Patrick unleashed

Expect some “very frontal attacks against Mitt Romney” from Gov. Deval Patrick, CNN’s Anderson Cooper told the network’s primetime Democratic National Convention audience shortly before Patrick took the stage in Charlotte.

Patrick did not disappoint.  He went straight for the jugular.

He took out the “American Dream” banner, hoisted it high above his head, and dared Democrats to save it by re-electing Barack Obama. “If we want to win elections in November and keep the country moving forward, it’s time for Democrats to grow a backbone and stand up for what we believe,” he said, slamming his fist repeatedly on the podium as the crowd jumped to its collective feet.

Patrick slammed Romney in a way that only another Bay State governor could. All but accusing his predecessor of leaving wads of chewing gum stuck beneath of the desk in the Corner Office, he told America that Mitt Romney is a “fine fellow” – but was a horrible Massachusetts governor.

“Of all the things [Romney] fixed, Massachusetts was not one of them,” he said “As governor, he was more interested in having the job than doing the job.”  (Michael Dukakis also got his jabs in, too, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “The notion that Mitt Romney can provide economic leadership for this country… is ridiculous.”)

Patrick also took some time out for self-promotion, reeling off a list of issues, including education, health care, veterans services, and energy efficiency, where his administration’s accomplishments have surpassed Romney’s.

He ended on a high-flying theme, making the personal political. He wasn’t going to let Obama be  “bullied out of office, ” the governor declared. The Globe’s Glen Johnson notes that “Patrick feels a personal stake in Obama’s success — almost like a sibling sticking up for his kid brother.”

Yet politicians never let the facts get in the way of firing up the party’s base (see entry under Ryan, Paul). For all his rhetorical flourishes, Patrick is no exception.

Fact-checkers are calling out the governor for several inaccuracies. The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein writes that the stat that Patrick and other Democrats like to use, that the Bay State was 47th in the nation in job creation when Romney left office, is true.  However, Patrick’s contention that household income had declined during Romney’s tenure is “misleading.” Another of his assertions, that Romney cut education more deeply than anywhere else in America, is false.

In the local twitterverse, there was nothing but high praise from Patrick admirers. “Gov. Patrick’s speech was a killer. Preach!” tweeted @clintjackson

Politico’s Roger Simon proclaimed that the speech made Patrick a “national figure.”
Somehow thinking that Patrick materialized out of thin air, Chris Cillizza, who writes The  Washington Post’s The Fix column, opined, “Patrick was overlooked by many people —  the Fix included — who were scanning the night’s speaker to see who might shine on the first night of the convention.”

The national punditocracy got its wake up call. As governor of the state that Romney rarely names, Patrick has been jetting around the country for months and honing his message as Obama’s campaign surrogate. That certainly made him the go-to man in Charlotte.

No one who’s seen the governor in action back home was surprised by his intensity or his eloquence.  Massachusetts Democrats were full of praise. “I guess we’re just used to his standard of excellence,” said Secretary of State William Galvin. Bay State Republicans, not so much. However, Patrick, in his defense of his great and good friend, dialed it up a few notches, delivering  what was arguably his most important, if not his best, speech ever.

2016 anyone?

Patrick has often said that he wants to return to the private sector. Leave it to Lt. Gov. Tim Murray to suggest what has been whispered about in Massachusetts for ages: A Patrick run for the presidency is not out of the question. With Sen. John Kerry chomping at the bit for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s job should Obama win a second term, a US Senate run is also an option.

Deval Patrick has made his mark. Apart from Obama himself, it will be hard for anyone to top him in Charlotte. But Bill Clinton probably will.

                                                                                                                                                        –GABRIELLE GURLEY

BEACON HILL

Common Cause, the ACLU, the Conservation Law Foundation, and Associated Industries of Massachusetts sue Secretary of State Bill Galvin over lobbyist reporting guidelines. State House News, via CommonWealth, has this report.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

A home rule petition to return Fall River’s fire chief position to civil service moved one step closer to passage with the House concurring with a Senate amendment.

