We want an attorney general who will concentrate as a priority on the professional, rather than the political, aspects of the position, which is why we endorse Maura Healey over Warren Tolman in the Democratic primary next Tuesday.
Founding motivations are telling. Healey told us she knows the business as a result of her years running important divisions of the Attorney General’s office. She decided to run, she said, to ensure professional administration, advocate for those victimized by crime, and ensure effective engagement between our community and its lawyers. “As a division and bureau chief in the Attorney General’s Office, I have been on the front lines fighting for fairness, equality and justice. I will lead using the strengths and skills I have acquired throughout my career as a lawyer, advocate and prosecutor,” she writes on her website. If anyone is well positioned to deliver results, it is Healey.
Tolman told us the appearance of SWAT officers on his Watertown doorstep during the hunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev reminded him of the importance of public safety and pushed him to enter the race. That is a laudable impulse, but it is an essentially personal and political, in the best sense of the word, motivation. The Attorney General’s office is charged with enforcing the law, not formulating it.
A similar dichotomy emerged in the WGBH debate between the candidates on the subject of the captivating Market Basket saga. Healey rightly identified that imbroglio as an essentially political and economic struggle, not a law enforcement matter. Tolman was ready to wade right into the debate wrapped in the mantle of his office — and worry later about statutory authority. That sounds like a role for the Governor, not the A.G.
The Globe made a similar point when it endorsed Healey. So did the Herald, which also endorsed her: “I view the job of attorney general as the people’s lawyer, not a super legislator,” the newspaper’s editors said she told them.
Healey has mounted a crisp, professional and pointed campaign from website to advertisements to the grass-roots — 93 days since “Maura Healey released her tax returns and Warren Tolman promised to release his taxes ‘in a couple weeks'” notes her Clean Elections Clock.
When she wins, it will be one more remarkable achievement for the 5’4″ Harvard graduate, Northeastern lawyer, and former starting point guard on a professional basketball team.
Andrei Radulescu-Banu says
You’ve hit the nail right on the head.
Maura Healey will be a great Attorney General. And you can tell that by the way she ran her campaign – she’s never avoided hard questions, never come up with the usual cute platitudes, and she proved to be a sharp and unwavering intellect.
And, what’s more, she is surging in the polls: “Healey, a former assistant attorney general, now leads Tolman 42 percent to 27 percent among voters likely to vote in Tuesday’s primary”
Why the surge? “Women in particular have started to turn Healey’s way, the poll found. While Healey led Tolman among women voters 31 percent to 28 percent last week, a gulf opened up in this week’s response: Women supported Healey over Tolman 49 percent to 23 percent.”
It gives me hope that people recognize what Maura has accomplished and what she is capable to do.
I could not have said what BMG has said any better. Great endorsement.
I think the editors have made a WHOPPER with this choice.
If Ms. Healey is elected, and the policies of Ms. Coakley are perpetuated, I will not resist the urge to say “I told you so”.
that Warren Tolman had not ignored BMG’s request to offer more extensive commentary on the issues coming out of Ferguson. Not only did he pass up an opportunity to talk about a set of issues that IMHO are critical for the state’s next chief law enforcement officer to think hard about, he also declined the opportunity to engage directly with active, interested voters like yourself. The fact that Healey took us up on the invitation, and Tolman didn’t, was a significant factor in my decision.
I think you might have missed some jocularity in this comment.
Where is your evidence that convinces you that Maura Healy will continue the policies of Martha Coakley. Shen has already broken from her on casinos?
Good morning and thank you, Bob, David and Charley.
I am honored to have Blue Mass Group’s endorsement. This is where I announced my candidacy and I want to thank all the readers who have supported our grassroots campaign over the last 10 months and engaged here and on the trail on the important issues facing our next Attorney General.
You have brought this campaign so far. But we have to double down. I won’t stop working until the final buzzer. This race still feels like a jump ball to me and I will be making my case across Massachusetts until 8:00 pm on Tuesday.
I ask for your vote. I ask you to share your support with friends. And I ask you to join our campaign in these final days. If you are able to volunteer this weekend or on Primary Day, please email our GOTV Director Sam Shusterman, email@example.com, and we’ll get you plugged in for the final push.
Yours with gratitude,
We might have to blow the whistle for using too many basketball metaphors. Oh. Wait. (Walks back to the bench).
Andrei Radulescu-Banu says
I’ll take that over Warren’s toupee jokes, thank you very much.
While you are head and shoulders above Warren Tolman, and I’ve been perplexed at how many progressives have actually thought he would be a better fit or more qualified for AG than you, I was equally as perplexed as Emily Roonie was when she asked if you were serious and then to Tolman as well after you recycled this Reefer Madnessesque failed War on Drugs talking point that “marijuana is a gateway drug.”
