Lynch Has More to Work With in the Message Department than We've Heard So Far

Monday, April 22, 2013

I’m not one to make this kind of judgment, but I guess it’s true that Ed Markey didn’t have the stuff to be an ironworker. 
Some of the hardhats who support Steve Lynch, Markey’s opponent in the April 30 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, like to point that out all the time.
According to the Boston Globe, one union official actually “guffawed” when asked if ironworker is a job where you’d find Ed Markey.
If Eddie wouldn’t have made it “up on the iron,” so what?
I doubt that any number of superb senators in U.S. history would have.  Can you imagine Lyndon Johnson, Mike Mansfield, Bob Dole or Ted Kennedy bolting beams together up in the sky?

Full disclosure: I don't have the stuff to watch a video shot from the observation deck at the top of the Empire State Building.
If Lynch asked for my advice, which he has no reason to do, I’d tell him to lay off the I’m-special-because-my-collar-was-blue stuff. 
Does he deserve credit and respect for having earned a living for 18 years with his hands in a dangerous trade?  Absolutely.
But does he merit special consideration for senator simply because he emerged from the working class?  Countless Americans, including Ed Markey, have done that.
It seems to me that the Lynch campaign has gone into battle with a message at least several degrees off point.
The congressman from South Boston would be better off talking more about how he went to school at night for eight long years in order to earn a bachelor’s degree at the Wentworth Institute of Technology. That tells you he has extraordinary perseverance when in the pursuit of a worthwhile goal.
He should be talking more about how, once he had an undergraduate degree, he immediately set his sights on something higher and more difficult -- to become a lawyer -- and how he graduated from Boston College Law School, one of the finest law schools in the northeast, in 1991, at the not-so-tender age of 36. That shows you his drive for improvement is relentless.
He should also be talking about how he donated more than half of his liver to his brother-in-law 12 years ago. This is evidence of an uncommon level of selflessness: a willingness to suffer great pain and discomfort for someone he cares about.  (With Lynch, it’s not always about his ego.)  Of course, Lynch himself can’t be talking about his organ donation.  That’s what you have campaign surrogates for.  (Hello, Mr. Brother-in-Law!)
And Lynch should be conveying word pictures of the physical courage required to walk a narrow beam 30 stories above ground.  Few mortals have that kind of guts.  Of course, he himself can’t be talking about his courageousness.  That would be unseemly.  But his pals who walked the iron with him can.  In advertising, they call the folks who tell those stories testifiers.
Rather than belittling Ed Markey, Lynch’s former co-workers should be soberly recounting stories on camera about Lynch’s cool, on-the-job courage, as he exhibited it, day after day, year after year.
Can’t you hear it?
“Every day on the iron, I trusted my life to Steve Lynch.  It was the safest bet I ever made.  That’s the kind of person we need in the United States Senate: Steve Lynch. Pure courage.”

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