Obama and Patrick

Barack Obama’s appearance in Boston last night with Governor Patrick prompted me to write about how the governor’s performance might foretell an Obama presidency.

“In Massachusetts, where his friend and political ally Deval Patrick won the top office by campaigning in an eerily similar fashion to Senator Obama, voters have a Petri dish to examine what the Democratic candidate’s presidency might be like should he win in November.

Comparisons between the two men are in order once again. Mr. Obama celebrated his 47th birthday in Boston last night at a $4 million fundraiser with Governor Patrick at his side.

Like Mr. Obama’s campaign, Mr. Patrick’s was heavy on sweeping rhetoric and increased expectations. Advised by, among others, David Axelrod, who is also Mr. Obama’s chief strategist, Mr. Patrick offered state voters the prospect of great change.

In the first months of his governorship, Mr. Patrick weathered his worst political problems. After several months, he stabilized his position by bringing in an experienced team of staffers. Yet the extraordinary promise his campaign once offered has given way to ordinary political wrangling. For example, to help pay for his ideas, Mr. Patrick turned to backing the introduction of legalized casino gambling in Massachusetts. When it looked like the legislature would defeat the gambling effort — which it did — Mr. Patrick quietly headed out of state and scored a book deal in New York.”

I also point out some of the governor’s strengths:

“Since taking office Mr. Patrick has been a vocal proponent of Massachusetts becoming a national and international center of biotech research. He pushed for the passage of a $1 billion life sciences initiative and was named “Governor of the Year” by the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

His courageous decision to campaign on behalf of a controversial wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod, Cape Wind (even when it was opposed by Senator Kennedy), has looked better with energy costs spiraling upward.

Mr. Patrick believes he can grow jobs in Massachusetts by making the state a haven for clean jobs. The governor signed his Clean Energy Bill last month, which, among other provisions, ties utility contracts to the funding of local clean energy companies.”

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