Money Can’t Buy You Love After a Nasty Howie Carr Scorched-Earth Campaign

Election Night, 11:54 P.M.

by Lonnie Brennan

We all love long-term talk show radio host Howie Carr, but not as much as we did before he pulled out a sledge hammer to try to drive in a tack. More specifically, when he pulled out all his tried and worn-well one-liners and political muscle to decimate, not just injure, but destroy his former friend and patriot Geoff Diehl.

We’re trying to decide: is Howie a sell-out,? Nah, it can’t be. Perhaps the jovial variety show host just skipped a beat? Misread the situation? Got some bad intell? Jumped a track? Skipped across the old Victrola so to speak? But more importantly, did he jump the shark?

Two quick lessons regarding Massachusetts politics: 1, money can’t buy you love, and 2, Howie Carr’s nasty back-stabbing worn-out recycled cliche lines were totally shocking when he turned this personal blow-torch of his against a long-time friend. Can you say knife-in-the-back? Can you say Howie left the cannole?

Let me briefly explain.

Chris Doughty came out of nowhere (or so the story was told, more on that in a bit). A seemingly unknown, outsider for Mass. politics. A bright shiny new face – and one that wanted to reach all the way up to the governor’s seat (using a step ladder?). And it looked good for Doughty. With his millions, he put folks on the Doughty support team and fueled his campaign with mega media purchases. We’re talking huge bucks, cutting $500K checks. Spending nearly $2.5 million against the candidate Howie Carr termed a coward and a loser.  Yes, Doughty spread money around like a high roller in a strip club. He outspent Diehl nearly 2.5 to 1.

But,  money: can’t buy you love. It can buy you a microphone and a few talking heads, but it can’t buy you love.

Love? Not in Doughty’s campaign. The more we got to know him, the less we liked him. Doughty’s campaign went evil and nasty, issuing multiple attacks against Geoff Diehl which were clearly meant to distort Diehl’s history (no mention of the gas tax campaign, no mention of four successful races for state rep, and no mention of the many people who helped collect signatures against illegal alien driver’s licenses who did so because Geoff Diehl asked them to do so). (Reminder, the MassGOP and other groups have failed repeatedly on many initiative petitions in which they did not have Diehl as the front man. Just stating the obvious: Diehl delivers. People deliver for Diehl.)

But what really did Doughty in?  Well, if the numbers hold, his $2.5 million bought him a lot of votes, but his nasty campaign backfired. In short, let me be the first to say that Howie Carr appears to have jumped the shark.

If you don’t know the reference, it’s the turning point phrase used to signify the decline of the Happy Days TV series when they did an episode so outrageous and out of character (having Fonzie jump a shark), that folks started to tune out the show. The show went from ‘real’ in folks imaginations to just stupid. Ditto for Howie. The dean of talk radio in Boston either let his ego or his pocketbook take over his reason, or perhaps he’s always been a self-centered, self-promoting bastard? I certainly don’t think so, I like the guy. Howie is a great guy. I have his books. He’s signed my books. I’ve interviewed him. I’ve been in his studio twice. He’s a great guy! He’s a genius with an incredible history and gifted memory, but, nasty, wow, Howie we never knew you I guess. Who knows. Let’s hope it’s an aberration only. Let’s hope he can un-ring the bell.

For many, listening to Howie unleash his entire arsenal of insults against his former friend and patriot, Geoff Diehl, was shocking. For Howie, hey, no love in politics. The political figure has repeatedly reminded folks of the dangers of politics and money. Apparently, a bit of self evaluation is in order.  Howie’s high-pitched rants and shouting down of dissenting views from shocked Diehl supporters was, well, shocking.

Not mentioning that a surprisingly large number of RINO Gov. Charlie Baker’s donors were sending money into Doughty’s campaign seemed an implausible miss for the longtime Carr journalist. This ain’t rocket science to do a simple lookup on the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) site. Howie’s done it before, but turned a blind eye, got lazy, gave a going-around, a pass to Doughty, or deliberately mislead his listeners with his stunningly surprising support of a pro-ROE act (birthday abortions), third-term-of-Baker clone.

