Archive for the ‘Deval Patrick’ Category

Obama at the Boston Seaport

February 5, 2008

Thousands of Barack Obama supporters have convened at Boston’s World Trade Center. The crowd is buzzing with energy. So far Senator Kerry (sort of) and Governor Patrick (definitely) have delivered rousing speeches. Patrick alluded to — but did not mention — the Clintons.

“Do you remember South Carolina?” Mr. Patrick asked a crowd estimated at 10,000 in Boston late last night.“It got as nasty and mean as a campaign could be, but the voters of South Carolina rejected negativity and so will we,” he said in the moments before Mr. Obama held his final event prior to Super Tuesday.

“A whole lot of us have had enough with the clever side of politics.”He also specifically likened his election as governor to Obama.”Eighteen months ago I asked for your hopes, your prayer and your help in my own run for governorand you responded and made history,” Patrick said. “I am asking now for your prayers, your help and your vote in putting Barack Obama in the White House.” He also called Obama “a once a generation leader.”

I’d note, not surprisingly, that Kerry has spoken longer than Patrick with less effect.

Obama and Deval

January 15, 2008

Governor PatrickYou can’t live in Massachusetts and not be aware of the similarities between the candidacies of Barack Obama and Deval Patrick, who will campaign in South Carolina for Obama this weekend. To me, Patrick’s first year in office foreshadows the good and the bad of what an Obama presidency would like like: It would likely be filled with stirring speeches but missteps, bold initiatives but embarrassing mistakes, and a certain amount of naivete. Most of all, the beauty of the dream of hope, would be replaced by the grinding, sometimes banal reality of dealing with Congress and running administrative agencies and departments.”  Read more here.

BTW, for Chris Matthews and anybody else who suggests the reason Hillary Clinton beat Obama in New Hampshire was Boston-inspired racism, Patrick, who won office by more than twenty points, reinforces the notion that those days are over.

Also, Charlie Pierce’s Globe piece is a good reminder that candidates who run on change have to play an inside game eventually.

Giuliani Enters Spitzer-Bruno Fray

July 31, 2007

I am up in New Hampshire covering Rudolph Giuliani. There has been lots of news today. Of most interest to my New York readers is this news. The big story of out New York are the continued shockwaves surrounding the disclosure that the office of Governor Eiliot Spitzer may have improperly used the State Police to obtain information about the Republican Senate leader, Joseph Bruno. Today, Giuliani told me he supported a probe of the matter with subpoena power.

The broader issue for my local readers is how far Spitzer, who came out of the box like gangbusters, has fallen, in contrast to Deval Patrick, who started poorly and since then has come on strong. Part of that’s a testament to Patrick’s personnel changes, such as bringing in Joe Landolfi and Doug Rubin. But it also demonstrates how self-confident administration’s can bring problems on themselves.

Also of interest is Giuliani’s day of campaigning in the (tourist rich, voter poor) Lake Region. I’ll post on that first thing in the morning.

Patrick’s First Five Months

May 31, 2007

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.

Patrick’s Problems

March 11, 2007

I am quoted in a Boston Herald story about Governor Patrick’s press team.

Quote Gate

March 1, 2007 has offered a pizza from John’s Bakery in Roslindale to the individual who can guess the “State House veteran” who gave Adrian Walker the following quote about Deval Patrick and the Democratic House: “I would expect it will go through the same scrutiny and review and pushing and pulling as any Republican governor’s budget.”

Here are some guesses:

Jon Keller, “Finneran”.

Dan Kennedy, “Of course, you are right.”

Adam Reily, “Great call on the syntax. Gotta be the ex-speaker for life.”

The Fabulous Dana, “Hilarious. Correct the word ‘supposed’. ” Since corrected.

Right now the leading candidate is, ironically, on the far left. Finneran and Deval Patrick

New theory from Ernie Boch III. It’s a smart one, I think. He suggests Senate President Travaglini has taken on Finneran’s persona. “Finneran would not have said that anonymously. No need to. This sounds like the new and improved Trav. The cerebral Trav. The soft spoken trav.”

Patrick’s Budget

March 1, 2007

Governor Patrick’s appearance before the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce received less attention than I expected. I suppose it was too early in a news day with several news cycles. Joan Vennochi captured the scene in her Boston Globe column. “Patrick delivered virtually the same budget speech yesterday morning to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. By the end, it was clear this crowd is not on board his budget train. Some 800 movers and shakers welcomed Patrick with a standing ovation. But once he uttered the words ‘closing tax loopholes,’ the packed ballroom at the Park Plaza Hotel got quiet and stayed that way.” She thinks Patrick has to do more to get his agenda passed.

