Saturday, October 2, 2010

October surprise: nothing was delivered

Just a quick thought or two on Paul Loscocco pulling out of the Cahill campaign. My esteemed colleague, Dan Haley and I were talking the other night on Mary Greendale's HCAT show 'Just Thinking' and one of the topics that we touched on briefly was the notion of third party candidacies. There was some sense of the quizzical kicked about on the whole prospect of running a campaign without a realistic chance of winning. Who would want to do such a thing?

I'll admit I've watched Cahill-Loscocco with a lot less fascination than I have had for the apoplectic umbrage on display from Baker people (and Dan in particular) at the very idea of their campaign. There has been some guilty pleasure in that particular watching, I do confess.

But as to 'who would want to do such a thing?' I think there is a valid place for third party candidacies. If I recall correctly when Cahill-Loscocco launched there was talk of a sort of 'Third Way' approach to the politics, with the ticket balanced between old stalwarts of differing parties who were set on looking past the old paralytic dialectic of Right v. Left. While I am still a Patrick supporter, when I first heard talk of that "third" perspective being brought to the debate my thought was it would be a welcome one.

Here we are these months into the campaign, though, and like Dylan sang in one of my favorite songs from 'The Basement Tapes' —"nothing was delivered.""

Paul Loscocco deserves credit for the candor in his statements bowing out. And he and Cahill together deserve to be challenged for their failure, too. We never heard word one on that 'valid third way' beyond the partisan paralysis of our current politics. We got another setup of political egoism to choose.

Loscocco acknowledged as much in remarks, that the Cahill-Loscocco campaign had come down to that, with his homage to the Reagan of his childhood and his confession that he saw the race as about not much more than beating Deval Patrick. He allowed as how Baker-Tisei had beaten Cahill-Loscocco in a de facto Republican primary.

I don't agree with Paul Loscocco's politics a lot of the time. But as for his confession/concession assessment, he got that one just about right.

The "very idea" of a viable third way should indeed be available to voters. We should be able to hear of it offered in third party candidacies. We should be willing hear of it from within the two major parties when candidates voice balanced ideas envisioning consensus policy, rather than their side winning always the next contest. But again, I give credit to Paul Loscocco for ultimately admitting that that wasn't what he and his running mate came to offer. Patrick supporters shouldn't be accusing Loscocco or the Baker campaign of back room dealings. They shouldn't be calling this an October Surprise, some underhanded connivance to steal the election. Candor shouldn't ever be cause for such empty finger pointing accusation. And Paul Loscocco deserves credit for his candor. Read between the lines and he could be singing his old running mate out on that old Dylan tune.

"Nothing was delivered
And I tell this truth to you
Not out of spite or anger
But simply because it’s true
Now, I hope you won’t object to this
Giving back all of what you owe
The fewer words you have to waste on this
The sooner you can go..."

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