Celebrating Those Who Blog the Vote

This afternoon, we’re welcoming all those who are covering the 2006 Massachusetts campaign cycle to a reception in your honor at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. The reception, totally informal, will run from probably 5 – 6:30 p.m. or so at 23 Everett Street, Cambridge, MA. No matter if you’re for Healey/Hillman or Patrick/Murray, or if you want yes or no on 1, 2, or 3, of if you’re still undecided, please join us!   To contact the Berkman Center, click here.

Negative campaigning, one step (way) too far

Deval Patrick, the front-running candidate for governor of Massachusetts (and my preferred candidate), sent out a blast e-mail just now that detailed a nightmare that his sister went through with her husband. Mr. Patrick argues that his opponent, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, has made this issue a public one in the context of the gubernatorial campaign.

“My sister and her husband went through a difficult time, and through hard work and prayer, they repaired their relationship and their lives. Now they and their children — who knew nothing of this — have had their family history laid out on the pages of a newspaper. Why? For no other reason than that they had the bad luck to have a relative who is running for governor. It’s pathetic and it’s wrong. By no rules of common decency should their private struggles become a public issue.”

If true, I couldn’t agree more.  (Healey says it’s not true.)  Somebody, no doubt antagonistic to Mr. Patrick, leaked this story.  The general point still stands: there are already too many disincentives to entering public life in America, particularly through the electoral process.

As a related matter, the Lieutenant Governor has made an issue of the fact that Mr. Patrick’s running mate, Worcester Mayor Tim Murray, defended acccused sex offenders as a defense attorney. As the AP reported, “On Friday, Healey opened a fresh line of attack, criticizing Worcester Mayor Tim Murray, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor and Patrick’s running mate, for handling appeals of people challenging their classification by the Sex Offender Registry Board. Murray is a defense attorney, but he said he took some of the cases at the request of the court. ‘I know that the court needs people to take these cases, and that it’s part of our adversarial system,’ Healey said. ‘The question is, simply, ‘Is that the priority that you want to have your next governor and lieutenant governor to have?'”

The Lieutenant Governor’s posture on this issue is almost as maddening as the possible leak of a Patrick family matter. Should helping people defend their Consitutional rights, whether or not they are guilty, disqualify someone from holding state office? Again, what an irresponsible assault on what it means to be a public servant.

Totally brazen typosquatting in Mass Governor's Race

The Independent candidate for governor of Massachusetts, Christy Mihos, is typosquatting at http://www.kerryhealy.com. His Republican opponent, Kerry Healey (note the extra “e”), must not be too amused. The people of Massachusetts aren’t in too much danger of actually electing Mr. Mihos in November — the race is plainly between Healey and the Democratic nominee, Deval Patrick (I support Mr. Patrick) — but his typosquatting antics certainly don’t help the case for his candidacy. Who wants a governor who cheats — or whose staff cheats — in such an obvious, silly way?

Happy Election Day

… to everyone in Massachusetts. What a terrific day it is to have a primary with several contested races: governor, lieutenant governor, and secretary of state at a minimum, plus some interesting down-ballot races (not for me). It’s a bit cloudy and cool today, but no rain yet. I voted at the Dilboy VFW post in Davis Square, Somerville, for the last time. Just before 9:00 a.m., they’d seen 168 votes, which, as one tiny data point, is apparently great for a primary in that precinct. The races for the nominee for governor and lieutenant governor on the Democratic side are close enough that turnout will decide the winners. Any of the 3 (Gabrieli, Patrick, Reilly) + 3 (Goldberg, Murray, Silbert) could be the nominee by nightfall.

Why I'm voting for Chris Gabrieli today for Governor

The great news for Democrats in Massachusetts, and Independents too for that matter, is that there are three different, strong choices for a nominee for governor in this year’s race. Despite the strength of the Democratic field, the choice, to me, is not hard. I consider it my great good fortune to have gotten to know Chris Gabrieli. I think he’d make an amazing governor. I’m voting for him later today when the polls open.

A few specific reasons:

– I think Chris is right on many of the key issues. His position on the state income tax strikes me as right on: we should roll it back ONLY if there’s a surplus, meaning that local aid is not eviscerated in the process. His Cape Wind stance is right on both process and substance. His views on energy policy are by far the most detailed and persuasive of any candidate. He’s on the right side of the gay marriage debate (and the right side of history). His stem-cell proposal makes sense. In addition to being right on the merits, I think he’s well-positioned to beat Kerry Healey and Christy Mihos in November.

– Chris will attract people into state government who would not have entered public service otherwise. He’s the kind of person who can talk people into joining a team and pulling hard to achieve results. He takes an interest in people and has a talent for putting together the right team for a job. The state would an influx of talent in a Gabrieli administration.

