What idiots Tom Reilly, Marie St. Fleur, and their campaign staffers must think we all are.
As everyone knows by now, it turns out that Marie St. Fleur – Tom Reilly’s hand-picked Lieutenant Governor candidate – has massive money problems, including an extant $12,000 federal tax lien from less than a year ago, along with over $7,000 of now-discharged city tax liens from a couple of years ago, and over $40,000 of delinquent student loans dating back to her graduation from BC Law School in 1987.
It’s hard for me to decide what I find most infuriating about this story. Here are a couple of options:
St. Fleur told the Globe last night that she had paid down the federal tax debt to about $8,000 by making $500 monthly payments since last spring. But later last night, Corey Welford, a Reilly campaign spokesman, corrected her, saying that she had in fact made only one $500 payment last May and that the balance is still more than $12,000.
And her husband is an accountant, for heaven’s sake! Maybe I’m being harsh, but I seriously question whether “most people will understand” this kind of thing. To the contrary, I think “most people” expect state legislators who earn a nice living at least to keep up with their taxes. Dianne Wilkerson’s similar (though more serious in some ways) problems have been a major albatross around her neck ever since they came to light some years ago, and Wilkerson never ran for statewide office.
All this prompted one Republican to offer a slogan for Reilly’s campaign: “We Broke Our Word to Our Best Supporters. Think What We’ll Do For You!”
What a godawful mess.
It all boils down to arrogance. Tom Reilly arrogantly decides that he doesn’t need to know the extent of St. Fleur’s financial problems, assuming that if her assurances are good enough for him, they’ll be good enough for the people of Massachusetts. St. Fleur arrogantly decides that “most people will understand” her financial problems, even though she’s financially much better off than most of those “people” whose understanding she assumes she will have. They both arrogantly decide that whatever commitments they made to already-announced Lieutenant Governor candidates don’t matter, apparently expecting that the rest of the party will just fall in line behind them because they’re the alleged “front-runners” (I wonder how long this “front-runner” idea will hold up).
I don’t know whether this will lead to a sudden surge of local elected officials bailing on Reilly and signing on with Patrick. But what I do suspect is that this – along with the campaign’s other miscues – will substantially dampen the enthusiasm of the local officials and the rest of the party apparatus for Reilly’s campaign. And we all know what happened to Scott Harshbarger when the party apparatus wasn’t solidly behind him.
You’ve just got to think that Deval Patrick has been feeling pretty good these last few days. From Eagan’s Herald column:
Asked what above-the-fray Deval thinks of all this, his spokesman kept above the fray. “We continue to do what we do … he (Reilly) continues to do what he does.” How deliciously Zen. But then it’s easier to be calm when you’ve suddenly got the mo’, no?