Monday, February 13, 2012

One more reason to hope Tim Murray is the Democratic Nominee in '14

A small but significant part of me would love to see the Boston Globe's editors wiggle their way out of this editorial to rationalize a Murray endorsement.

That is a genuine back-handed compliment. I am impressed and surprised that the editors saw their way clear to publish such an undiluted, scathing deconstruction of the Murray/McLaughlin/Motorcrash  fiasco (now half way through month four, by the way, making it pretty much a PR consultant's stimulus program all by itself). To excerpt the editorial here, even heavily, would be to cut out some amount of schadenfreude-inducing goodness. You really should click here and read the whole thing.

If you make it through to the penultimate paragraph, you find this:
Tim Murray has shown, through his relationship with McLaughlin, that he lacks the judgment and character to make these decisions. And Patrick, who controls all the levers of the executive branch, still sees fit to keep Murray as his personal liaison to municipal government.
"These decisions" refers broadly to the choice between acceding to the Commonwealth's patronage culture by (at best) turning a blind eye to rampant patronage or (at worst) participating willingly in that culture by actively placing and promoting patronage candidates to government positions for which they are blatantly unqualified - either way in exchange for political support. One need only look at Murray's personal role in the placement of McLaughlin's son ("six speeding tickets and a suspended license for refusing a breathalyzer test") in a $60,000 per year slot at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, adjudicating drunk driving suspensions, to form an opinion as to where on the spectrum between 'at best' and 'at worst' the current LG sits.

And how about the editors' tangential swipe at Governor Patrick? Indirect criticism of the Gov's judgement for sticking by Murray as his story becomes less and less plausible and the depth of his involvement in what might be called "old-style Massachusetts machine politics" more and more apparent is somewhat less recrimination than the Governor deserves. But it is more than we're used to from this particular source.

Next they'll have something less than fawning to say about Elizabeth Warren.

Bad as all of this looks for LG Murray, I am still not at all certain that there may not come a time when the Globe's editors are in fact forced to write their way out of the unfiltered condemnation they published yesterday. Take a look at these poll results from February 2. Despite a full quarter of a year of heavy news coverage of Murray's lack of judgement and character, complete with the public interest-enhancing bonus of a late night crash featuring an obliterated state car and a miraculously unharmed, PJ-clad Lieutenant Governor, fully fifty-six percent of respondents didn't know enough about Murray to form an opinion about him. And only seventeen percent hold an unfavorable opinion of our patronage-hirin', black-ice-slippin'/behind-the-wheel-sleepin'/newspaper-coffee-seekin', phone-tag-playin', story-changin' Lieutenant Governor. Them, as they say, are numbers a well-funded candidate can work with.

If things fall back into place for Murray over the next year or so, look for it in October of '14 on the Globe's editorial page (always assuming, of course, there is still a Globe to have an editorial page). It will begin very much like this:  "We have been critical of Tim Murray in the past. Every election is about a choice, however. And presented with a choice between a candidate who has through bitter experience confronted and overcome his own deficiencies, and an opponent who seeks to turn back the clock on the progress of the past eight years..."

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