Patrick’s First Five Months

Boston Magazine Illustration by Andrea Ventura

I have a piece in Boston Magazine on Deval Patrick’s unimpressive start. The first months were dominated by tension between Patrick’s “outsider” appeal to the grassroots and the “insider” imperative to get things done. With the hiring of Doug Rubin, Patrick has largely righted himself. But it’s still worth thinking about how extraordinarily weakly Patrick got out of the box.

Part of the problem was the governor’s failure to have people with Beacon Hill experience around him when he started. To my mind, it’s important for elected officials to start their terms with energy and vigor. Here’s what Paul Cellucci, the lieutenant governor to outsider William Weld, told me about his role as a seasoned Beacon Hill hand in that administration in an anecdote not included in the piece. He recalls a morning staff meeting following the death of Grateful Dead founder, Jerry Garcia, in whose honor wanted to lower the flags to half-staff. “I said ‘Governor, you cannot lower the flags to half-staff because Jerry Garcia passed away,” remembers Cellucci. The lesson is the old, established ways, can keep a pol out of hot water.

BlueMassGroup, which is mentioned in the piece, calls it “curious”. I do agree with their point that the grassroots extends far beyond their influential site.

Also, the striking Patrick illustration was done by a talented artist named Andrea Ventura.


One Response to “Patrick’s First Five Months”

  1. goldsteingonewild Says:

    SG, you describe a BMG “debate whether hiring such a career operative represented a devolution into politics as usual on Patrick’s part.”

    Maybe I missed it.

    I do recall a short debate — 5 comments — about the notion that the LACK of such debate on BMG was a BMG double-standard (ie, Patrick gets to hire “operatives”; if other pols do it, they get criticized by BMGers). Here’s the link to that discussion.

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