Endorsing the Candidates
The Hiller Instinct: Endorsing the Candidates
Before Shannon O'Brien's supporters get too excited about Bill Clinton endorsing her today, please remember that during the democratic primary, he endorsed Steve Grossman in true Clintonian style:
Bill Clinton, Former President, March 13
"Whoever the Massachusetts democrats pick, it's fine with me and I'll support him, but Steve Grossman's my friend. This is about friendship."
And hold on, Mitt Romney fans. It's not news today that former President Bush supports him... Because it was news last month, when Bush endorsed Romney on a golf course in Maine:
Former President Bush
"We gathered you all here for a great guy and a great cause."
President George W. Bush, Last Friday
"I strongly stand with Mitt Romney because I believe he is the best person for the job of governor of Massachusetts."
Al Gore, Former Vice-president, October 4
"It is my great honor to introduce to you the next governor of Massachusetts, Shannon O'Brien. (cheers)"
Massachusetts has watched the nation's best known politicians pick sides in this race. But the truth is, what most of these political celebrity endorsements mean most is money. When the president comes, the state GOP collects more than a million dollars. And former President Clinton may be worth as much to the democrats.
Bob McCarthy, pres., Professional Firefighters of MA, Yesterday
"Shannon, I want to thank you for your lifetime support of all working people, but especially public safety, especially firefighters."
Endorsements can also help candidates reinforce key messages. So O'Brien surrounds herself with firefighters and nurses, while Romney surrounds himself with business leaders to help prove he's the best candidate to fix the state's economy.
Dorothy Kelly Gay, Somerville Mayor, July 12
"Shannon O'Brien's leadership at the lottery has been a critical asset to Somerville as we struggle to make ends meet."
Perhaps the most potent endorsements come from local politicians, because they can mean campaign workers and organizers. But, generally, voters just say no to endorsements:
"I don't care what somebody else says."
"I base my decision based on the issues, not on who's supporting the other candidate."
"I decide for myself."
I agree with a pollster who said, "political cemeteries are filled with the remains of those who ran with lots of endorsements." Endorsements can make a difference, but I don't think they make the difference. Would you endorse that?