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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The only thing we have to fear

For a man in need of all the friends he can get to win a second term in the Corner Office, Deval Patrick sure seems to have a strange way of going about winning them back.

I sometime feel like the last man standing in defense of the beleaguered governor, who had the misfortune of being elected right about the time the national economy collapsed under the weight of fiscal shenanigans enabled by the lack of federal regulation.

Add to that the fact he must deal with a Legislature that grew quite comfortable as the power center during 16 years of Republican governors whose interest in governing the state ran from slim to none.

But to unofficially launch his 2010 reelection bid by warning about "fear mongering" is called getting off on the wrong foot. It's not fear mongering when opponents point out the facts that transpired on your watch -- no matter how out of your control those events were.

Patrick would be better advised to follow the approach the Herald sought fit to highlight -- acknowledging he lost touch with his base and alienated a lot of them in the process.

Despite his basement-level poll numbers, Patrick does stand a chance. Tim Cahill continues to raise cash even as he repeatedly inserts his foot into his mouth. Christy Mihos has his own cash to spend to challenge Charlie Baker for the GOP nomination.

Baker appears to be a formidable opponent, but he is not battle tested. His mantra of no new taxes, however foolhardy a solution to the current problem, is an overwhelmingly popular position among voters.

Patrick needs to stand up and proclaim that yes, he has made a few blunders (expending all that energy on casinos) But he also needs to point out that he has stood up against the Legislature and forced real changes in ethics, pensions and transportation.

And that whoever is elected will have to deal with a Legislature that only he has shown a willingness to stand up and fight -- for the duration.

Facts are a great antidote to fear.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are surprisingly silent on last nights derailment at Alewife and the resulting delays along the Red Line (and all things MassDOT these days). No less than 6 months you would be frothing at the mouth, blaming and damning "Smiling Dan" for the full incident. Your silence says quite a lot about your motives.

December 23, 2009 8:14 AM  
Blogger Not Whitey Bulger said...

Yes, the "Smiling Dan" comment is quite appropriate. Suddenly, the rapidly increasing failures of the MBTA are no longer the fault of the current boss. Handy, that.

But casinos? The least of Deval's problems start with casinos. You want wasted energy? How about Marian Walsh? The world is spiraling into economic free-fall, and Our Deval is giving supporters the Big Kiss? It's like Howie Carr was writing the script.

December 23, 2009 10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, what about those recent hires that the Herald was screaming about last week?

One stands out in particular: Elizabeth Morningstar, "Special Assistant" to the Governor, at $118K/year.

What was he saying four years ago about "changing the culture on Beacon Hill"? Ask Marian Walsh how that worked out for us.

December 23, 2009 10:16 AM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Not Whitey and Anon 8:14 -- Don't seem to recall mentioning the MBTA in the post. And thanks for the free psychoanalysis about my motives.

All transportation, like all politics, is local. If I had been inconvenienced by a Green Line derailment I would be "frothing" about that. Nothing changes the fact the system deteriorating under Grabauskas -- and I don't believe in miracles. And yes, the mess today is a joint failure of the MBTA and the Legislature.

Anon 10:16, my thoughts on the Herald payroll stories are here http://baystateliberal.blogspot.com/2009/12/from-tiny-acorn-mighty-oak-grows.html

December 23, 2009 4:51 PM  
Blogger Marston said...

Your reference to Charlie Baker's position on no new taxes as being "foolhardy" I believe reflects the all too common misconception that state government faces a revenue crisis. It does not. It faces a spending crisis.

Patrick inherited a Stabilization Fund with a balance of over $3 billion and he and the Legislature proceeded to start spending it when the budget was still in surplus.

The last Romney Budget (FY 2007) had tax revenues from all sources of $19.8 billion and spending on major programs of $19.5 billion.

The first Patrick Budget (FY 2008) revenues were $21 billion. Unfortunately spending on major programs skyrocketed to $25.9 billion, an increase of 32.8%.

Even with all the talk of significant cuts in the 2009 budget, total spending, including the $20+ billion in off-budget spending, increased by $1.5 billion over 2008 to nearly $49 billion.

As I mentioned in a blog post on my campaign website It's the spending stupid. Governor Patrick and the legislature are going to have to raise taxes by an unprecedented amount as well as continue to slash vital social programs to balance the budget for FY 2011.

They are already talking about instituting a graduated income tax.
For a preview of how well that will work I suggest people look at the finances of California and New York.

All the figures referenced above and in my post are from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Statutory Basis Accounting Report published 11/06/2009.

Full disclosure: I am the Republican Candidate for State Representative in the Eighth Suffolk District.

December 24, 2009 3:18 PM  

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