The Download: Reviving the outside game?

Governor Deval Patrick spoke often on the campaign trail about having to learn to pause, take a victory lap, and puff out one’s chest, for the benefit of the voters and the press.

He’s in just such a mode now. The governor capped off his post-election victory lap with a long interview in Sunday’s Globe. It’s a story that still has tongues wagging. Much has been made about the governor’s first-term struggles. Several of his early legislative initiatives failed, and he was in frequent conflict with the Legislature. So it’s interesting that, from Patrick’s perspective, some of those early struggles came from backing down from plans to have supporters push the Legislature from the outside. He’s vowing not to relent this time around: “I’m not going to listen to that. That’s democracy. And if that’s a problem for people, get over it.”

That quote couldn’t have landed lightly on the third floor of the State House, where the notoriously prickly legislative leadership resides. Patrick’s relationship with House Speaker Robert DeLeo, especially, was frayed by an ugly standoff over expanded gambling at the end of the year’s legislative session; DeLeo was also a top House lieutenant in Patrick’s early years, when the governor’s deference to the Legislature, or lack thereof, caused a deep rift between the House and the Corner Office.

At a breakfast panel this morning hosted by MSL Boston, Patrick’s top political advisor, Doug Rubin, was asked about the wisdom of appearing to confront the Legislature head-on, again. Rubin said he wasn’t sure the governor would try to pack Nurses’ Hall with hundreds of supporters, as he did early on when pushing a series of local option taxes. But he did say that Patrick intends to stay in campaign mode as a way of pushing his agenda on the Legislature. “Whether we’ll put 200 people in a room is up for grabs,” he said, “but getting out throughout the state, I guarantee we’ll do that.”

“Inside the building, legislators don’t think he has any power,” added Herald columnist Joe Battenfeld. Battenfeld suggested the way to combat that perception is to “get out and show them you do.” Which should make for an interesting second term.

School work

On the South Coast, Freetown voters just took the next step to join with Lakeville in a regional school system. In Boston, the Globe reports school leaders are rethinking the district’s embrace several years ago of smaller high schools, saying the move to split large high schools into smaller learning communities hasn’t paid off with academic gains. 

Doing business

In business, the Herald wonders just how Genzyme and Biogen could take public aid and then issue pink slips, while Quincy officials grapple with what kind of math makes their $12.5 million parking garage, which is critical to a $1.3 billion downtown redevelopment, worth exactly zero dollars. Also not quite as valuable as we’d like them to be: Boston-area homes, for the time-being.


BlueMassGroup’s David Kravtiz picks up MassINC’s post-election poll to dismiss the idea that Tim Cahill was the reason Charlie Baker won’t be governor. The Pioneer Institute’s Elizabeth Prasse helpfully lays out for the governor some of Baker’s ideas about regulatory reform, should Patrick get serious about implementing some of the good ideas Baker offered throughout during the campaign.

The Wall Street Journal explains why the GOP doesn’t need 51 votes to drive its signature issues through the Senate, while the New York Times weighs in on how the Dems managed to paint themselves into a corner on the Bush tax cuts. The National Review puts the spotlight on 12 incoming congressional freshman they tabbed as stars in the making. Hardly surprisingly, there’s not one Democrat among them. The Hotline at the National Journal floats the inaugural edition of its Presidential Power Rankings, and Mitt Romney is the pole position for the Republican nomination, followed by Tim Pawlenty and John Thune. The GOP has a history of nominating the guy who has stood in line and waited his turn, says The Hotline, adding that Mitt’s fortunes will ride on how well he handles questions about the health insurance mandate in the Massachusetts reform law.