy who knows his shit and has paid his dues. (Remember 2002?)"

The dues thing means nothing to me and uh, yeah I sure do remember 2002. I don't think Adam is doing Mr. Gabrieli any favors by bringing that failure up. The O'Brien/Gabrieli ticket is the best argument there is against the idea of nominating people based on so-called "electability."

I don't mean to pile on here, but Chris Gabrieli has had two unsuccessful shots at elective office. If he hasn't been able to get elected to anything up to now, what are the real chances of him being successfully elected Governor? From a standing start, I'd say not too good--no matter how much money he throws around.

I agree with Adam on this score: the top priority is to elect a Democratic Governor. But I reject the idea (not Adam's) that since the party's anointed pick got stiffed at the caucuses that there is a need to keep looking for a "more electable" candidate.

We have an electable candidate, and his name is Deval Patrick.

As much as some folks like to talk a good game about party unity, they don't seem to understand that Gabrieli getting into this race would do nothing but cause conflict. We split the democratic vote three ways and we end up with Governor Kerry Healey.