While Patrick fights it out with Republican Charlie Baker about who can make Massachusetts friendlier to business, Stein is the only one more concerned with making the Commonwealth friendlier to We the People. That means putting people back to work as we transition to a healthier, greener economy, to resilient regional and local enterprises, and to a renewed vision of prosperity for all.
On issues of critical interest to progressives, Patrick’s record as governor is strewn with either outright betrayal or with ineffective reforms wrapped in self-promoting rhetoric. On healthcare, ethics reform, transportation reform, education reform, corporate tax loopholes, tax incentive clawback rules, climate and energy legislation, funding human services, property taxes, and local aid to cities and towns, Governor Patrick has taken us baby steps forward in the best cases, and significant steps backward in the worst, while the treadmill we’re on has been zooming backwards all the while.
Patrick has had little impact on the powerful Democratic leaders in the Legislature. The one clear issue where he made a decisive difference is in expediting schemes to bring gambling casinos to Massachusetts as a false jobs and revenue solution.
Patrick’s four years so far are characterized by an almost unbroken continuation of the policies of his Republican predecessor Mitt Romney. Romney’s health care plan is being enthusiastically implemented by Patrick. Patrick speaks proudly of his work advancing the Romney concept of “expedited permitting.” And he is doing more to privatize public education than any charter school-promoting Republican ever dreamed of doing. When asked recently to name the politician he most admired, Patrick picked New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, a pro-business free trader who was elected to office as a Republican (although he has since become an independent). If you want someone who you can trust to advance the traditional values of the Democratic Party, Patrick is definitely not your choice.
If any doubt remains about the Governor’s lack of progressive credentials it should be settled by the Governor’s words himself, as he admitted just one week after being elected that the greatest misconception about him was the whole “liberal thing.” The carefully constructed image of Patrick as a progressive savior throughout his entire 2006 campaign appears to have been a calculated fraud perpetrated upon the voters. And the same campaign tactic is evident in 2010.
So what about Jill Stein? Stein is clearly standing up for the core values of Massachusetts progressives. Unlike Patrick, she continuously advocates for public campaign financing (Clean Elections), universal single-payer health care, ending the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, ending our dependence on fossil fuels, a progressive income tax, instant runoff voting, protecting public schools from privatization, legalizing marijuana and cutting corporate giveaways rather than social programs. A vote for Stein sends a clear message of support for progressive principles. A vote for Patrick says that you acquiesce to rule by corporate apologists who will continue the rightward slide.
So what could possibly lead a progressive to choose Patrick over Stein? Other than blind party loyalty, the most common reason seems to be fear – fear that the devil Republican could win if they don’t remain loyal to Patrick. The phoniness of this premise has seldom been discussed – which is probably why it is successful in silencing many progressives. The idea that Charlie Baker will begin to dictate policy to a Legislature that is 90% Democratic doesn’t pass the laugh test with any one who understands political power in Massachusetts. And when you have a Democrat who is speedily implementing Mitt Romney’s agenda, the threat of Governor Charlie Baker doesn’t seem nearly so disturbing. In fact, there would almost certainly be more Legislative resistance to bad ideas if they were coming from a Republican.
So will progressive voters, who have been increasingly marginalized by the convergence of Democratic and Republican parties, further ratify their insignificance by endorsing Patrick? Or will they send a message that they’ve had enough by voting for Stein? If enough progressives bring their vision and their values into the voting booth November 2nd, then the vote for Jill Stein will send a real message to the Beacon Hill leadership of both parties. It would signify the reemergence of progressives as a force to be reckoned with. Suddenly the Tea Party and corporate rule would not seem like the inevitable future of politics in Massachusetts and beyond.
Note: For a head-to-head comparison of Patrick and Stein, download this flyer.
Social media coordinator, Jill Stein for Governor