As pointed out above in the various endorsements, for the same reasons, you delineated precisely the role of the AG and Constitutional authority of office in the context of issues and conflicts taking place in the Commonwealth. So, it was very troubling that both you and Tolman in one issue in which you do not present a more sophisticated stance nor bothered to address the racial component of the War in Drugs or the incredible damage to societies from alcoholism that you did not also delineate that opinions about drug consumption and which ones are more likely to encourage further drug consumption and addiction is not the role of a prosecutor but of researchers in health care, addiction, and recovery.
I see what you did there:) Sorry, couldn’t resist!
Is she taller than him? I didn’t realize the potential for any basketball or height jokes. Wasn’t intended, but I guess I’m glad you found it humorous.
She was a basketball player despite being 5′ 4″. I’m not sure of Tolman’s exact height, but he is often the tallest person in the room. In the literal sense Tolman is head and shoulders above Healey, but I took your comment in reverse as intentional irony on your part.
My brow has not unfurrowed since listening to their starkly old-fashioned and simplistic responses to the marijuana question. I think it would be interesting to see where they stand in relation to the work of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. On a more general note, I asked them on Facebook if they were aware of Portugal’s initiative to decriminalize all illicit drugs — and watch addiction rates drop by 50%.
I’ve not been wanting to make a big deal about this issue before the election, as I hope she’ll win, but going forward I think we should arrange to meet with her and her staff about this. Both her and Tolman follow me on Twitter. I mean, it’s not like they care what I have to say, rather are hoping for me to follow back to support their campaigns or they just want to RT anything I write in support of them. But, I figure if no one responds here, I’ll just hammer the account with DMs about the War on Drugs…
I respect and like Maura Healey. And while I disagree with the endorsement, I think the editors offered a thoughtful, fact-driven essay on why someone should vote for Ms. Healey.
And as a Tolman supporter the Globe’s last poll is disappointing but not discouraging. Ms. Healey hit it on the nose, the next few days are about ID and GOTV for E-Day.
To that end, I participated in a Labor canvas for Warren Tolman, Congresswoman Clark and State Rep candidate Steve Ultrino in Malden last night. The turnout was so big, they ran out of turfs to door knock and volunteers were sent out on visibilities. That’s the definition of grassroots activism.
Tuesday will be an interesting Election Day. Best of luck to Maura Healey and her supporters – I’ll see you on the streets on the 9th.
I too was at that rally yesterday in Malden and while you and I may disagree on the AG race, I want to thank you sincerely — and all the other Labor volunteers who knocked doors in Malden yesterday — for supporting Steve Ultrino for State Rep (full disclosure I’m his field director) and for Congresswoman Katherine Clark.
Love to hear about any canvass that runs out of turf due to turnout!
Cheers & thanks again!
Maura Healey has a support of a lot of the bar, including many leaders of the bar, mostly because she’s a very smart lawyer with a varied and successful background in practice who has litigated and won hard cases, including some while she worked her way up in the AG’s office. I think many lawyers, myself included, want an AG who embodies competence and leadership in the law. For this job, I’m not that interested in a longtime legislator and candidate for other statewide offices who might just as well be running for governor, or for secretary of the commonwealth, or whatever. Frankly, I’m not sure it’s a good idea to elect our attorney general, but since we do, I think we ought to elect someone whose resume cries out, “attorney general!” instead of someone whose resume cries out, “candidate for the statewide office that happened to come open this cycle!”
…she’s in favor of casino repeal. Just saying.
she will be our first elected female governor!
I move to Europe.
I can’t think of anything that makes her that bad.
the first one gets elected in November
We know who Bob is backing for Gov, when will those endorsements drop?
and I’m leaning Healey (well today anyway, I could still switch) and I’m leaning that way because I completely agree the opening statement in the endorsement, Tolman is more Pol than AG.
But I think a more honest assessment of Healey, is someone more closely aligned with Coakley, and not in a good way. From the Demos lawsuit on the Voting Rights Act, where Healey was included included on letters from the organization as the “Civil Rights People’s Lawyer”.
Also, questionable on DCF issue:
and this (same link)…
Well, someone should have lectured you earlier because isn this case “the people’s lawyer” sucked.
So that said, I did vote for Coakley for AG in past elections, and on balance there was a lot of good. I’m including Coakley with DOMA as the second banana is getting all the credit, Coakley deserves much of it too. so if you are comfortable with that, then there should not be an issue.
