Swift takes a beating even out of the race
Sunday, September 29, 2002
Acting Governor Jane Swift can't win in this election - and she isn't even
running. To be sure, she is keeping a stiff upper lip, refusing to show any
signs that she is hurting from Mitt Romney's use of her as a foil as he pledges
to clean up the ''mess on Beacon Hill.'' It's an unusual move by Romney,
designed in part to blunt attempts by Shannon O'Brien to link
him to the 12-year GOP reign in the governor's office.
''Her spirits are outstanding,'' said one Swift aide. But those close to her say
she is also privately ''fuming'' over how Romney is targeting her to stake out
the reform ground.
Don't expect Swift to react publicly, no matter how tough it gets. Still, behind
the scenes, Swift could make things difficult for Romney. Example: Women
surrogates close to the acting governor could scold the GOP candidate for
singling her out - a gender issue flare-up he doesn't need.
Romney's bilingual education stance could be risky
At first blush, it seemed Romney made a smart political move by embracing the
ballot question to scrap the state's bilingual education program and replace it
with a one-year English-immersion plan. Polls show the initiative has strong
support. But it could also come back to haunt Romney, who is trying to craft an
image as a moderate. Opponents, including civil rights groups and prominent
business and political figures, are planning to try to define the debate in
terms of tolerance versus anti-immigrant agenda.
The California businessman who is funding the initiative, Ron Unz, won't help
Romney's case. The conservative Unz shows little ability to curb his tart,
sometimes racially insensitive, rhetoric. Even the Bush White House, which is
opposed to Unz's national campaign to blow up bilingual education, took umbrage
at his jab at US Secretary of Education Rod Paige, the black Cabinet member who
has defended the president's position. Unz said Paige got the job because of his
On treasury scandal, Malone shows no shame
Most politicians who allowed cronies to pull off the biggest theft in state
history - $9 million - would want to slip away into the night. But not former
state treasurer Joe Malone. He was on WRKO radio last week, debating Shannon's
O'Brien campaign manager. When the issue of the scandal that marred his tenure
came up, Malone lashed out at Attorney General Thomas Reilly, the person who
uncovered the theft and put some of Malone's pals behind bars. ''That was the
most partisan, one-sided thing; you know what went on there,'' Malone said. He
went on to trash the Ethics Commission as ''another phony organization.''