Say, those Emmy Awards last week were something else, eh? Nothing we like better than a television industry kissathon where Will and Grace steals yet another statuette from four more-deserving nominees. Unless it’s an awards show of our own, that is. So “Spin Cycle” proudly introduces the First Annual Spotty Awards™, which recognize the height of something or other in local-campaign spots.
Of course, given these parlous economic times and the escalating production costs involved in staging the Spottys, we’ve had to solicit sponsorships for each of the categories. Hey, that’s the way the world works these days.
Now, without further ado, we present the Down-Ballot Division of the Spotty Awards. (The Gubernatorial Division awards will be announced as soon as we can find more suckers — er, sponsors.)
The George W. Bush "Got Any Documentation For That Claim?” Award
A tie between Larry Frisoli, Republican candidate for attorney general, and perennial Grand Old Piñata Jack E. Robinson, this time running for the Ninth District congressional seat.
Frisoli is airing a radio spot that accuses his Democratic opponent, Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley, of being soft on sexual predators.
“It took Coakley 18 months to indict a man accused of raping his step-daughter because he was a big-time corporate vice-president,” a female narrator says. “After two police officers were suspended for allegedly raping a college student, Martha Coakley refused to bring criminal charges. With Coakley as DA, Middlesex County has become a safer place . . . for predators.”
You just know there’s more to those stories than Frisoli is saying. Beyond that, Frisoli told the Patriot Ledger back in April that Coakley is too much of a career prosecutor; Frisoli is running “because he wants to focus the attorney general’s office more on consumer issues such as auto insurance.” Sounds like under Frisoli, Massachusetts would become a safer place . . . for predators who don’t commit moving violations.
As for Robinson, he’s also on the radio, attacking Democratic incumbent Stephen Lynch. Robinson’s spot says Lynch has received over half a million dollars in contributions from Big Dig contractors, after which the narrator adds, “some even say he’s the linchpin to the problems that plague the Big Dig.”
Some say? Like who? Aside from Jack E., we mean?
The Tim Cahill "Say It With Kids” Award
Four years ago, Democratic candidate for secretary of the treasury Tim Cahill ran television ads with his daughter Kendra urging everyone to vote “Tim for Treasurer.” He won, so this year Democratic lieutenant-governor candidate Tim Murray upped the ante by featuring a gaggle of school kids chanting “Hurry, Hurry, Vote for Murray!” in one of his TV spots.
Geez, whatever happened to the child-labor laws in this state?
The Lou Gehrig "Luckiest Candidate on the Face of the Earth” Award
That would be State Senator Dianne Wilkerson (D-1040 Short Form), who has in the course of her star-crossed career run afoul of 1) multiple IRS regulations, 2) several Massachusetts campaign-finance laws, and 3) the minimal requirement that she collect 300 signatures to get on the ballot this year. So now Wilkerson not only carries more baggage than a Red Cap, she also has to run a sticker campaign in the Second Suffolk Senate District race.
But here’s the luckiest-candidate part:
Both of her opponents are named Diaz.
Tell me they won’t split the Diaz vote.
Republican Samiyah Diaz, as it happens, is herself running — wait for it — a sticker campaign, but she actually has an ad on local cable TV. The spot has all the production values of a high-school project, alternating footage of padlocked, boarded-up properties with the iron-barred windows of residential buildings. A narrator says, “Crime: It makes people live behind bars in Boston.”
Maybe that’s why no one can get any signatures in the Second Suffolk.
The MTV “Pimp My Résumé” Award
This one goes to Deb (“Don’t Call Me Deborah”) Goldberg, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. Goldberg’s first TV spot has a narrator saying, “Deb Goldberg: as chair of Brookline’s selectmen, she increased firefighters when most towns cut them.”
Well . . . not so much. As former Brookline TAB columnist Jim Conley noted in his blog onbrookline.com, what the town actually did was replace nine firefighters who had retired.
Possible bumper sticker: DEB GOLDBERG. TREADING WATER WITHOUT RAISING MWRA RATES.
We’ll leave you with this sneak preview of the Gubernatorial Spottys, which will appear in this space sometime before Election Day.
The Felix Unger "When You Assume, You Make an Ass of You and Me” Award
Last week the Boston Globe reported on the Democratic gubernatorial slapfight over the state income tax, which Deval Patrick wants to leave at 5.3 percent, Tom Reilly wants to cut to 5 percent, and Chris Gabrieli proposes in a new ad to reduce by “devoting 40 percent of any revenue increase to a tax cut.”
Gabrieli’s ad, according to the Globe story, omits one important detail: his plan would devote 40 percent of state-revenue growth above inflation to a tax cut.
A Gabrieli spokesman told the Globe, “most people watching the ad would assume that.”
Sure they would, if by “most people” you mean “Alan Greenspan.” Anyone seen that Steven Wright “Straight Face” Award lying around here?
John Carroll is a mass-communication professor at Boston University and a correspondent for WGBH-TV’s “Beat the Press” edition of Greater Boston. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the Web
Samiyah Diaz: //www.samiyah4senate.com/
Larry Frisoli: www.larryfrisoli.com
Jack E. Robinson: //www.jackforcongress.com/
Tim Murray: //www.timmurray.org
Deborah Goldberg: //www.deborahgoldberg.com/
On Brookline: //www.onbrookline.org/
Chris Gabrieli: //www.gabrieli.org/