Deval Patrick, living la vida loca
The whispering surrounding a future Deval Patrick campaign for president got full voice when Slate’s Reihan Salam recently put the former governor on a short list of alternatives to Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee.
Yet there are at least 7,500 reasons why Patrick won’t make a run for the White House in 2016, and perhaps has damaged his brand for several presidential cycles to come. Jetting around world capitals on behalf of Boston 2024 is not the same as sitting down for a “Politics and Eggs” breakfast in Manchester (New Hampshire, that is).
Patrick’s $7,500 in daily travel expenses as the global emissary for Boston’s Summer Olympics bid might not raise eyebrows among the globe-trotting corporate set. But his new job has gotten mixed reviews at best in places like western Massachusetts where he is revered. “It’s not really my business how much money he makes or how he makes the money,” one man told the Springfield’s CBS3. “I think as long as he’s doing what’s best for the commonwealth, I can’t disagree with him.”
At worst, the move may have tarnished Patrick’s liberal bona fides in an Elizabeth Warren world. Springfield Republican columnist Ron Chimelis opined, “As for disappointed liberals, they should have known before this that their heroes were every bit as money-hungry and self-absorbed as those right-wing business tycoons and politicians they abhor.”
Patrick’s new job contrasts unfavorably, too, with the nearly $1 billion mid-year deficit his administration left behind for Gov. Charlie Baker. Then there’s the legacy of a certain Boston public works project. Accepting a job with a private nonprofit that has Patrick’s own former lieutenant governor, among others, invoking the “Big Dig” is the kind of development that would have Republican opposition researchers salivating.
There’s likely little appetite among national Democrats for another Massachusetts liberal of the Patrick variety. In the past several decades, the Bay State has produced three failed presidential candidates — Michael Dukakis, John Kerry, and Mitt Romney. Patrick is also a BFF of President Barack Obama, which won’t endear him to Democrats who are running away as fast as they can from 44.
However, Patrick is taking at least one page out of the Romney presidential playbook. Romney’s Olympics experience helped raise his profile. Travelling around world capitals would give Patrick invaluable international exposure for a corporate position or another public sector opportunity.
But like Mitt Romney and “47 percent,” Deval Patrick will find that having his name and “$7,500 a day” in the same sentence is probably not the strongest foundation for a presidential bid.
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MARATHON BOMBING TRIAL
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