Coakley v. Baker Preview

September 10, 2014 | Comments Off

We held forth on yesterday’s MA primary. We clawed a bit at the top contenders and previewed the November 4th campaign. Listen in below as we highlight and smudge the key players.

First note that in both GOP and Dem primaries, the divisive and distinguishing players did not prevail. The implication was that voters were low-information or that the had no belly for the big visions and distinctions offered by the likes of Tea Party Republican Mark Fisher or true progressive Dem Don Berwick. People who did not or would not vote for them should stifle themselves in political complaints.

We speculated about Dem winner Martha Coakley’s ability to unite Dems and attract the unenrolled (53% of MA voters) and Charlie Baker’s chances of turning his Christmas tree résumé so only the good side shows. Ryan contends that if he wants to claim the good parts of his Gov. Bill Weld/Big Dig experience, he’ll have to own the terrible outcomes too. Likewise, he was the architect of the Harvard Pilgrim turnaround with job slashes and rate hikes.

Both major candidates claim the other has no vision and neither puts anything out to be criticized. Mike holds that they have a short time to give the voters some faith in what their administration would do and how.

We figure that Dem shortfalls Steve Grossman and Berwick won’t drive voters to Baker. Likewise neither LG candidate is likely to make much difference in the outcome.

Listen in and hold us accountable.

icon for podpress  MA Primary Recap: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Bumped a day — to have something to talk about — this week’s show will be on Wednesday. We’ll cover the complex MA primary. If you can join us live, click here Wednesday, Sept. 10th at 2:30PM Eastern.

As always, the show will be demand later at that URL, back here at Left Ahead or on our iTunes channel.

If you keep scorecards, you can compare Mike’s previews from last week, here.

Republican’s have a crayon-worthy ballot, with really only the choice between two gubernatorial candidates. They didn’t begin to contest most races, ceding them to Dems. On the donkey side, six statewide slots have three or at least two in the primary.

We’ll get to draw sweeping, maybe reasonable conclusions from the specific winners Tuesday.

First a plug from Mike, poll worker: The Dem ballot is complex, with three candidates for many positions. Do yourself, other voters and the poll worker a favor. Come prepared with your picks.

No Ryan, so just Mike chatting up the primary candidates. I ran down the Dem and GOP ballots, highlighting differences. I also pointed to the Left Ahead archives. The Dems appear there, as does Republican gubernatorial contender Mark Fisher. If you are unfamiliar or unsure, listen to them in their own words.

I confessed that in a very unusual move for me, I endorsed in one primary race — Deb Goldberg for Treasurer.

We’ll do the follow-up on the primary the next day, Wednesday, September 10th at 2:30 PM Eastern here. For the others, you can check me on my calls. I don’t think the only contested GOP slot, Governor, will be a contest; Charlie Baker wins easily.

On the Dem side, the candidate with the best platform, Dr. Don Berwick should be a weak third, with Martha Coakley edging Steve Grossman by maybe 10%. I picked Steve Kerrigan for Lieutenant Governor and Maura Healey for Attorney General (tight race though).

As Ryan didn’t show, I have no one to share the blame.

icon for podpress  MA primaries 2014: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Both of your usual suspects hosts, reunited for a what-happens-now segment on the post-Ferguson picture. We figure a few major changes will happen and the serious stuff will take much longer.

The easy-to-reach prize is removing military armaments, vehicles and weaponry from local police. Even many GOP members of Congress are in a WTF? mindset here. We also spoke of the harder, deeper solutions, such as:

  • Charging bad-actor cops who kill or maim without justification
  • A nationwide database of people killed by police
  • Having universal per-municipality civilian-review boards
  • Mandatory body-cams on cops

Many of the big fixes will take longer and may require pressure from the POTUS down to local police chiefs…a decade or more in he making. Our hope here is that the spotlight on Ferguson will catalyze those essential changes.

Listen in as we kick around issues of police accountability, the duty for public safety and restoring a public level of trust in law enforcement.

icon for podpress  Post-Ferguson: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

The third and final in our series of MA Treasurer/Receiver General candidate, Deb Goldberg, joined us today for a straight-ahead performance. Two telling comments came near the end. One is that she has a serious agenda, which she would like to have 4 or 8 or 12 years to bring to fruition. The other is that she defines herself as an unabashed, lifelong progressive Democrat who does not see any conflict or distinction among the professional, personal and political. Click below to listen in.

Note: Goldberg connect about 7:28 into the program. She was given a wrong number, but figured it out.

Note Two: We made multiple attempts to have GOP candidate Mike Heffernan on the show. He did not return the numerous calls, his website’s email system is broken, he does provide a regular email and does not respond to FB messages. I chalk it up to typical MA GOP avoidance.

Amusing (at least to me) aside: Deb was smart enough to solve a staff-created problem that might have prevented her show. Despite repeated emails, as recently as yesterday, specifying the call-in number and that while I am in Boston, the show servers are in NYC, she was given the wrong number by a staffer. Ours starts with an NYC 718 and not the Worcester area 781. She laughed and said that her resourcefulness in finding the right number of Left Ahead showed what kind of Treasurer she’d be.

Goldberg said a high priority would be ensuring the stability and growth of the 60B public-employee pension fund. She said current Treasurer Steve Grossman has set a high standard in returns. She would want to match or better that. She’d speak with each fund manager to make sure they balanced safety and growth goals.

She sees huge challenges in the school building authority. As with much MA infrastructure, we have deferred maintenance and face large expenditures to give kids safe places to learn.

