1. The de facto incumbent Healey curiously has chosen “The Right Kind of Change” as her slogan. This is so easily dismissed by correctly talking about Healey as a member of the current administration, it’s barely worth even mentioning. Just a disastrous choice of a tag line by Healey’s camp.
2. Healey is going to try to pound this “tax and spend liberal” thing into people’s heads. This can be neutralized easily by essentially shaming Republicans on this by painting it as the same old divisive, partisan labeling and talking about how people are tired of it.
3. Keep talking about the “Tax Shell Game.” In addition to dispelling the tax-and-spend myth Healey is trying to perpetuate about Patrick, it’s a great, pejorative image that is going to be very tough for the Healey campaign to counter. The “fees” examples Patrick gave Tuesday night in his victory speech were great. Take a lesson from national Republican strategists and re-brand these fees as “taxes.” “High school football tax,” “parking tax,” etc.
4. Healey is trying to cast Patrick as soft on crime. Nail her on the spike in violent crime under the Romney administration. And then hammer home Patrick’s plan to hire more police. Healey already has attempted to try to scare voters with talk of not being able to go into parks for fear of their personal safety. Point out that if this is the case, it’s because of the rise in crime under the current administration.
5. Republicans are going to try to drive home the “balance” argument — that Massachusetts badly wants a Republican in the governor’s office as a counterbalance to the Democratic legislature. In her “victory” speech, Healey tried to scare voters with talk of “back-room deals” that would characterize Democratic control of both branches. Patrick should suggest that perhaps he has her confused with someone else, and point out that she’s the Beacon Hill insider, not him. It’s not a true response to the concern of one-party control, but this sort of thing is an age-old Republican trick, and what’s good for the goose…
6. Cast Healey and the current administration as “The MCAS Regime” and pound into the ground the idea that just testing people and holding them accountable for their test scores isn’t an education policy. Talk about how the state’s education system has to be fixed, and that four more years of the status quo only will see Massachusetts sink further nationally.
7. The Republicans really think they can go after the “lunch pail voters” with the talk of the income tax rollback. Point out how 0.3% of $45,000 is $135 — decent money, but a drop in the bucket compared to what Healey and other wealthy Republicans stand to gain much more from an income tax rate reduction. Just like Healey did when her husband profited in a huge way from the $1 million tax credit given to his company by the Romney administration. Drive home the notion that Healey — like the Big Dig contractors, if you’re feeling really nasty — once again is looking to profit at the expense of the people of Massachusetts.
8. Continue running the same positive “Politics of Hope” spots on TV that have worked so well. Patrick is ridiculously more likable than Healey, and that gap only will widen if she keeps attacking him while he stays on (positive) message. Let the other Democrats — and other interested parties — do the dirty work.
9. Along those lines, Chris Gabrieli should follow up on his counterattack on Healey in tonight’s concession speech. Pound her on the stem cell-related allegations in the ad she ran. If you do it creatively, you can make her come across as being opposed to stem cell research, despite her position in support of the research. Also, point out the hypocrisy of Kerry Healey of all people leveling the charge of trying to profit off of legislation or policy changes, given the aforementioned tax credit scandal involving her husband’s company.
10. Talk about Romney backsliding on his support for reproductive choice, and insinuate that Healey’s support is just as questionable. Then hit her hard for declining to respond to questions and answer a questionnaire from abortion rights organizations.
11. Most of all, drop the R-bomb at every opportunity. Link Healey, Romney, Bush, and Cheney every chance you get. While Patrick talks non-partisan “right and wrong,” let his fellow Democrats do this. If the Republicans can run an ad with Max Cleland and Osama bin Laden, there has to be some group out there willing to morph Kerry Healey into George W. Bush in a TV ad, or just put up photos of the four of them for 30 seconds.