So this is how I break it down, with the caveat that they agree on many issues, but highlighting the differences:
Healey, exceptional lawyer, fighter, some judgement questions.
Tolman, Pol with good judgement (there is a history and we know who he is)
That’s how I see it, too. It’s a tough one, and I don’t think either would be bad.
This race is leagues different than the race for governor in terms of the qualities of each candidate.
I watched that debate and Healey was explaining all that she would do, rape kits, more investigators, more forensic nurses and that she had represented domestic violence victims. Tolman did his usual speech about college campuses and Healey went into great depth about ALL victims of sexual assault. Immigrants, people with disabilities, homeless women, all those abused before age 17 (42% of all assault) who are in the shadows who are the most victimized. Clearly again an example where she sees more dimensions to each issue. I urge you to look carefully at the depth of Maura’s understanding of the issues.
there was some back and forth, but at the end of the day if she is hanging her hat on running the civil rights division and saying it every other sentence, then it’s up for discussion what has happened during that time.
On a subject where I have some professional knowledge (substance abuse policy) — both candidates showed themselves as concerned, and both have their hearts in the right place, but Tolman seemed to more easily accept information from pharmaceutical industry representatives, while Healey’s information clearly came from medical providers, public health experts, and others on the front lines of addiction treatment.
I was getting worried that you wouldn’t give out a BMG Kiss-of-Death in this race. With this and Deval’s endorsement yesterday, Tolman’s got it in the bag!
is the Clean Elections referendum that he got passed. It’s the reaction to that referendum which is most telling. Not only the state legislative leadership, but craven guardians of conventional wisdom, like Scot Lehigh over at the Globe worked to get it overturned. Is there anyone else running today (for anything?)who has ever made Those Who Must Be Obeyed so uncomfortable?
I would agree that Clean Elections was a long time ago, and I have no idea if Tolman has changed, but it’s so rare that anyone has done anything as contrary to the wishes of the people in power.
Sadly, the Warren Tolman of 1994 would hardly recognize the Warren Tolman of 2014. The last ten years took him in a very different direction. Nothing wrong with that, but people change.
…but during the course of this race I have also decided that I prefer his activist/advocacy approach to the AG’s office.
It’s a political office, I want an actual politician who knows what they are doing and how to fight for the policies we want. I want someone who passed laws in the past enforcing them in the present.
Andrei Radulescu-Banu says
And look how she fared as Attorney General.
But I think that’s because she was not progressive, not because she was not political.
Andrei Radulescu-Banu says
I’m curious how many other people think Martha Coakley is not progressive.
She’s pro choice, anti gun, talks the good talk about the collision of mental care with the justice system, about DCF, she claims to have the interest of consumers when she won medical care cost concessions from Partners…
I think she is progressive. That’s never been a problem with Martha Coakley.
The problem comes when we want to see the results of the things she set in place, undoubtedly for progressive goals. Her results don’t match the rhetoric.
For me what counts is what remedies a candidate/elected will pursue for economic and social justice *for all*, and for me MC is pretty middle-of-the-road on things like progressive tax reform/revenue and, a biggie, health care.
Baker is pro-choice and fairly reasonable, I think, on guns, but I don’t think he’s a progressive.
That’s where you lose me. Too often we try to make the perfect the enemy of the good. It’s great that you have an alternative you prefer in this case, but there are no non-progressive Dems seeking statewide office this year.
The question I was answering was “Is MC a progressive?”
Being pro choice and middlingly anti gun aren’t enough in 2014 to count, to me, as a progressive.
She took DOMA and buffer zones to SCOTUS. On the economic side she has stood with consumers and homeowners. I’ve said all along that I will grant that Berwick is the MOST progressive in this race, but absolutely not that he is the ONLY one. Coakley certainly is not conservative and I doubt even moderate if she were to take a political ideology test.
I don’t think she’s particularly progressive. Being pro LGBT isn’t enough in 2014.
Economically… She answered a WBUR question: “Are the rich taxed at a fair rate in MA?” with a very hedgy “*Probably* not…” There’s a correct answer and it is “No”.
The term itself is less important than what it stands for (and how we’re defining it) — how I understand what it means to be progressive, MC doesn’t cut it. She’s better than Baker, for sure.
No there is not a correct answer. The tax rate is flat by prevailing constitutional interpretation. Some people do believe that flat is fair. I guess we disagree on what is acceptable as progressive. I’m still pretty confident that MC falls on the progressive side of every issue.
I think Harmonywho is quite right here. The perfectly correct answer is indeed “no”.