As with the other two Dem candidates, she sees a big need for financial literacy. She praised Grossman’ pilot effort here for all ages and genders as well as immigrants. In fact, repeatedly throughout the show, she returned to the currently disadvantaged that she saw the commonwealth and the Treasurer’s office in particular could help. Listen in as she describes how the office might improve the lives of women, minorities and immigrants.

While she praised Grossman’s efforts in many ways, she has additional programs in mind. One of the more striking is a state public bank. The model she referenced is in North Dakota. She spoke highly of it aiding in state development as well as weathering the big recession best in the nation. She wants us to join states like Illinois in considering it.

She has definite plans on how to use the office to promote MA businesses, from lending to procurement.

You can get more detail on her and her platform at her campaign site here.


icon for podpress  Deb Goldberg [35:10m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Tom Conroy offered clear but not radical visions of the MA Treasurer/Receiver General when he joined us today. He identifies as a team player (marvelous tale of being a middle child who learned to be persuasive to get his share of his mom’s pies), who would work with the governor and legislators to enact his agenda.

His bio shows school smarts, as well as financial professional experience and seven years as a state rep. He’s proud of his work on driving the minimum-wage hike and other key financial issues. He says not only is he the single candidate with the expertise and experience but that he can implement as Treasurer. Listen in as he describes his goals and methods.

He would continue current Treasurer Steve Grossman’s programs such as using state funds to foster small-business growth and pressuring banks to do the same. On the other hand, he did return to the team-player mode. He said he’d convene a taskforce on the commonwealth’s economy immediately after he 1) won the primary and 2) the general, in November to fix his direction.

Click below to hear his vision of his goals and methods.

The GOP candidate for Treasurer, Mike Heffernan, won’t respond to us. Last week’s show was with Dem Barry Finegold, and next week’s will be with Deb Goldberg.

icon for podpress  Tom Conroy [30:03m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

MA Sen. Barry Finegold would be the next Treasurer/Receiver General. I didn’t ask him if he was really prepping to run for Governor; the only likely response seems to be, “I just want to do the best job as (this position).”

He does talk about his goals if he wins the primary then the general. Some are relative easy sells on the campaign trail — use pension funds to create more MA jobs, improve education, return more to municipalities, and promote financial literacy. Those are much in the line of the current Treasurer Steve Grossman. Click below to hear Finegold touch on less pow! duties of the office — fully funding the pension liability and improving bonding capacity. He sketches is plan to fund pensions by 2036, starting with putting 10% more in annually for awhile.

He’s candid about his personal feelings, integrity, background and votes in the MA House and Senate. In fact, you can pick up hints of Elizabeth Warren’s personal style. For example, he likes saying that no one every gave him anything, he started in a Hyde Park Housing project and earned everything he’s gotten.So far, voters have appreciated his stances. Even when his districts disagreed with his votes against the death penalty and for same-sex marriage, they reelected him regardless.

Listen in to hear him tell his story and what he’d do as treasurer. His campaign site is here.


icon for podpress  Barry Finegold [22:36m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Praise to the campaign crews of the MA candidates for Treasurer/Receiver-General for their quick response. The three Dems will join us the next three Tuesdays. We did contact unopposed GOP primary candidate Michael Heffernan, but so far he has not returned the calls.

All three shows will able available on demand after showtime at the show URL, back here at Left Ahead, and on Left Ahead’s iTunes channel.

The MA Gov., Deval Patrick, Haas been the first to step up for the refugee kids from Central and South America lumped at our southern borders. He volunteered to find space for 1000 in two military bases here for one to four months until they can be processed. U.S. law (proposed by and passed under Pres. G.W. Bush) requires that we determine whether these children are refugees.

Meanwhile protests in several states, including MA, and from numerous governors are all NIMBY, xenophobic and isolationist. I read off a Washington Post piece citing governors who are wishy-washy (Dems) and hateful (GOP). Some of the latter want simply to blame President Obama or say it’s a federal problem, don’t bother them. Others echo the protesters in saying don’t dare waste state funds. By the bye, the feds are responsible for care and feeding of the kids awaiting processing.

If you are a regular listener, my attitude is no surprise. We have laws of due process to obey. We also have hundreds of years of morality, whether based on religion or not, and a similar history of democracy to uphold.


icon for podpress  Refuge Children [25:41m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Another lieutenant governor candidate, another expand-the-role advocate, what’s new? A lot, it turns out. Steve Kerrigan was the third of the three Dems who’ll be in the Sept. 9th primary. He more than held his own.

Each of the three (including Leland Cheung and Mike Lake) see the role of LG as crucial today and beyond. Each has a different slant on what the office should entail.

Kerrigan has the wow! résumé, working for or with Barack Obama, Tom Menino, Ted Kennedy, Tom Reilly and on and on. He then pitches himself as ready to accomplish big deeds with whoever gets the Dem Gov. nomination and presumably wins the office. As he put it, “There’s no room for on the job training for lieutenant governor.”

We covered a lot of topics and possibilities. Click below to hear what he would do in working with municipalities, transportation, infrastructure, education and even college affordability. You can see his platform here.

He was confident that he was the one of the trio with the experience and contacts from local through commonwealth and federal levels. He’s even sure he could develop the necessary relationships with our legislators.

A key aspect to his vision is turning the LG into a super-ombudsman. He says he’d be the key contact for municipalities, businesses and others. He’d aim to help them surmount obstacles, such as arcane regulations or funding problems. Click below to hear his stream of ideas.

icon for podpress  Steve Kerrigan [30:30m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download