John Tierney: snatching victory from the jaws of defeat

Just as the Boston Herald was unable to sway voters with  obsessively demeaning Elizabeth Warren as an affirmative action princess “Fauxcohontas,”  so too did the Boston Globe fail to run John Tierney out of office, using barrels and barrels of ink to repeat the slimy story alleging Tierney must have known about the money that wife Patrice unlawfully brought into the household from her corrupt brothers-in-law engaged in their illegal offshore gambling business.  The paper did story after story about Patrice and the in-laws, none of which revealed anything new but all of which  layed the groundwork for anti-Tierney ads and the Globe endorsement of Republican Richard Tisei. 

And just as the Herald  acknowledged in today’s editorial that Warren (and Barack Obama) are “decent people, dedicated to their jobs, to their country and to their constituents,”  so too did today’s edition of the Globe  eat some crow.  An editorial finally acknowledged, in writing of Tierney’s narrow victory,  that “Voters remember the good things, too,” including his “work on important student loan legislation and his significant contributions to the Affordable Care Act.”  I don’t know that I ever saw recognition in the paper during the campaign of the long-time Representative’s “concrete achievements.”

Clearly, organized labor’s ground campaign on behalf of Tierney helped him win, and he benefitted from the heavy partisan presidential election turnout, but he also reaped a lot of bread from the waters of 16 years of solid constituent service and credit for a lot of unflashy but important legislative work. 

Despite speculation that Libertarian Daniel Fishman siphoned votes from Tisei, I’d bet that more than a few of those votes for Fishman were from Democrats and Independents turned off by Tierney’s smarmy family scandal, wishing to protest John Tierney’s handling of the matter but not wanting to cast their ballots to boost John Boehner’s majority.  If Fishman hadn’t been on the ballot, they might have blanked the race. 

For his part, Tisei,  to great acclaim, ran a respite TV spot of waves gently lapping a beach in Gloucester as a break from his negative ads, signalling he thought he had the race wrapped up.  That was lovely, but ultimately a waste of money. Better he told voters why in a Republican-held Congress he could do more for them.

The campaign was a lost opportunity for voters. Tisei was a far better candidate than Bill Hudak in 2010 and, given his intelligence and background, could have engaged Tierney in a serious debate about issues and Congressional leadership.  There were a lot of potential ticket splitters in the district ready to listen. 

In the end, the outside personal attack ads, flawed campaigns and warped coverage was only topped by Tisei’s ungracious concession, trafficking in unsubstantiated rumors that voter fraud by Tierney supporters in Lynn caused his defeat.

I welcome your comments in the section below.

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2 Responses to John Tierney: snatching victory from the jaws of defeat

  1. Pingback: Tierney, Tisei and a defense of party-line voting | Media Nation

  2. afina says:

    Tisei was a far better candidate than Hudak, who only got the opportunity because of the tea party wave that year, but Tisei still managed to ran a basically nasty, negative race, identified by was a liar he thought Tierney was. This includes the outside groups that spend over $3M attacking Tierney. Tisei may be able to claim legal legal hands off from those attacks, but he was definitely in support of them.The way in which he refused to concede election night, then closed his HQ, and had his campaign go on about alleged voter fraud in Lynn, says volumes to me about his character, or lack of it. I think his closing behavior has shut the door on his viability as a candidate any time soon. In the end, my decision to support Tierney, one which came at the beginning of the campaign, was who has voted to support positions I believe in, and who and what would Tisei vote for as a Republican (not independent) member of Congress. The choice was easy.

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