The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Moonsigns  |  Band Guide  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
Media -- Dont Quote Me  |  News Features  |  Talking Politics  |  This Just In

Patrick's opponents

A meaningful debate about Massachusetts will take intelligence and courage
By EDITORIAL  |  July 29, 2009


Charlie Baker, former head of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and onetime finance chief for governors William Weld and Paul Cellucci, was scheduled to file papers this week to officially open his gubernatorial campaign. With that, he also unofficially kicks off the 2010 Massachusetts election season.

Baker does so with the tailwind of a stunning Boston Globe poll, reported this past Sunday, that showed widespread disenchantment with Governor Deval Patrick. Also hoping to take advantage of Patrick's blues are supermarket tycoon Christy Mihos, who has announced his second run at the office, this time as a Republican, and State Treasurer Tim Cahill, who is widely expected to announce his Independent candidacy later this summer.

The four candidates will have plenty of money to throw around, and with their early announcements they'll have plenty of time to campaign. The question is, will they thoughtfully deliberate the pressing issues facing the Commonwealth?

Let's put it this way: in serious times like these, we can't afford the frivolous general-election campaign we had in 2006. That year, GOP nominee Kerry Healey ran a disgraceful crusade based on fear-mongering; Patrick, after winning a relatively robust primary contest, cautiously nursed a large lead in the polls.

Baker certainly has the knowledge and experience to seriously discuss issues that have by no means gone away with passage of the state budget: economic development, public revenues, health-care-cost containment, and transportation, for starters.

However, the concern here is that Baker may play to his Republican primary audience by shrieking "socialism" and denouncing all taxes — or by saying that "Beacon Hill has . . . turned a crisis into calamity," as he does in the campaign video posted to his Web site earlier this week.

Fortunately, early signs are that Baker will not pander to the right on social issues, as his former boss Weld surprisingly and sadly did during his ill-fated run for governor of New York three years ago. Weld, a stalwart champion of gay rights, U-turned on his LGBT friends during that campaign.

To his credit, Baker recently affirmed his backing of same-sex marriage. He is also solidly pro-choice.

As for Patrick, we think he should welcome the chance to engage in a serious debate with a politician of substance, rather than the usual childish bickering with the crybabies of the legislature. In fact, that may be just what Patrick needs in order to gain the stature he has lost. (The Globe poll, for instance, recently found that residents trust the state legislature more than Patrick — that's particularly stunning given that all the recent indictments have been delivered to the House and Senate side of the building.)

But that resurgence will work only if Patrick uses the campaign to present his plans for guiding the state's economic recovery, and refrains from silly attack politics — unlike the state Democratic Party itself, which has already launched a "Big Dig Baker" Web site, tying the former state budget chief to the mismanaged project.

As for Cahill or Mihos, we are skeptical that they belong at the grown-ups table.

Mihos has hired sleezeball political charlatan Dick Morris to help him defeat Baker for the GOP nomination, and has already opted for gimmickry over substance when commenting on the most difficult state budget crisis in decades, by setting up a live Web-feed camera on the New Hampshire border (supposedly depicting Bay Staters fleeing our higher sales tax).

Cahill's contribution to the budget debate was to convince the legislature to include projected revenues from the state's entry into Powerball — even after he knew that Massachusetts would not be able to participate. This week, he needlessly inserted himself into a legal matter, publicly urging state officials to quickly resolve a toll-payer lawsuit, without taking a position on whether the suit even has merit. And his whining attempts to portray his defection from the Democrats as selfless, rather than self-serving, have been positively Palin-esque.

Baker and Patrick can do better, if they choose to. We hope they do.

Related: Financial fallout, Survivor: Worcester, Hard sell, More more >
  Topics: The Editorial Page , Deval Patrick, Deval Patrick, U.S. Government,  More more >
  • Share:
  • Share this entry with Facebook
  • Share this entry with Digg
  • Share this entry with Delicious
  • RSS feed
  • Email this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Best Music Poll 2009 winners
Today's Event Picks
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   CHOOSING KENNEDY’S SUCCESSOR  |  September 02, 2009
    Massachusetts should have a temporary US senator until voters elect a replacement to serve out the remaining three years of Ted Kennedy’s term.
  •   TED KENNEDY'S PASSING  |  August 26, 2009
    Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who served Massachusetts for 46 years — sometimes surrounded by controversy, but always with distinction — was the only one of Joseph P. Kennedy’s four sons to die surrounded by family at home in his bed.
  •   RX FOR BARACK  |  August 19, 2009
    President Barack Obama is taking his vacation not a moment too soon. As his painfully poor performance in the health-care debate shows, he is way off his game. He clearly needs some time to recharge his batteries.
  •   PATRICK'S LATEST TRAIN WRECK  |  August 12, 2009
    There is no doubt that Governor Deval Patrick had — and has — much better ideas about reforming and restructuring the state's transportation infrastructure — including the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority — than the legislature.
  •   HOW'S OBAMA DOING?(1)  |  August 05, 2009
    Politics, an old cliché holds, is the art of the possible. Achieving the possible is a matter of power. And in a media-saturated democracy, power flows to those with good poll numbers.

 See all articles by: EDITORIAL

RSS Feed of for the most popular articles
 Most Viewed   Most Emailed 

  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
Copyright © 2009 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group