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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, January 05, 2011

Deval on the record

If you looked hard enough, you can find Deval Patrick on your toaster this morning.

There was a testy" Patrick snapping at the Herald on Parole Board's fateful release of Dominic Cinelli. And a reflective one telling WBUR-FM that we need to study the system and its failing before leaping into action.

Patrick talked about more travel with the Globe, immediately raising images of his predecessors whose sense of wanderlust in their second and third terms became issues unto themselves.

If that wasn't enough, you had a grassroots Deval talking to the Salem News about the local state representative off to Iraq at the start of his term or talking about civic engagement (in his own uncut words) with Blue Mass Group.

And if you haven't had enough, check out the Boston Phoenix full-length video interview, complete with answers to readers questions.

With his inauguration for a second term tomorrow, Patrick officially becomes a lame duck, although he will try to put off the problems that go with that status for as long as he can. Making himself more visible is a way to do that.

First-term Deval truly had a testy relationship with the press, starting from the moment he lectured publishers and the press corps about news and cynicism shortly after his first election. The press had been expected to be his biggest liability for re-election until Charlie Baker's own failings achieved equal status.

It would be too much to read into Patrick having a round of Corner Office sit-downs with all comers right before a new swearing-in: that's standard operating procedure under the Golden Dome. But his apparently more relaxed tone (Herald excepted!) suggests he has learned a lesson or two from both the first term and the second campaign.

And it's a simple one: there are some seriously tough times ahead fiscally as the budget gap opens wider with the loss of federal stimulus dollars.

His hope for better relations with the Legislature are simply that -- and Speaker Robert DeLeo's quick pivot to problems in Patrick's Parole Board rather than Legislature's Probation playpen sends the message loud and clear.

But it's not just realpolitik and cynicism that's driving Patrick. It's safe to say he learned a few lessons from a campaign that began with everyone writing him off as politically dead that getting his own message out -- in as many forums as he can -- is a good thing.

And we, his constituents, are the ultimate beneficiaries. Unless he starts going national on us.

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