Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The last thing I'll write about Tim Cahill

There isn't enough oxygen on the planet to fuel the long, exasperated sigh I wanted to let out when I saw the front page of this morning's Globe.  "AG Seeks Cahill Lottery Records." 
Attorney General Martha Coakley has subpoenaed records from the Lottery Commission and the state treasurer’s office as prosecutors step up the investigation of former treasurer Timothy P. Cahill’s $1.2 million taxpayer-funded state lottery advertising blitz. Documents suggest the advertisements were orchestrated and written by his gubernatorial campaign staff last fall.

Officials with knowledge of the grand jury subpoenas said prosecutors from Coakley’s staff are seeking details on the radio and television ads, including particulars about involvement by campaign advisers in creating scripts and schedules of when ads were to run in the weeks prior to the November election. They specifically asked for written and e-mail communications to and from Cahill about the ad buy, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.

The ads, paid for with public funds, were billed as promoting the lottery. But a Globe review last fall of internal campaign e-mails, court documents, and lottery records suggest that Cahill’s campaign advisers had the ads crafted to boost his image as an effective manager, in an effort to benefit his independent bid for governor. As treasurer, Cahill oversaw the lottery.
Here's what I wrote on October 13, 2010, the day after a bunch of Cahill campaign emails were released to the public:
The press is right now digesting the pile of emails the court ordered released today. I've seen them. They leave no doubt whatsoever that Cahill and his campaign did the deed, and that Cahill has been out on the stump lying about it all week (up to and including at a candidate forum this morning).
A mere six months and 13 days later it seems the AG's office has come to the same conclusion.  Well done!

He just kept digging. [Herald Photo]
While it is true that "a Globe review last fall" also came to that conclusion, the review happened only after the Globe - and many others in the press - spent much of the last 6 weeks of the election cycle propping up the brain dead Cahill campaign, giving front page treatment to his increasingly deranged flailings, credulously reporting  his nonsense about stolen laptops, national conspiracies, collusion between turncoats on his staff and the Baker campaign, etc.  All nonsense.  All flak tossed out into the air to divert attention from the illegal activity going on in Cahill's own campaign, and all eagerly snarfed up and regurgitated by the press - Globe included - until finally the court-ordered document dump in mid-October brought it all to an end, far too late to prevent Cahill's impact on the final election outcome.

Ach, I feel myself being dragged into the Cahill obsession that I thought I'd finally left behind... I should stop before it's too late.

But one last thing.

What really kills me is how completely and utterly predictable the end of the Cahill campaign was from the very beginning of the Cahill campaign.  Despite all of his transparent attempts to redefine himself, the man was what he was: a standard-issue Massachusetts Democratic machine pol who found himself a cozy little fiefdom in the state Treasury where his periodic flirtations with patronage, pay-to-play and other fairly pedestrian visits to the wrong side of the law went largely unnoticed - until he made the mistake of inviting the glaring scrutiny that comes with a gubernatorial campaign. 

Once that scrutiny arrived, the true Cahill was right there, out in the open for all to see.

Back in July 2010 I gave an incomplete run-down of all the various Cahill-related scandals and scandlets that had trickled out in the space of a single year.  Breezing over it again now, I am amazed anew at the notion that anyone in his or her right mind stuck with the guy through Election Day.  And quite a few people did.  I know some of them, and they don't seem dumber than stumps.  So I have to assume they just weren't paying enough attention.

A healthy share of the blame belongs to the press.  Sure, some did their diligence on Cahill and aired his laundry.  But then, almost as if they felt Cahill was owed a balancing of the scales, they continued to treat him like a viable candidate.  They included him in their debates, invited him on their talk shows, provided him space for op-eds, and - worst - they served as delivery devices for his kamikaze carpet bombing of the Baker campaign in the waning days of the cycle.  The benefit afforded the Patrick campaign by Cahill's final, month-long explosion is impossible to quantify - and equally impossible to deny.

And now here we are, half a year later, and it seems a few chickens are finally coming home to roost.  Talk about bitter satisfaction.  Heavy on the bitter.

Okay.  That's the last thing I am going to write about the Cahill campaign.


Pretty good illustration of how I feel right now.


  1. Best blog on the internets.

  2. Mom? Haven't we talked about commenting anonymously?
    Thanks Anonymous.


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