One of the most difficult choices for any Bay State Governor, whether Republican or Democrat, comes in determining when to throw elbows or back pats in dealing with the legislature.
And its been interesting watching Governor Patrick straddle the line between collaboration, confrontation and back again, over the past 2+ years.
One observation I make is how much harder it is for a Democratic Governor to find that balance. Republican Governors and the legislature both expected confrontation and understood that the road to outcomes would first start with divergent positions and sometimes end there. Interests were less shared so win-win solutions didn’t always have to be found. Often it served both sides to remain in disagreement. And because of this understanding, it didn’t generally get personal.
Its always been different for Governor Patrick. The expectations of the press and public as the Democrats won complete control was for collaboration, even when history would have suggested otherwise. And my sense is that the Governor himself expected much more of that, a certain level of deference to him as erstwhile party leader. When tensions emerged between Patrick and the legislature, the press played up the differences in a way that wouldn’t have been newsworthy with a Republican in the corner office. The public, to the degree they are paying attention, could not be blamed for thinking the promise of electing a Democratic Governor was greater than the reality.