Fitchburg city councilors oppose a $1.2 million plan to move City Hall.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

A General Accountability Office report says Congress can vote on President Obama’s welfare waivers, The Hill reports.

Time explores the New York attorney general’s investigation of private equity firms, including Bain Capital, and their exploitation of the “carried interest loophole.”

ELECTION 2012

Democrats pitch to the middle class, women, and Hispanics during the first night of their convention. Michelle Obama gracefully eviscerates Mitt Romney. Slate says that Obama’s speech channeled Bill Clinton, and asks whether it will change the campaign. A video tribute to Ted Kennedy allows the liberal icon to take some posthumous shots at his former Senate opponent. The New York Times and the Atlantic take up the “are you better off?” question. NPR (via WBUR) culls from the fact checkers.

Bill Clinton has become more than just “likeable enough” to President Obama — the line of faint praise he once famously offered about the former president’s wife. He has become vital to the Obama reelection campaign and will deliver tonight’s nominating speech for the president.

A former Republican congressman lands on the presidential ballot line in Virginia, complicating Romney’s uphill climb in the swing state.

For Boston Mayor Tom Menino, chicken is an easier call than Senate politics.

In his Herald DNC rebuttal, Sen. Scott Brown argues for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. “You can’t solve a spending problem by raising taxes,” he argues. “You only enable it. Politicians of both parties in Washington are addicted to spending other people’s money, and every time we bail them out by raising taxes, they spend that much and more.” Brown’s rebuttal offers no plans for how he’d cut spending; in the last fiscal year, mandatory spending claimed 89 percent of government revenues.

The super PAC American Crossroads is spending $6.6 million on ads attacking President Obama in swing states, Politico reports.

New polls indicate little bounce for Mitt Romney from the GOP convention, the Portland Press-Herald reports.

Quincy will have candidates’ names in English and Mandarin in the primary and general election, the only city in the state to have Chinese ballots.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

In court papers, the US Justice Department accuses BP of “gross negligence and willful misconduct” in connection with the Gulf oil spill, Reuters reports.

Both local and national retail associations are reporting strong back-to-school sales, with surveys showing the average family with children in K-12 spending $689 compared to $604 last year.

Elected officials in Salem back tax breaks for developers, but residents at a hearing on the proposal voice strong opposition, the Salem News reports.

Home prices are continuing to show some steady increases in both monthly and year-to-year measures.

Blackstone and Cerberus Capital sue the federal Department of Transportation, alleging that the feds discriminate against private equity.

EDUCATION

Progress on contract talks between the Boston School Department and Boston Teachers Union.

Lawsuits are filed against efforts to segregate boys and girls in classrooms, the Wall Street Journal reports.

HEALTH CARE

Radio Boston interviews the Worcester primary care doctor who won’t take patients who weigh more than 200 pounds.

Steward Health Care finalizes its takeover of the former New England Sinai Hospital in Stoughton.

An ex-Koman official writes a book accusing Planned Parenthood of being a “schoolyard thug,” The Daily Beast reports.

A study by Stanford University researchers claims that organic foods offer no more nutrition or health benefits than conventionally grown foods.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Hanover officials are mailing out a newsletter to residents amid growing concerns over contamination at a former munitions plant.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

US District Court Chief Judge Mark Wolf ruled that the state must pay for a sex-change operation for a prisoner serving a life sentence for murder after concluding that it is the only adequate treatment for the inmate’s “gender identity disorder,” the Globe reports. Here’s the AP story from the Sun.

A federal judge ruled two Plymouth police officers did not violate the civil rights of Anthony McGrath when they shot and killed him in 2006 as the Plymouth teen drove his car at them trying to get away. The ruling came in a suit brought by McGrath’s mother.

Officials in Worcester push for the removal of a pay phone near a housing project because it allegedly is being used to make drug deals, the Telegram & Gazette reports.

Three men in Lawrence are arrested for disturbing the peace after faking a stabbing that they filmed for a YouTube video, the Eagle-Tribune reports.