– Chris has devoted himself to improving education in our state. Since he retired from venture capital, he has poured himself (along with Jennifer Davis and other great people) into creating Mass2020, a truly extraordinary foundation in Massachusetts that supports the expansion of educational and economic opportunities for kids in this state. He’s personally invested millions in after-school-related work and leveraged tens of millions more. it’s through his work that cities and towns in Massachusetts are now experimenting with longer school days to keep kids engaged and out of trouble. (I am proud to serve on the board of Mass2020.)

Chris Gabrieli is a fine man. He’s a leader, a visionary, and a committed public servant. Despite his extraordinary success in many facets of life, he’s a genuine, decent, loyal, humble person. He can also be a totally geeky policy wonk, which I think is a great trait in a governor. For the first time in more than a decade, we’d have a full-time, dedicated governor, without designs on some other job. Chris Gabrieli will get the job done well.

Deval Patrick is pretty extraordinary, too. He’s run a very positive campaign, brought a lot of people into the political process, and run a campaign on the idea of Hope. His DevalPatrick.tv channel was a terrific idea, among other intriguing uses of the Internet (and he no doubt picked up support via the highly readable, active blogging of Blue Mass Group). While Chris Gabrieli is my first choice, if Mr. Patrick were to become governor, I’d be excited for the future of our Commonwealth.

For Lieutenant Governor, I’m voting for Deborah Goldberg. She’s terrific — like Chris, I believe she’s committed to the public service for the right reasons. She would be an effective advocate for the cities and towns of Massachusetts. I like her position on climate change, which she’s made a central plank of her campaign platform. I held a sign for Deborah during her very first campaign for selectwoman in Brookline. I’ll be pulling the lever for her at polls today.

Gabrieli campaign e-mail: Remember John Silber

The Gabrieli campaign sent out a blast e-mail to its supporters (I am one) to respond to the Boston Globe’s latest poll numbers — showing a big lead for Deval Patrick — that says that the Globe has a history of being very wrong in its polling in the lead-up to the primary. I have to say that I wonder about the reliability of ANY telephone polling at the moment. How many people realistically answer their home phone for a survey in this era of cell phones, e-mail, sms, and DO NOT CALL? It must be a self-selecting and skewed group in almost any poll. No doubt pollsters are clever and finding ways to correct for this obvious problem, but I don’t put much stock in the polls, by media outlets or internals for campaigns.

Here’s a partial text of the e-mail to supporters:

Memo: Great new Gabrieli poll numbers

A Gabrieli campaign internal poll shows that our campaign is gaining momentum with just days to go before the primary. Our poll indicates that Chris (30%) is within the margin of error — in a statistical tie — with Deval Patrick (34%), while it has become clear that Tom Reilly (15%) is all but eliminated from contention.

As more and more voters make their decisions, they’re responding to Chris’ common-sense commitment to putting results before useless fighting between Democrats and Republicans. The work that we’ve all done together over the past few months is paying off. That’s why Kerry Healey launched negative attacks against Chris last week. She thinks that the only way to beat Chris Gabrieli is to beat him in the Democratic primary.

Unfortunately, today’s Boston Globe poll misses the mark. The Globe poll — which was conducted mostly before Chris’s forceful response to the Healey attack ads — has a history of being off the mark. In 1990, John Silber trailed Lt. Gov. Francis X. Bellotti in a Boston Globe poll by 23 points just five days before the primary. Silber beat Bellotti 54-44.

The Citizen Editor

In the past several weeks, I’ve been playing with a new format that my friends at TopTenSources developed. We’ve seen the Citizen Journalist; this idea is the Citizen Editor. Several of us have been using a new bookmarklet-style tool that makes it very easy to tag a story when you’re reading it, provide a bit of analysis, and have it posted to a dedicated website on the topic. It’s in many ways what lots of bloggers do anyway. I remember Dave Winer showing me an aspect of Manila that renders a river of news and then lets you check off stories that you want to appear somewhere — dead simple and fun; this idea is in the same vein, only using different tools and with a different output.

The one I’ve been playing with, as part of a group of “citizen editors,” is tracking the Massachusetts Governor’s Race. It’s a ton of fun. (There are a variety of perspectives among the group as to whom we support, as with most group blogs, I suppose.) As I read the utterly amazing and surging group of bloggers/MSM commentators — for instance, Blue Mass Group, GOPNews, Boston.com, Adam Reilly at the Phoenix, Kimberly Atkins at the Herald, and several dozen other blogs and news sources each day — I tag some of the best, most relevant sources and pop them into the aggregator for others to see. I think it’s pretty novel. The idea is that someone who is interested in the race, but not spending so much time in the details and reading every blog post, can come to a one-stop shop and scan the Editor’s Picks. Over time, the idea is to use a combination of technical tools to pick the most important stories from the most important sources with an editor or group of editors able to over-ride, make decisions about placement, and provide some context and editorial color. I think it’s pretty neat.

(My disclosures: I am a founder, am chairman of the Board, and hold equity in Top Ten Media, Inc., in my extra-Harvard capacity. And I am supporting Chris Gabrieli for governor and Deborah Goldberg for lieutenant governor of Massachusetts.)