God Knows Why, but People Apparently Give More Credence to Married Candidates

Friday, November 1, 2013

It has been said that the television camera is a kind of character x-ray.   Candidates submit to unscripted video at their peril!

If you’re a fake or a lightweight, you will reveal yourself on camera no matter how hard and skillfully you dissemble. Most people who see you on the tube will become a little uneasy and will form a negative opinion of you, if only at the subconscious level.

I subscribe to this theory, which is why I was not surprised to see Marty Walsh do well in a recent online video of a conversation with Boston Globe columnist Larry Harmon at a Jamaican restaurant in Dorchester, Lorenz Island Cuisine.  He's the opposite of fake. You can watch it by clicking on:

Rep. Walsh is locked in a tight race for Mayor of Boston with City Councilor John Connolly.  The best pollsters are going sleepless, trying to figure out who’ll win, with less than a week to the election.

In the “My Dinner with Larry” interview, Harmon cites data indicating that Walsh “polls much better among men than women,” and asks Walsh why.

Walsh, 46, says he cannot give a good answer and is trying to even out the popularity disparity.  He speculates that not being married, and not having any children, may have something to do with it.  He adds that he loves and cares very much for his girlfriend of eight years, Lorrie Higgins, and her daughter.

“Would it kill you to marry her?” Harmon asks.

No, it wouldn’t, Walsh says, but if he’d asked Lorrie to marry him at any point in the last half year or so, she might have thought he was asking just to bolster his appeal as a mayoral candidate, and he would never want her to have a doubt like that.

One would think that a male or female candidate, in the second decade of the 21st Century, in a society devoted to personal freedom and personal expression, would not have to give a second thought to his/her marital status.

One might even think that Walsh could present his bachelor status as a positive thing, as a sign, for example, of the serious approach he takes to holy matrimony.  But he’s probably wise to play it affably low key and trust people to take him as he is. 

Wrongly, I think, people tend to view married people more favorably, at least people they don’t really know.

For an hilarious take on this phenomenon, consider the scene in the 2006, Boston-based movie “The Departed,” where George Ellerby, the character played by Alec Baldwin, congratulates Colin Sullivan, the character played by Matt Damon, on his pending marriage because “marriage is an important part of getting ahead.  For anyone who loves the way Baldwin can deliver an outrageous line, it’s an exquisite 30 seconds of film.  You can find it on YouTube at:

WALSH FRONT-PAGE NEWS IN BIG APPLE: The New York Times ran an excellent story this week on Marty Walsh’s recovery, now in its 18th year, from alcoholism; on how he has helped other alcoholics stop drinking; and on how so many of the people he’s helped are now working hard to get him elected mayor, (“In Recovery From Addiction, Backing Candidate With Past,” 10/30/13).  “…what is especially unusual about his (Walsh’s) story is how his candidacy has motivated others in the wide universe of recovery to shed their anonymity to support him,” the article notes. “Former alcoholics and drug addicts are not typical voting blocs.  Most do not want to be identified.  Because of privacy issues, they are hard to recruit…But those who have stepped forward for Mr. Walsh bring an evangelical fervor to their mission.  It is the least they can do, some say, for a man who saved their lives.”  The article may be found at:

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