I have listened to the debates so far and two things are clear: first, Charlie Baker would be bad. And second, Tim Cahill would be equally bad.
Keep in mind that I am the same guy who has spent nearly three years arguing with the governor — in person and in these pages — that his advocacy for gambling in the state violated everything that the party supposedly believes in. In fact, the state party’s official position, as voted in convention in 2009, is to oppose slot machines, whether at racinos or in the absurdly named “resort” casinos.
Nonetheless, despite our differences, I have to acknowledge that the governor held the line on the no-bid contracts for private business owners. And despite what some people may think there are many other issues that I care about. Promoting education at all levels and in all forms. Developing green energy and insulating our leaky homes. Building strong and sustainable local economies with excellent transportation. Bringing a reasonable and humane approach to immigration. And on these points, the governor and I strongly agree.
What I most liked about Deval Patrick when he ran in 2006 — in addition to his character and personality — was that he articulated three strong principles for governing. They were :
1) no financial gimmicks
2) real long-term solutions to real long-term problems
3) we are all in this together.
Candidate Patrick articulated these values and Governor Patrick has lived by them. They are the values we both want and need.
These are not the principles that are guiding Charlie Baker and Tim Cahill. Baker was one of the kings of financial gimmicks under Bill Weld. He backed up the ridiculous cost predictions that Weld made for the Big Dig. I once debated Baker when I was running for lieutenant governor and he was a surrogate for Weld. He basically said that health care access was not a problem in Massachusetts and if it were, it should be left to the marketplace to solve. At the time there were more than 400,000 who did not have insurance.
Tim Cahill wants to be governor and doesn’t quite care what message will get him there. I am sure that someone handed him a poll that said “talk about fiscal responsibility” and he has been stuck on that message — whatever he takes it to mean — for months.
What is particularly disturbing is the demagoguery of both of these candidates on taxes. Listening to them you would think that teachers don’t need salaries, roads fix themselves, communities can print money, and — above all — citizens can enjoy all the benefits of a decent and well-run society for free. It’s a nice fantasy, but that’s all it is: a fantasy.
Deval Patrick has been a thoughtful, calm, clear-headed leader for nearly four years. We need him for another four. And we may not get that unless everyone reading this post goes on www.devalpatrick.com and gets busy as a volunteer.
When people from out of state asked me how “Massachusetts, as a such a Democratic state, could have elected Scott Brown” I pointed out that for 16 of the last 20 years — 80% of the last two decades — we had Republican governors. While they were in charge, they had a chance to implement their policies, when they weren’t looking for other jobs like ambassador or president. It didn’t work. They set up the same recipes for failure in Massachusetts that we have experienced nationally.
Let’s not make the same mistakes we have made over and over again. It’s time for you to stop hoping someone else will do something. Whatever bellyaching we are hearing now will quadruple if one of these other candidates is elected.
We need Deval Patrick. And right now — for the next 49 days — he needs us.