We’re a little slow to react, but Frank Phillips in the Globe yesterday repeated much of what the Herald’s Kim Atkins reported Thursday: that the Office of Campaign and Political Finance is looking into Killer Coke’s expenditures and possible coordination with the Reilly campaign. It’s got more background and more quotes than the brief Herald story — and it must be said, in spite of the inflammatory nature of the internal emails from the Reilly campaign that fell into Globe columnist Joan Vennocchi’s lap, it wouldn’t seem there’s a smoking gun for coordination:
Both Rogers and the Reilly campaign say they have not worked together or coordinated Killer Coke’s efforts to attack Patrick. Rogers said the only contact came when he called the headquarters for Reilly and businessman Christopher F. Gabrieli to get e-mail addresses in order to send them his press release.
“I have had no conversations with any officials or representatives of any campaign,” Rogers said. The only exception, he said, was that he talked directly with Green Rainbow candidate Grace Ross. [Which will catapult Ross to the corner office! Oh the humanity! — ed.]
Guarino, who said neither he nor anyone else on the staff talked to Rogers, said the media strategy he outlined in the e-mail was never implemented after Reilly strategists decided that their involvement would tarnish Rogers’s credibility.
Aha, it’s Rogers’s credibility that would be at stake … yes indeed. Thanks for clearing that up, Mr. Guarino.
So unless someone can get emails from between Rogers and the Reilly campaign, the coordination charge may not go anywhere. Rogers is now post-hoc filing expenditure reports; as David has explained, OCPF doesn’t exactly drop the hammer for campaign finance violations. Perhaps that will be that.
BUT MORE TO THE POINT … I’ll ask again: In campaign terms, isn’t this a peculiar line of attack against Patrick? The criticisms of his corporate past seem aimed at whipping up discontent among a pretty hard-left, anti-corporate, Stick-It-To-The-Man kind of contingent. I suppose there may be undecided liberals who may be spooked into the Reilly (or Gabrieli) camp because of all this, but I really don’t see it. Patrick staked out the liberal ground early on, both on policy and RFK-style atmospherics. Reilly’s attacks on Patrick’s corporate background seem a little discordant with Reilly’s apparent desire to grab moderates through the tax cut and populist rhetoric — the latter of which he actually does decently well.
It’s baffling to me why Reilly has wasted so much energy on going so negative on Patrick’s background, instead of trumpeting his own hard-ass image. Why not tell us about the corporate bastards he’s tracked down — and subtly try to make Patrick the Enron candidate? Killer Coke is a lot of things, but it ain’t subtle — and therefore easy to make out as the work of a crank. And when Reilly goes after Patrick’s corporate career, he does come off a little cranky.
And when one is so blatant with the innuendo, it just highlights the fact that there’s no smoking gun. It’s not even effective Swift-Boating. At least the real Swift-Boaters had their zany alternative theories for how John Kerry got his medals: he must have wounded himself, wrote up his own reports, etc. But nobody — not Reilly, not Ray Rogers — has posited that Patrick actively signed off on the slaughter of bottling workers in Columbia. Their “logic” goes like this: Bad thing happened at Coke; Patrick was at Coke; therefore Patrick’s responsible and a bad guy. But the story’s still too complicated to be effective. I do wonder if they’ll take that next step of just flat-out making stuff up — really getting into Rovian hackery. I will sleep well tonight confident that that’s utterly beyond the folks working for Reilly’s campaign …
Until then, I’m baffled by the anti-corporate stuff, unless Tom’s got something up his sleeve. I kinda doubt it.
Update: Jon Keller’s interview with Reilly aired this morning (mouse over the little screens under the big screen on the right). You can’t help but regret the amount of time that Reilly’s spending talking about this stuff, instead of what kind of governor he’d be. He did get to talk about the tax cut at length — “going over the legislature’s head” to get it done.
And Keller did pointedly ask: “Is this just sort of generalized mud that you’re throwing against the wall to see if it sticks, or is there something specifically that you think voters need to be aware of with regard to either Patrick or Gabrieli?” In so many words, the answer was no, nothing in particular.
What a distraction. What a waste.