The Globe has endorsed Deval Patrick for reelection. That in itself is not much of a surprise. What did surprise me, though, is how cogent, thoughtful, and passionate the editorial is. I’m not always the biggest fan of the Globe editorial page, but they sure hit the nail on the head with this one. Kudos.
The editorial does a good job of squarely confronting Team Baker’s largely inaccurate claims about Governor Patrick’s record.
While Baker is right to insist that Patrick can do more to change government, he’s wrong to suggest that the governor has been slow to embrace the need for major reforms. From jousting with organized labor for the right to remove underperforming teachers, to combining all the state’s transportation agencies into one, to ousting police officers from their lucrative gigs overseeing some construction projects, Patrick has been willing to take on entrenched Beacon Hill interests to promote efficiency.
It also takes on the “Had Enough?” theme, and points out why it’s exactly the wrong approach at this time.
[H]is central theme – “Had enough?” – conveys a haughty sense of disgust over the disarray on Beacon Hill. He overstates the case. The budget gaps brought about by declining revenues have been managed with competence and efficiency. Patrick’s mix of cutbacks, targeted tax increases, and one-time revenue fixes has been the best way to avoid precisely the disarray that Baker worries about. Deeper cuts would disrupt core services; greater tax hikes would push the state back into recession.
Interestingly, the Globe takes on Baker’s “Angry Man” persona that I wrote about earlier, and contrasts it with Patrick’s equanimity even when the going gets tough.
Baker’s crude slogan is also unfair because Patrick, despite some early missteps, is a governor of unusual grace and character. He listens closely to average citizens and understands their needs. His ability to communicate on a personal level with all the communities of Massachusetts is exemplary.
In the times of greatest stress, his equanimity is most apparent. In the current campaign, Baker and independent candidate Tim Cahill have often engaged in finger-pointing, table-pounding exchanges; Patrick has never lost his cool.
He embodies the sense of class and dignity that voters say they crave in their leaders. And in a race against a talented but sometimes overheated Republican, Patrick’s steadiness is a visible point of distinction. His understanding of state government has grown over his time in office. Initially caught flat-footed because of some poor personnel choices, petty political fights, and legislative resistance, he increasingly rose to the challenges before him.
The Globe talks a bit about specific policy issues, agreeing with Patrick on Cape Wind; disagreeing with him on the issue of locals joining the GIC; none of that discussion is all that enlightening. But the closer is a good one.
Patrick vowed that if re-elected, he would happily borrow some of Baker’s ideas. It was a characteristically broad-minded pledge…. The best leaders draw strength from the entire community, striving for consensus even as they blaze a new path. Sometimes that journey requires courage; other times, restraint. Patrick has shown both qualities in confronting the worst circumstances any new governor has faced in decades. He deserves the chance to lead the state into better times.
Very, very well said. Congratulations to the Patrick/Murray ticket for this well-deserved endorsement. Now it’s your turn: go make it happen.