One thing became clear from last night's debate: Tim Cahill is ready to play the class card, and play it hard. This is exactly what I was suggesting for him in my pre-debate "empathy" post, so it got me thinking how, exactly, Cahill can (potentially, maybe, possibly) change the race with this theme -- how to open up an "empathy" gap by arguing that Patrick and Baker, by virtue of their wealth and status, don't understand what people are going through, and are thus unlikely to do anything to help. (I'm not saying it's true, I'm doing political analysis here.) The key, I think, is to avoid seeming angry and bitter -- the feel should be generally upbeat. But it should make the case clearly, without pulling punches.
So, I've taken the liberty of writing a TV ad to show how it might be done. Here it is, let me know what you think:
[Open on: Street in front of Deval Patrick's house in Milton; TIM CAHILL walks toward camera as he speaks.]
TC: One candidate for governor lives here... when he can't get home to his bigger house.
[Cut to: In front of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care headquarters in Wellesley; TC walks toward camera as he speaks.]
TC: The other candidate made almost two million dollars a year working here... and that was after the recession hit.
[Cut to: Shop-lined sidewalk of Hancock Street, Quincy. TC walks slowly toward camera as he speaks, while in upper right of screen the following appear in succession: "City Councilor" "Small Business Owner" "County Treasurer" "State Treasurer."]
TC: This is where I grew up, and where I still live. And here, the recession isn't just numbers in the newspapers. [Gestures to professional-looking woman coming out of shop.] It's Mary getting her hours cut in half. [Gestures to man in pickup truck with construction gear in back.] It's Jim going four months without a job. As governor, I'll wake up every morning here, knowing why I need to tighten the state's belt, and get the economy moving. [Stops in front of camera.] I'm Tim Cahill, and I approve this message -- because I'm not a man of privilege. [shrugs] I'm a guy from Quincy.