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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Now comes the hard part

It was inspiring. It was emotional. In many, many ways it was unbelievable. Is this the same Massachusetts that has borne the scars of intolerance? Is this the same Massachusetts mocked by its soon-to-be-officially former governor.

Deval Patrick's words tonight were uplifting and send a signal he indeed plans to be different. And it's no mistake that he uttered words guaranteed to get the attention of legislative leaders -- mandate.

A victory margin on the range of 20 percent. Pulling more than 50 percent in a four-way race. Grabbing independent voters for the Democrats for the first time in 16 years. Patrick has changed the political face of Massachusetts.

House Speaker Sal DiMasi and Senate President Robert Travaglini (if he sticks around) are not fools. They read election results as well as any. They will give Patrick a wide berth -- but they will look for signs of weakness.

Patrick will not be a tool of liberal Democrats -- even if the lineup for jobs on Beacon Hill includes a lot of familiar faces. But this relationship is bound to be friendlier than the one that has existed for the 16 years. The Legislature will no longer be the prop, the whipping boy for Republican politicians looking for a base from which to launch their broader ambitions.

Deval Patrick has made history in Massachusetts. But winning was easy compared to the task of making the broken political dynamic that has seen us lose residents, jobs and pride.

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