For most of Mr. Patrick’s tenure as Massachusetts governor, I hosted a conservative talk-radio show from the same Boston studio where Deval did his monthly “Ask The Governor” program. I would literally be holding the studio door for him to leave so I could start my show.
And yet during all those years, Mr. Patrick never appeared on my program a single time. He turned down every invitation.
Why? Because my audience and I were center-right. We’d ask tough questions. He’d have to fight.
And Deval Patrick doesn’t fight.
There are plenty of reasons for Democrats in general, and progressive activists in particular, to reject Mr. Patrick as a presidential candidate. The Huffington Post labeled him the “Foreclosure Mogul” for his work at Ameriquest. The Daily Beast says Mr. Patrick’s resume is a “One-Stop-Shop of Industries Democrats Loathe.”
Mr. Patrick cashed in on his public service, both at the Department of Justice and the governor’s mansion — to literally become a chardonnay-swilling millionaire with a 24-room multi-million-dollar mansion in the Berkshires. He doesn’t have Michael Bloomberg’s money, but he lives like it.
Democratic operatives are asking why Mr. Patrick’s getting in the race at this late date with no money, organization or message. And they’re right, too. Mr. Patrick’s a cookie-cutter liberal without the passion of Liz Warren, the oratory of Cory Booker or the resume of Joe Biden. Instead, Mr. Patrick combines the public policy heft of Marianne Williamson with the political pizzazz of Tom Steyer.
The Atlantic may call him a “talented politician,” but in Massachusetts, we called him “Urkel.”
That was one of Mr. Patrick’s nicknames during his governorship, and it had absolutely nothing to do with race. (Though the “Family Matters” TV character could record Deval’s voicemail greeting and nobody would notice.) It’s because Deval spent his eight inept years as governor getting pushed around by the Massachusetts legislature. The entrenched Democrats who run Beacon Hill did everything but steal his lunch money and give him a swirly.
And why not? Politically, Mr. Patrick is a novice. He’s only run for public office twice — both times as a liberal Democrat in Massachusetts. Republican voter registration? It’s 10.2 percent.
Yeah, that Deval’s a real champ.
Perfect example: When Mr. Patrick first ran for governor, he supported drivers licenses for illegal immigrants. Pretty standard position for a Northeastern progressive. Eight years of Democrat-dominated government later, guess what state didn’t have drivers licenses for illegals? (And still doesn’t, by the way.)
Even in the deep-blue Bay State, Deval was an underachiever. He couldn’t manage to win 50 percent of the vote in his re-election bid (once again, in Massachusetts), and he didn’t have the political pull to stop the GOP from winning a U.S. Senate seat on his watch — their first since the Nixon administration.
And while it’s hard to find a state with a more pro-Democratic press than Massachusetts — the Boston Globe’s coverage of Mr. Patrick would make a North Korean propaganda minister blush — it was still too tough for Deval. “We are awash in cynicism in the commonwealth, but the cynical are not smart; they’re just pretending to be,” he whined after a few negative media cycles.
This is the guy Democrats are going to send into the political Thunderdome to take on Donald Trump? Deval couldn’t get through five minutes with Tulsi Gabbard.
I can understand why Democrats wouldn’t listen to a conservative Republican like me. And I don’t know the Democratic field as well as some.
But I know Deval Patrick. And before you even think about picking him as your nominee, you should, too.
• Michael Graham is politics editor of New Hampshire Journal.
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