Things must be a little tense over on Morrissey Boulevard these days. Joan Vennochi’s column today isn’t really about the Governor’s race, or whether Deval Patrick is likely to win, or whether he’d do a good job if he did.
No, it’s about the crappy article that Globe reporter Frank Phillips wrote earlier this week about Patrick’s long-since ended membership in a men-only club while he was an undergrad at Harvard, as well as a bunch of other articles in which Phillips has tried to raise questions about Patrick.
Horrors. Deval Patrick once belonged to an exclusive all-male club at Harvard. He owns a big vacation house in the Berkshires. He served on corporate boards for companies that put profit ahead of consumers and union workers.
Why should any of that derail Patrick’s bid to become the next governor? He is no different from others who made the same choices — except for the humbleness of his roots and the color of his skin.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy just this year resigned his membership in Harvard’s all-male Owl Club…. Plenty of Massachusetts politicians — Democrats and Republicans — own vacation homes. Indeed, Kennedy presides over an entire family compound….
The line of attack against Patrick is classic class warfare, the type Democrats, rich or poor, usually wage against Republican opponents. In this case, the class warfare is breaking out in a Democratic primary contest that includes another millionaire, venture capitalist Christopher F. Gabrieli, as well as a man of undisputed modest means, Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly.
In this case, the class warfare is being waged against a candidate who also happens to be black. So, you have to ask: Is Patrick’s race an unspoken factor in this line of attack? …
I wonder if the intense focus on the all-male Harvard Fly Club, the Berkshires vacation home, and the corporate resume says something about our stereotypical expectations for the path a black man is supposed to follow — even one with two Harvard degrees.
Tough stuff, Joan. Frank can’t be too psyched – I don’t recall often seeing op-ed columnists directly take on reporters like this.
(BTW, her column goes on to raise some vague questions about Patrick’s “political dexterity,” and ask some other questions that suggest she hasn’t spent much time with Patrick’s position papers. Memo to Joan: MavDem has helpfully supplied you with everything you need! Be sure to check BMG daily for your policy analysis needs.)