Commentary: Republican playbook is old and predictable

Kerry Healey and the Republican fear machine are at it again, and I cannot say I am surprised. From the party that told the world about Willie Horton and John Kerr’s swift boat comes more negative politics-as-usual. It is the type of politics that has driven Massachusetts from a national model to a state that deserves its slipping population. For 20 years, the politics of fear have won Republicans the Massachusetts governorship, but the voters are finally taking a stand.

Healey, from the beginning of her candidacy, has made it clear that she will be no different from the Republican candidates she succeeded. On the night of the primary election, Healey laid out her gameplan to paint a frightening picture of Deval Patrick on taxes and crime.

Few issues are as ripe for pandering as income tax, and Healey has done just that. She is trying to scare voters into believing Deval Patrick’s administration would mean a horrible tax burden on Massachusetts residents, but it is a shell game and we are not falling for it. The Romney-Healey administration proposed $985 million in new fees and taxes, and both sides know an income tax cut would just mean higher property taxes.

We do not need lower taxes in this state, we need smarter ones, and this year voters will not be duped.

On crime, Healey has overseen a spike of violent offenses statewide as cities and towns struggle to pay for police officers with dwindling state aid, yet she has the gall to say Patrick is soft on crime. Her latest ad aligns Patrick with cop killers and asks if we really want a defense attorney as our governor. After a summer of near-daily murders on the streets of Roxbury and Dorchester, voters really want a governor who understands the complexities of crime prevention, not one who seeks to scare voters first and look for solutions second.

The problems we face in Massachusetts are real and they are growing.

Deval Patrick knows voters are demanding a real discussion of the issues. If Kerry Healey can reduce crime, improve our schools and fix our crumbling infrastructure, then by all means we should vote for her. But if all Healey can offer is more of the same old scare tactics, then the choice is clear. I choose the politics of honesty, collaboration and meaningful change. I choose Deval Patrick.

– Jonathan J. Kent is a junior political science major and vice president of the Northeastern University College Democrats.

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