Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The roll-out continues

After the second video ad in the rotation was released, news that Deval!® will go on a product roll-out tour, as noted by BMG:

The Patrick administration has announced a series of 36 community meetings to discuss the budget situation, taxes, and all the rest of it.

This is pretty clearly aimed at influencing the current debate over taxation policy. I just can't escape the disappointment that we're seeing the only full-court press of this Administration not about equality before the law on the question of marriage, planning education for the 21st century, or other keystone policy issues. Rather, these rallies have sprung up only after Deval Patrick got schooled by DeLeo on taxes.

In any case, any day that the Guv is on the road is a day he isn't talking with members of the Legislature. True, he is "taking his case to the people". Which means a bucketload of phone calls and emails, which may budge a vote or two. However, in order for this to be a successful strategy in the long-run, the following would have to happen:
  1. Deval whips up his supporters on this issue;
  2. Those supporters organize and back a credible primary candidate;
  3. Said candidate defeats incumbent in primary, largely around this issue;
  4. This success happens on a wide scale, enough to balance off legislators he's lost forever due to the new taste for hardball.
Only if this happens -- only if Deval is able to follow through on the largely implied threat that "going over the heads of the Legislature" this entails -- is this a smart strategy. Otherwise, it's just another step to the conversion of Deval to yet another irrelevant governor.

I still maintain the smart thing to do would be to find friendly candidates in what remaining swing districts there are, and/or retirement districts, and build a cadre of loyalists among the freshman class -- something Deval and his people ostentatiously did not do in 2008.

If his people lack the patience or acumen for that, then the next best alternative is to lock people in a room and pressure them like nobody's business. Trade horses like a Ballinasloe huckster. And he's not going to do that while gathering applause in Franklin.


TruthToPower said...

First, my condolences to the Patrick family for the loss of First Lady Diane Patrick's mother, Mrs. Bemus today on their silver anniversary.

Second, you're a smart guy and I have loosely followed your critiques of the Governor's strategy with the Legislature over taxes. Governor Patrick takes risks, this may be one of them and if so, it is a calculated risk. The "people" who have not completely checked out are in agreement with him on the reform before revenue debate. With the Globe's series on pension abuse in everyone's face it is hard for most to grasp what the deficit in revenues actually means...how we will be hit with the draconian loss of services.

We will be hit and I think that the Governor needs to be out with the "people". He is good at it and we need to know that someone on Beacon Hill is willing to listen and speak with "us". I think he will pull it off.

Meanwhile, the lege should be
doing some navel-gazing on their self-serving history as a body. It is unfortunate that the truly committed public servants like my state senator get lumped with the legislators who have cut themselves the pork-deals. There are some really good, hard working people in government.

Quriltai said...

Greatly agreed on most of what you say. First, as regards pension reform, I will refuse to take the governor seriously until he delivers actual legislation -- an actionable plan -- to the Legislature. Anything short of that is talk.

I would like to see members of the legislature similarly head back to their districts for a few days. As I've said repeatedly, Deval is more right than wrong on this, and perhaps the members of the Lege need to hear from somebody they respect more: their constituents.