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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, December 18, 2007

Give him an incomplete

The Herald is out with the first of the year-end interviews with Deval Patrick -- and the inevitable report card.

And while Patrick doesn't appear ready to close the books on 2007, a willingness to compromise on corporate tax revenue would appear to be an acknowledgment of one of the lessons he should have learned in his less-than-stellar start.

Swept into office on the strength of his positive rhetoric -- by voters tired of being a political pinata for their erstwhile governor -- Patrick had lots going for him. His failure to take ample advantage of it should make him happy he has three more years,

It wasn't the missteps like Drapegate and Caddygate so much as the failure to put together a solid team that was ready to go even before Mitt Romney walked down those steps. The pace of last November and December was too languid and invisible.

And it was bad staff work by that inexperienced team that caused his PR nightmares.

And there was a sense that by running on the concept of civic engagement -- and building a grassroots base -- Patrick didn't need to work with the Legislature to make things happen.

That, more than anything else, was the largest rookie mistake. That and failing to really engage and mobilize the grassroots base as way to let lawmakers know he brought considerable resources to the table.

Look at all of Patrick's signature proposals -- property tax relief, more police officers, job growth. Not the stuff of controversy. Yet one year later we are no further along, with House Speaker Sal DiMasi, not Patrick, setting the agenda and the tone of the debate.

And nothing exemplifies this state of affairs as well as the casino proposal. Like putting together his team, Patrick took too long, didn't do enough homework (on the potential revenues) and failed to consult and draw strength from his grassroots base to push it forward.

It's only today, 13 days before the end of the calendar year, that the Patrick team will make its case to lawmakers -- a legislative panel that, by its open skepticism, has not been on the receiving end of Patrick lobbying, either public or private.

The hostility to the proposal in the left-leaning blogosphere is an equally clear sign that little to no effort was made to inform and rally that vaunted base.

The bill was crafted in isolation, presented in a vacuum and left to moulder. It was very likely dead on arrival in the Legislature. And that's simply the proposal which forms the foundation to build the revenues needed to accomplish everything else.

By all accounts, Patrick is an inspirational man, but his time in the corporate world did not really prepare him for the rough and tumble reality of day-to-day governing.

That's not to say Patrick has been without accomplishment. Joining forces with DiMasi and Senate President Terry Murray, he helped defeat the noxious anti-gay marriage amendment and helped to clear the air fouled by Romney placing his personal agenda above that of the Commonwealth's citizens.

But for someone who promised so much, who represented a new day and a new way, his first year has been a major disappointment.

Ironically he could get a new start today -- reaching a compromise that will begin to resolve the revenue issue and spelling out a clearer, more robust vision of what he sees as the cultural and economic benefits of casinos.

I'm hopeful on the first, skeptical on the second. But most of all, I'm hopeful he will use the opportunity to engage both lawmakers and the base to work together to fix the problems that continue to dog this state.

Who was it who said Together, We Can?

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Blogger Dan Kennedy said...

"Ironically he could get a new start today ... spelling out a clearer, more robust vision of what he sees as the cultural and economic benefits of casinos."

I would urge the governor to stay away from spouting fiction. Every responsible person who's looked at casinos understands that they're a bad deal for the communities in which they're located, for all but the most casual players, and ultimately for the state.

To frame casinos within the context of a revenue problem is to engage in a form of intellectual extortion.

December 18, 2007 9:33 AM  
Blogger Charlotte said...

For the truth about gay marriage check out our trailer. Produced to educate & defuse the controversy it has a way of opening closed minds & creates an interesting spin on the issue: www.OUTTAKEonline.com
The truth will set them free... :)

December 18, 2007 10:09 AM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

I think I'm committed on that point. I don't think casinos will generate the revenues claimed. And without revenue....

December 18, 2007 7:00 PM  

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