There are those who believe a flat tax is fair but they’re not progressives. Progressives generally start from Engel’s Law in figuring out fairness in taxation. If you want to be wonkish about it, there are even calculations of what level of taxation extracts the most social good for the highest tax brackets. (There you have to weigh the good government can do against the disincentives higher taxes induce.) Those calculations put the top bracket pretty high, like north of 60%. Even a Rawlsian approach tends away from a flat rate, or the approximation to a flat rate we have here.
That said, I notice Coakley generally seems to be trying to strike a warm, friendly, earnest tone. To those of us who want crystal-clear thinking and straight-forward answers, the amorphousness of this style is grating. However, it might have a lot of appeal to other parts of the electorate who maybe like the image of sweet toughness she projects. So I could easily imagine her intentionally fuzzing up her answers. Thus the answer to “Are the rich taxed at a fair rate in MA?” turns from “Hell, no!” to “Hm, probably not, I guess.”
“Sweet toughness” is exactly what gets her the loyalty of folks like my parents and other boomer-seniors who I think are underrepresented on this blog and in most activist circles. These are the rain, sleet, or shine voters. None of my friends are even aware there is a primary or care, I had to remind many of them to vote. I think “sweet toughness” worked back in the 90s-it was sort of Clinton’s mantra after all-loved working folk but tough on crime, welfare, and defense unlike those other hippies we nominated. But it’s an old playbook and one that is going to be worn out quite soon.
We’re changing criteria here. I can see that the progressive answer would be no, and I agree with that, but harmonywho said the CORRECT answer is no, as if there were an objective truth to the matter. Big difference.
Well, no answer to moral questions is ever correct or not correct. This is that old philosophical problem about how there’s no direct route from “is” to “ought”. However, within a given ethical framework, there are indeed right and wrong answers. Different ethical frameworks yield different answers. Within the ethical frameworks most commonly held by progressives, there are indeed right and wrong answers to this question. If we are claiming Ms. Coakley is a progressive, then her answer to this question is evidence, one way or the other, of her progressiveness.
Wordy, but hopefully an answer to your 4:08pm question, christopher.
Because the term “progressive” is useful for broad divisions, but it is imprecise, and must be defined. The word itself is meaningless if you don’t say, “these are the values we’re using to define it.”
If everybody’s progressive, then it’s meaningless. If you name a candidate “progressive” without specifically defining in what ways, it’s practically useless.
We had a lengthly thread on this about a month ago, I prefer the term liberal and always have. I’m very retro or Old Left in that regard. But I think it’s a term that is clearly defined by its supporters and opponents alike. Progressive is more amorphous (deliberately and defensively I might add).
Words and labels are useful for rough categories, but what matters are the issues/values behind them, and there’s no one lock. Tell me what you stand for and I’ll tell you if I support your ideas. If I support enough of them maybe i’ll vote for you.
Opposed DOMA and backed buffer zones and is to date, the first and only major GOP gubernatorial nominee to be a full throated supporter of marriage equality. On economics-I fear he may be another Scott Walker in Bill Welds clothing. That is why I can’t bote for him-Coakley really has an opportunity in the neat few weeks to redefine herself as a bold advocate for mitigating income inequality, public education, public transit, and public healthcare. It’s time for MA to live up to its liberal reputation, and like the editors, I don’t doubt her liberal inclinations I do doubt her commitment and courage to seeing those inclinations through. Overly cautious has not been a good recipe for progressive government in the past few years.
She is great on a few issues:
Bad on others:
Drug War (Although, maybe she intentionally bombed, seriously, it was bad, the Melendez-Diaz SCOTUS argument to give non-violent drug offenders more rights in MA courts.)
And on others, “Taking on the banks” and health care, I think she’s overrated and blown important opportunities (especially the Partners deal). On other issues, most notably transportation, I have no sense of where she stands given her generic statements.
We can debate the definition of progressive, but I think at a minimum, a progressive fights for justice, equality, and fairness across the board. From the positions I’ve seen her take, those are not her motivating values.
To me Martha Coakley is a Democrat, not a progressive.
While I am concerned about her policy positions, the most concerning thing is her lack of vision. She has never stated her top priorities in anything close to specific detail. The BMG editors noted that, the Globe did, and many people here have as well. Her supporters haven’t even refuted these claims. That’s scary.
So, even if you believe she holds progressive positions, is there anything we’ve seen that should make us believe that she will fight and lead on those issues?
She attracted token opposition to her re-election bid in 2010 and mentioned several times that even during her race against Scott Brown her record as AG went largely uncriticized.
My feeling was that Healey would make it out of the primary, but now after you have issued your “kiss of death” I’m not so sure anymore. Need to ponder this race some more.