Confront taxes

By EDITORIAL  |  September 22, 2006

Cowed by the corrosive venom spewed on talk radio, few in public life have bothered to tell the public just what that cut would mean.

Deval, you’ve done a good job so far in confronting reality. But taxes are not a dirty word to the constituencies you’ve had to persuade in the Democratic Party. Massachusetts is no longer a state of Democrats and Republicans. Half of the voters are unaffiliated with any party. These independent voters will determine your political future and the future of the state for the next four years.

You have a splendid ally in your former opponent Chris Gabrieli. His standing on the podium with you the night he lost and you won is not only a symbol of Gabrieli’s selflessness, it’s a concrete demonstration that he believes you can win. You have a formidable ally in Gabrieli. His message to voters that there are neither Democratic ideas nor Republican ideas, just good ideas was — and is — potent. His late start in the race and his lack of field organization to match your own may have resulted in your beating him at the polls. But you are too smart a guy, too sophisticated a political operator not to recognize the truth and appeal of his basic message. Ask his advice.

We can’t read Gabrieli’s mind, but we strongly suspect that he will urge you to do something very much along the lines of what we are urging.

Deval, you should continue to tell people the truth: cutting taxes will not make their lives better, but will continue to erode the essential quality of their lives and the lives of their children. You need to strip Kerry Healey of the one issue that could do you real harm. Pull the rug out from under her. Tell voters that while you won’t lower taxes, you also won’t raise them. Politics is the art of the possible. If you don’t win in November, you can’t steer Massachusetts to a more humane and promising future. Make the pledge.

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