Perry, under fire for his role as a Wareham police sergeant in the early 1990s, when an officer under his command illegally strip-searched two teenage girls, shook hands and chatted with supporters but did not address the crowd.
That’s right, folks. Jeff Perry didn’t speak at his own rally.
Baker, who had faced questions about appearing with Perry, spoke for all of two minutes…. After initially gathering in a bandstand, they moved to a plainer podium, a wooden block that was further from the roughly 10 protestors who chanted “Shame on you” as Baker raced through his speech. Protesters held signs saying “Apologize Jeff” and “Got Coverup?”
It gets better.
As they mingled with supporters, the two men seemed to keep their interactions to a minimum. Baker’s speech began at 3:20 and concluded at 3:21. By 3:22, Perry was on his way out of the rally, climbing into a car parked by the cemetery bordering the green.
Wow, a 60-second stump speech. That’s got to be some kind of record. And it’s funny – practically every other time Baker goes to a rally, the Bakerbots are posting pictures all over Twitter showing modest crowds of supporters. Not today – I didn’t see a single post from him or any of his staff about today’s event.
It’s fair to describe today’s embarrassment as the wages of cowardice. Charlie Baker had a chance to take a stand for decency in a way that transcended party by withdrawing his support for Jeff Perry and not showing up today at all. Failing that, he should have gone all-in today, striding up on stage and shaking Jeff Perry’s hand, as he did with Bill Hudak a while back, and explaining to the crowd once again that Perry’s the “right guy for the job.” That, at least, would have made Perry’s shrinking but
rabid enthusiastic base of supporters happy, and might have bought Baker a few extra votes.
He didn’t even have the guts to do that. Instead, he showed up but obviously didn’t want to be seen with Perry, and obviously wanted to get the hell out of there as fast as he could. He thus gets the worst of both worlds: people who don’t like Perry know he was there; people who do are miffed that he obviously didn’t want to be. Lose-lose.