A Patrick run lands locally with a thud

Little hometown love for possible presidential run

WE HAVE developed a reputation for oozing warmth and encouragement for Massachusetts candidates that is second only to our good manners on the road, so let’s go straight to the local hot takes on the latest potential favorite-son presidential hopeful from the Commonwealth.

“Imagine looking upon this very strong field of candidates and seeing a hole in the lineup that is exactly your size and shape,” says one area chronicler with more than a touch of sarcasm.

“I spent much of Tuesday talking to former aides and longtime fans of Patrick. They all love him. No one came forward to endorse his latest venture,” writes another columnist.  Should he jump in, “I think he will be making a huge mistake.”

But what about the highlights of Deval Patrick’s two full terms as our governor and his work after leaving office?

“The drapes, the Cadillac, the finances, the pricey junkets and the decision to work for Democratic evildoers Bain Capital are all part of his record and up for grabs,” another local scribe helpfully reminds us. “And it’s unclear whether Patrick, who is notoriously thin-skinned, has the stomach to handle that kind of close examination.”

A prickly, egomaniacal pol with a checkered record. Where do idealistic young campaign volunteers sign up?

And all of this comes before we’ve even heard from Howie Carr, who pronounces the former governor a “delusional” pol who has “always been a legend in his mind.”

We’re a long way from the days when the Globe’s Bob Healey worked out with the Kennedy White House how to play the paper’s story reporting that Ted — making his 1962 run for JFK’s former Senate seat — had been booted out of Harvard for cheating.

But are local pundits overcompensating for a time when pols might have expected a little home field advantage?

Patrick does find a little bit of local love — or at least something short of outright dismissal.

Globe columnist Scot Lehigh thinks Elizabeth Warren’s “lurch to port” — highlighted by her all-in embrace of Medicare for All — has created a “center-left opening — one Deval Patrick, despite his late start, could plausibly fill.” He reminds all of Patrick’s “mesmerizing” talents as a “better-than-Obama speaker.” And he acknowledges, but dismisses the significance of, Patrick’s management shortcomings. If such things mattered, Lehigh writes, “the nation wouldn’t have elected Donald ‘six bankruptcies’ Trump.”

Meanwhile, Herald op-ed contributor Joyce Ferriabough Bolling says she’d welcome Patrick and Mike Bloomberg to the race. (Lehigh pans the idea of a Bloomberg run.)

Strip away the snarky jabs of skeptical opinion writers and there is still plenty of ground for doubt about word that Patrick is considering a late-entry dive into the Democratic presidential contest.

As the Globe’s Matt Stout and Victoria McGrane report, Patrick faces a number of daunting practical hurdles, including starting from zero on the two main elements of a national campaign, money and organization. “He’s a very decent human being. I just don’t know how the hell he raises $25 million in the next 100 days while putting an organization together,” former Democratic National Committee chairman and 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean tells them.

It’s “kind of late in the day,” says former state Democratic Party chairman Phil Johnston.

That it is.

Meet the Author

Michael Jonas

Executive Editor, CommonWealth

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

In late 2014, as he prepared to leave office, Patrick told CommonWealth’s Jack Sullivan he had “zero plans” to run for president. Then, in the classic mode of every practiced pol, he left the door open a crack. “The future is the future,” said the governor-philospher.

With a Friday deadline to file for the New Hampshire primary, the future is this week.