Governor Deval Patrick is in high gear! He’s all energy, enthusiasm and confidence out on the campaign trail. He has long had a good story to tell about his administration’s accomplishments: pension reform, ethics reform, education reform, transportation agency consolidation, collaboration with the legislature to pass budgets reflecting more than $9 billion in recession-induced revenue cuts, using civilian flaggers on state construction sites, implementing the state’s health reform law, and more. But he was not getting the word out. Now he is, and effectively, too.
He tells of riding with President Obama from Logan Airport to a spring event in Boston. When Obama asked him how things were going, the Governor replied that there were just two things he didn’t like: asking for money and bragging about his administration’s accomplishments. The President’s response was simple: “Get over it, Deval.”
And so he has. Perhaps it was the President’s advice. Perhaps it’s that the Governor really does like campaigning. Perhaps seeing his polling numbers go up by 11 points in the wake of the Republican governors attack ads on Tim Cahill. Perhaps all of the above.
Yesterday in Newton he told a crowd at the Marriott Hotel that he is not seeking reelection as a reward for the accomplishments of his first term but for the challenges that remain in a second term. He particularly singled out controlling health costs as a priority. But he also spoke more broadly about values, the role of government in doing those things that people can’t do for themselves. As Congressman Barney Frank had observed in introducing Patrick, “No tax cut ever put out a fire.”
In other words, notwithstanding Tea Party assertions, there is a purpose in government, and people shouldn’t shy away from embracing the community that government represents.
What is clear is that Deval Patrick is now engaged and energized. It’s a long campaign, but for now the jokes about his candidacy and his chances are gone.
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