Even more critical is Virginia Buckingham of The Boston Herald. She leads with Patrick’s “Nobody I know is here” quip.

Adrian Walker, who calls the speech “a rehash of the one he gave on statewide television the night before”, gets a post-speech interview with the governor.

BONUS QUESTION: A free pizza from John’s Bakery in Roslindale Square goes to the reader who can guess who gave Walker the following quote from a “State House veteran”: “I would expect it will go through the same scrutiny and review and pushing and pulling as any Republican governor’s budget.”

I know you’re not supposed to be in the business of guessing who’s giving blind quotes to reporters but this one, to me, is glaring. Somehow the usage of three – four synonymous verbs separated by “and” seems awfully familiar. Who could it be? Could it be a voice that comes to me in the my first moments of being awake…

Patrick at the Park Plaza

February 28, 2007

Governor Patrick

Governor Deval Patrick brought his budget stump speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce at the Park Plaza this morning. The Chamber event took up the entire Imperial Ballroom. The business community was clearly interested in what the new governor had to say to them in his first formal appearance before the group as governor. More than 800 people were in attendance.

On the substance, much of what Patrick had to say was very interesting. His idea of increasing local aid and allowing local cities in towns to gain the local option is well overdue. Massachusetts’ tax structure is hopelessly outdated. I’ve already written how this is a holdover from the days when the Yankee suburbs feared Irish Boston. Patrick’s notion of “centers of excellence” also intrigued me. My guess here is that he’s trying to translate the old economic model that worked well for Massachusetts — local cities with their own special industries, such as the shoes of Peabody and textiles of Lowell — for the 21st Century. Lowell, he suggested, “could be built around nanotechnology”. The South Coast, formerly the seat of the whaling industry, could become an international center of “marine science.” This kindof thinking demonstrates creativity.

Patrick also stood by his plan to close tax loopholes for corporations. Press Secretary Kyle Sullivan made sure the press had a hand out comparing Massachusetts to other states. Here is its most effective line: “Of the seven corporate loopholes Governor Patrick proposed to close, two of them — so called ‘check the box’ and combined reporting — make up 80% of the expected revenue that would be collected from these changes in FY 08. Elsewhere, it stated, that the Commonwealth is one of only five states that use this costly “check the box” kind of reporting.

Much of the speech, however, did not go well. It’s axiomatic that the leading business group in town is going to bristle at the idea of paying more taxes, so the group is not necessarily a friendly crowd. Having said that, this talented executive could have performed much better.

First, he delivered largely the same speech, with the same phrasing and wording, as he gave last night. For a room filled with political insiders and lobbyists, this was a non-starter. These people are hungry for new information. If the governor gives these people what their bosses could see on television the night before, it diminishes the value of the attendees. Worse, its a sign that the pressure of doing so much at once is affecting the governor. As skilled as he is, he can’t carry all the weight — especially at a high profile venue like the Chamber. A stump speech is great for all the different regional media hits Patrick will do in promoting his budget. But the Chamber requires something more.

There’s also the media piece. From my vantage point at the press table in the back, I could see Boston Globe columnists Scot Lehigh, Joan Vennochi, and Adrian Walker as well Rochelle Cohen and Virginia Buckingham of The Boston Herald. If you’ve got this impressive crew all gathered together this early in the morning, my opinion is you’ve got to give them something new to work with. Or else, there’s going to be trouble.

Patrick used the old trick of invoking the names of attendees to win over the crowd. This is something that Mayor Menino does expertly in his speeches. Unfortunately, only one of the people Patrick mentioned, Bob Culver, was present. The others — Chris Gabrieli, his erstwhile opponent, and Bill Gunthers — were not. Patrick saved it at the end by quipping “nobody I know is here.”

Finally, a nugget surfaced that could be very damaging for the prior governor, Mitt Romney. A questioner rose to ask Patrick, who had promised to speed up permitting, why he should be believed. “I believed your predecessor when he said the very same thing,” the questioner stated. To me, this is Romney’s great Achilles heel. Four years after Mitt Romney came into office promising to be a c.e.o. who could bring jobs to Massachusetts, the new governor is trying to do exactly the same thing. In fact, after four years of Romney, Massachusetts is in worse shape than it was four years ago.

Patrick’s got a tough road to head. But if he can find the tenacity to stick with it, he’ll perform far better than his predecessor.