Healey could use a Dukakis-style Celts photo op

Seeking to revive her administration — and her spirits — Gov. Maura Healey ought to celebrate the Boston Celtics.

After all, the Massachusetts team just won the Eastern Conference of the NBA with a four-game sweep of the Indiana Pacers, and will be in the finals beginning next week and win it all.

A Celtics championship victory would be a needed boost to a public that is taking the brunt of many bad government decisions, beginning with Joe Biden wrecking the economy, to flooding the country with millions of illegal immigrants, none of whom likely play basketball.

Given the miserable performance of the Tom Brady-less New England Patriots, the Boston Bruins choking, and the wearisome Boston Red Sox losing, the Celtics have suddenly become the crown jewel of Boston sports.

In addition, Healey is a former basketball star at Harvard as well as a former professional basketball point guard, having played for two years for UBBC Wustenrot Salzburg in Austria. No double dribbler she.

And Healey did at one time have some of her hair shaved when she participated in the Celtics’ 11th annual Saving by Shaving event which raises money for pediatric cancer research and treatment.

So, the time has come for Healey to hoist the Celtics flag up the State House flagpole, hold a Duck boat parade and then welcome the Celtics to the governor’s office before Boston Mayor Michelle Wu beats her to the punch.

In the meantime, Healey should take a page out of former Gov. Michael Dukakis political photo album that was compiled when he ran for president in 1988.

No, I do not mean the cringeworthy photo of the Duke riding atop a Sherman M1 battle tank grinning in an oversized helmet. The tank ride was supposed to make Dukakis look strong on defense.

It backfired, and became one of several defining, and negative, moments in the 1988 presidential election which George H.W. Bush won.

It was unfair, of course, but almost everything in politics these days is unfair. Dukakis, painted by the GOP as anti-military, did serve for two years in the U.S. Army in Korea toward the end of the Korean War.

The photo I have in mind for Healey to replicate, though, is the one of Dukakis posing with the Celtics when both the team and the Duke were riding high.

Had it been distributed enough in the 1988 campaign it could have taken some of the heat off the tank photo.  It would have least drawn a chuckle or two.

First taken in 1986 for posters in an anti-drug use program, the photo, or photos, were reintroduced in 1988 when the Celtics made it to the Eastern Conference finals and Dukakis was running for president.

It shows a height-challenged Dukakis (5 feet, 6 inches) dressed in Celtics’ gear standing on a folding chair with a basketball in his hand. On the chair Dukakis reaches the height of the players.

At his back are “The Big Three” — Robert Parish (7 feet), Kevin McHale (6 feet, 10 inches) and Larry Bird (6 feet, 9 inches).

Whether you liked Dukakis or not, the photo drew smiles, which is something missing during these depressing times.

Now, Maura Healey is no Mike Dukakis. (Who among us is?) But Dukakis was athlete enough to run and finish the Boston Marathon at age 17.

My proposal is that Healey, even standing at only 5 feet, 4 inches, pose for a folding chair photo with the Boston Celtics the way Dukakis did.

And while Bird, Parish and McHale are long gone, the Celtics do have Jayson Tatum, Derrick White, Jaylen Brown and others.

It may not be as important as dealing with the invasion of illegal immigrants, or the high cost of food, but like spinning a basketball on one finger, it will at least draw a smile.

Peter Lucas is a veteran political reporter. Email him at: peter.lucas@bostonherald.com


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