David Eichenbaum has no regrets about the ad campaign his Washington, DC, political media firm Struble Eichenbaum created for local entrepreneur Chris Gabrieli. Asked how large a factor advertising was in this year’s Democratic gubernatorial primary (considering that Gabrieli spent about eight million bucks on it), Eichenbaum said, “clearly not as important as we hoped. There were bigger things at play here than positive media were able to overcome.
“We ran a specific kind of race focused on Chris and his ideas. There wasn’t a whole lot different we could have done short of going negative.”
And it wasn’t like Gabrieli was some tomato can of an opponent. “His favorability numbers were sky-high,” Eichenbaum said, “but in the real world of deciding who to vote for, it didn’t really translate.”
Even so, Eichenbaum said, “We accomplished strategically what we set out to do. It wasn’t enough. Something else was going on.” Such as what? “Deval [Patrick] became a movement candidate, which is just what he set out to do. The politics of hope outweighed the politics of results.”
But there was also a thumb on the scale, according to Eichenbaum. “To an extent, [Patrick] was carried more by the press. There was an incredible honeymoon with him and the press. That helped him overcome being outspent.” At this point in the conversation, Eichenbaum started getting pretty lathered up.
“But what pisses me off more than anything, to have three polls come out within two days of the election was so irresponsible. The Globe essentially said, ‘This is over.’”
That last comment refers to the September 17 Boston Sunday Globe front-page story headlined, PATRICK OUTPACES TWO RIVALS IN NEW POLL. The survey gave Patrick a 46 percent to 25 percent lead over Gabrieli. (Patrick wound up with 50 percent of the Democratic-primary vote.)
It appears, moreover, that the Globe’s helpful attitude toward Patrick didn’t stop there. Last Wednesday’s edition, for instance, was a regular DeVal-Pak. For starters, there was the editorial headlined WHO’S SOFT ON CRIME NOW?, which essentially claimed that Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, the GOP gubernatorial candidate, is just as soft on crime as Patrick is, nyah-nyah.
Alongside that pom-pom was a letter to the editor from “a volunteer for the Patrick campaign,” which should by rights have been labeled “Free Political Advertisement.”
But the coup de gratis was that day’s Page One story, headlined ANALYST PUTS INCREASE IN FEES, TAXES AT $700 MILLION. The report referenced an estimate by the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation that Governor Mitt Romney’s administration had “raised roughly $740 million to $750 million per year by increasing fees and corporate taxes.”
That estimate, the Globe story said, was “about $500 million more than what Romney asserted yesterday when he sharply disputed charges by Democratic gubernatorial nominee Deval L. Patrick that the GOP administration had raised millions in taxes.”
But, the piece artfully continued, “It is also tens of millions less than the $985 million that Patrick cited.” Tens of millions? Try $235 million — at best. Julia Child couldn’t have cooked the books that well.