The Herald’s Margery Eagan is impressed, and has some good advice:
Every once in a while a politician shows up around here whoâs got it all going. A natural.
Deval Patrickâs one of those.
Smooth, smart, easy, endearing, both charisma and the humble thing going. He shakes your hand, looks you straight in the eye, says itâs good to meet you like he really means it. He talks about the politics of hope, of building up, not tearing down. Your better self gets all puffed up.
âWhenever he speaks I hear people say words like âwow,ââ says somebody who once worked with him. âHe inspires.â …
Kerry Healey. Iâm a big fan. But straight talk here? It pains me to concede, sheâs not in Devalâs league. Ditto Tom Reilly and Chris Gabrieli and gadfly Christy Mihos. Not even close.
Not that any of this means heâll win even the primary…. As one guy put it, âWhat does he offer your semi-employed middle-aged guy in Waltham? Defeat of cynicism?â
If I were Deval, Iâd become Mr. Property Tax Relief Man, something he says heâs working on. Then Iâd hustle up every cent I could for TV ads. Then Iâd run around the state laying on charm.
IMHO, she’s right on all counts. As far as raw, old-fashioned political ability goes – the ability to deliver a great speech; to get a crowd jazzed up; to, well, inspire people – Patrick’s level of talent hasn’t been seen in these parts since JFK, and he seems to me to rival Bill Clinton in that department. And that, of course, does not mean he’ll win.
Eagan offers excellent advice on the property tax mantra. It’s a good issue for him, and the more he talks about it when his rivals talk about the income tax rollback, the better off he’ll be. Every time Tom Reilly says the rollback puts “$200 in every family’s pocket,” Patrick should be countering with this story reporting that every homeowner in Boston may see a $220 property tax hike next year. Or this one, reporting that parents in Westford are now facing a “bus fee” of $225 per student. That $200 from the rollback won’t stay in those families’ pockets for long, as long as property taxes and fees keep rising.