Muffy the liberal slayer

If there’s one constant in life beyond death and taxes, it’s that politics in Massachusetts is never boring.

Next year there’s going to be a race for governor in Massachusetts. On the Democratic side, Attorney General Tom Reilly is one of the top two likely nominees. On the Republican side, however, it’s a bit muddier.

The current governor, Mitt Romney, is still pretty popular with the people, and would most likely defeat any Democrat. The Republicans have held on to the governorship for fifteen years, even while the Democrats have cinched tighter their lock on the legislature. But Romney’s toying with a run for the Presidency, meaning that there just might be an open race next year.

His lieutenant governor is Kerry Murphy Healey, a short-term legislator and wife of a very, very successful businessman. She’s looking at succeeding her boss, if he should not run, and Mitt is encouraging, letting her take the lead on several fronts.

One of them is the recently-discussed bill in the Massachusetts legislature to grant in-state tuition to illegal aliens. (Never mind that LEGAL aliens don’t qualify for such tuition breaks, and federal law says that if a state does that, they have to offer the same tuition to any student, from anywhere). The bill was heading for a quiet death, until Mr. Reilly weighed in supporting it.

Healey took that, and ran with it. She went on a local talk-show and railed against both the measure and Reilly. It wasn’t that exciting, until they started taking callers — and Reilly was one of the first to get through.

The host, John DePetro of WRKO, did the smart thing — he stood back and let the two of them go at it.

Now, Healey has a bit of a reputation as a lightweight. She’s seen (fairly or unfairly) as a socialite, a soccer mom, a rich man’s wife dabbling in politics to keep herself from getting bored. Reilly, on the other hand, is currently the highest elected Democrat in the state, and has been in public office for over 20 years. By all rights, Reilly should’ve mopped the floor with Muffy, sending her home with hair still wet from a swirly and absent her lunch money.

But sometimes, the baby seal comes up with a shotgun.

Healey stomped all over Reilly, refusing to let him steamroll her. He repeatedly trotted out the liberal saws about “compassion” and “fairness” and “for the children,” and called her the dirtiest word in the liberal vocabulary — “mean-spirited.” He pooh-poohed the concerns about the cost of this measure (the difference between in-state and non-resident tuition is about 9K a year) and brushed aside questions about whether once this is passed, if the students would next be seeking scholarships.

Now, admittedly, Healey had a huge tactical advantage over Reilly, being in-studio while he was on the phone, but she also knew her stuff. She hammered him repeatedly, asking why the state’s highest law-enforcement officer was for subsidizing illegal behavior. She told him that if he wanted to fight the immigration laws, he should take it to Washington — and I think she even offered to buy him a ticket. And she rebutted his “lack of compassion” remark by saying her sympathies were with the taxpayers and citizens of Massachusetts, and why weren’t his?

Don’t take my word for it. Reilly got so thoroughly trounced, one of his biggest supporters saw no choice but to come to his defense. The Boston Glob latched on to a single sentence of the entire mauling (I can’t dignify it with the term “debate,” as Healey kept making valid points, while Reilly kept droning on and on his talking points), where Healey said that illegal aliens should go to private colleges instead, and commissioned a hit piece on her. They sent out their crack staff to find outraged illegal aliens to quote — and unlike Reilly, they have no trouble tracking them down. And they dug up every piece of dirt they could to fling at her.

The fact that Massachusetts has had Republican governors since 1990 (when Mike Dukakis left office) is something that drives the Globe absolutely bonkers. So smearing Healey — the presumptive nominee, should Mitt not run again — is just par for the course for them. After all, this is the same paper that published flagrantly fake photos of “US servicemen raping Iraqi women.”

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