Something that’s stuck in my craw for the past two months has been the letter that I and literally thousands of other people in Newton received from Marilyn Devaney’s campaign just a few days before the September Democratic Primary. The letter was purportedly signed by 6 of the 8 members of the Governor’s Council and it accused Devaney’s opponent Charlie Shapiro of making “slanderous,” “bizarre” and “untrue” attacks on Devaney. Shapiro came back and in my opinion effectively countered most of what was in that letter. But that’s almost beside the point. Political campaigns can turn negative and nasty as we all well know.
But that’s when truly “bizarre” and disturbing things started to happen. A lot of us thought there was something fishy about the letter itself. It seemed too personal and focused an attack on a single opponent to have been signed by so many of the Councillors. Jim Morrison at the Tab apparently felt the same way. He started calling or emailing the 6 Councillors who the Devaney campaign claims signed this letter. One stated that she had not signed the letter. Others weren’t sure and still others never returned Jim’s inquiry. Only one “thought” it might have been what he signed. A few days, back I emailed Jim at his Tab office to see if he had any updated information on the letter and the signatures. He assured me he was still working on it and with very colorful language stated there would be something more on this whole affair before the election.
Jim Morrison and the Tab’s editorial staff were the only news sources that reported on this sordid affair and the only ones that have tried to follow up on it. The Globe, radio and TV news media never touched it. Jim and the Tab deserve a lot of thanks for trying to keep this issue alive. I’ve never encountered anything like this where so many public officials can’t remember whether or not they signed and endorsed an attack on a political candidate. This is a horrible testament to those members of the Governor’s Council who can’t seem to remember and to so much of the media which seems indifferent to this disturbing incident. The final straw has been Deveney’s failure to debate Tom Sheff who has been running a spirited and informative campaign as an independent. She claims she doesn’t have time to air this and other issues, but every Democratic candidate worth their salt from Barney Frank and Joe Kennedy to Setti Warren and Elizabeth Warren have always been ready and eager to duke it out verbally with any opponent. We will be going to the polls without fully understanding what happened, or who said what to who.
I have been a loyal Democrat since I stood in front of the Hyde School with a sign for FDR in the 1944 Presidential race. In 1960, John F. Kennedy brilliantly summed up my current feeling when he said that “sometimes party loyalty just demands too much.” I just cannot support or vote for Marilyn Devaney. I know I take a pledge not to support or endorse a non Democratic candidate each time I’m elected to the Newton Democratic City Committee so I won’t go that route. But there are times when party loyalty does indeed demand too much and this is one such time.