Howie, we loved you, but the shark jump was a bit much when you just happened to line up seemingly all the candidates also represented by the same political consultant as Doughty, and let them take turns on your show and your sidekick’s show, beating Diehl with a nail in a big spoon.

So, in the end, sure Diehl did the hard work. Sure, Diehl was everywhere at everything. Sure, Diehl worked hard, but Howie and his guests Sheriff  Hodgson, Shauna O’Connell, and Doughty himself, lost the race for Doughty. They brought nastiness to a new level for Republicans in Mass.: they were snarky. They behaved like Democrats.

Heaven help Diehl moving forward. He certainly found out who his friends are (not).



11 Replies to “Money Can’t Buy You Love After a Nasty Howie Carr Scorched-Earth Campaign

  1. Good piece Lonnie. Like you, I’ve been a listener and reader of Howie’s going back a few decades now. Have a few of his books and even attended his book signings. But I started noticing things a little while back. Like all the Doughty ads on his show and not interviewing Diehl on his show like he used to. But this week, particularly his Monday and Tuesday shows, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It’s one thing to pick a candidate you prefer over another, but the vicious personal attacks on Diehl were over the top. I hope, like you, that Howie sees the error of his ways and changes his tune. It’s going to take all of us to beat Healey.

  2. The Globe is calling Healey and Campbell the Bay States new power people. It must be another landslide mandate. No metion though that the majority of Massachusetts cities and towns had under 15% voter turnout yesterday. The most ineffective state AG in the past 100 years or more. An inexperienced former Boston City Councilor with little legal experience. That’s what the Globe calls groundbreaking history. I guess the carpetbaggers forgot that Edward Brooke was elected here 60 years back. 60 years back voter turnout was rarely under 60%.

  3. Just one question for Howie, someone who I know and who has always been a friend of mine – someone with whom I have always shared mutual admiration and respect, with ……………….WHY HOWIE ?? WHY ??

  4. Polls are showing Maura Healey with a two-to-one advantage over Geoff Diehl. While I’d love it if Diehl beat her this November, it’s also important to be realistic. This is a long shot.

  5. The Herald too wrote that Healey cruised to victory. Landslides and cruising to victory are kind of easy when you are running unopposed. With regard to Howie Carr, I feel somewhat betrayed. Not because I’m such a huge Diehl fan, but because of the viciousness that he brought to the table to help impede Diehl and propel Doughty. Not sure if I put this aside. Carr used to be must listen to radio, now, not so much.

  6. Listened to Carr tonight to get his primary after take. Still pretty nasty. He was betting with his listeners that Diehl would not win the general election and maybe he won’t but it was bad form I thought. Got me to thinking that instead of being a poor sport, he should be helping to support Diehl and work to get him elected. This is how the Democrats win. They march lockstep behind their candidates now matter what. The GOP? Not so much.

  7. Howie evidently needed to make a boat payment. He’s been “taking a slide” more and more often since moving to Florida, leaving Taylor to hold the reigns… which to be honest, as talented as young Taylor is, makes for less than great radio. Howie is obviously getting ready to retire – I’ve seen this coming. Too bad Captain “Trashman” will be going out like a chump. I hope Doughty’s ki$$ was a big wet one Howie. Get out while you can Taylor and Grace! I’ve already moved on….. … Kuhner, Bongino & a few other no BS podcasts still provide MAGA patriots with reliable information.

  8. I think jumping the shark is a good way to put it. And this last act was exactly that. I have little interest in listening to Carr any longer and yesterday’s show convinced me. I stopped listening after he wanted to bet his third listener that Diehl would lose. I hope he enjoys his retirement. And I’m pretty sure Grace and Taylor will not carry the air waves after he’s gone.

Leave a Reply to Mike O'Brien Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *