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.