Friday, March 27, 2009

Deval's term: marriage, casinos, taxes...and the minor stuff

What am I missing? I thought the Governor had been successful in getting much of his agenda through the legislature (life sciences comes to mind).

So comes a question from Christopher in the midst of a ferocious debate in this BMG thread over a Suffolk Poll that looks bad -- really bad -- for Deval Patrick. Ryan points out that Suffolk has a bad record, and sco points out that there's nothing amiss in this poll. But symptomatic of the debate is this question.

My answer is that life sciences was a one-day headline in the Globe. That stuff is treasured by bloggers, forgotten by most anyone else. Later, Ryan brings up a bond issue as a major victory. A bond issue! Hey everyone, we're floating paper in private markets to pay for government widgets...or something! That may be a policy victory, but it's a politics snoozer.

With the presidential election suffocating all but the biggest political issues from November 2007-January 2009, I would submit that there have been three political debates that echoed outside the political sphere of the Bay State:

  • Gay marriage: Deval gets a shared win in a tough, emotional battle. Most people agree with him.
  • Casinos: Deval is handed a huge loss by Democrats. Most people disagree with him.
  • Taxes: Deval wins, as much as "the guy who wants taxes to be higher than the other guys" is a win. Most people agree with him, but nobody is thrilled about it.

Seriously, that's it. Bonds and bureaucratic reshufflings may be nice, but these are the big three. If it solidifies that Deval is on the wrong side of the hackocracy debate, he's going into the election with a record of 2 lukewarm wins, and 2 bad losses.


Ryan said...

My question - and I didn't bring this up on that thread until after you posted this - is what exactly, with such huge budget constraints, was the Governor supposed to accomplish?

As I was bickering back and forth with Gary about, the 2 free years of community college was an awesome, relatively inexpensive idea... but even something as cost effective as that was out of the question even before this economic nosedive.

The one-day headlines and wonkish policy victories were really about the best the Gov could have done given the hand he was dealt.

Quriltai said...

Dude, more wonkish thinking.

Standing before the electorate and saying "I did all I could" then shrugging isn't a winning play. Especially against someone who can sound credible when saying they could have done more. To people who follows daily ups and downs that argument makes sense, but it fails during a campaign.

Ryan said...

Oh, I'm not saying that's his campaign spin, but it is the truth. In better economic times, we may have seen some good stuff come through. That's why I've said (elsewhere) that Governor Patrick's going to have to run a much tougher campaign, one where he really attacks his opponents' record and indicates that neither of them would have done any better.

Anonymous said...

His popularity extends across party lines as a result of his clever posturing:

Democrats and liberals love him because of his progressive ideas.

Republicans and conservatives love him because even though they know his ideas are kooky, they know he won't succeed with them.