Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick speaks at the Democratic National Convention
in Charlotte, N.C. (Alex Wong - AFP/Getty Images)
in Charlotte, N.C. (Alex Wong - AFP/Getty Images)
If you're not familiar with Deval Patrick, the Democratic governor of Massachusetts, then here's what you should know: He’s an accomplished Harvard lawyer who worked in the Clinton Justice Department under Attorney Gen. Janet Reno. In 2006, he defeated then-Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey (R) to become the first black governor of Massachusetts. As governor, he raised taxes, increased state spending (after being forced to cut the budget during the recession) and generally messed up state government. For reasons I’ve stopped trying to figure out, 1.1 million Massachusetts voters re-elected him in 2010. In this article, I will—among other things—explain why everyone who voted for Governor Patrick two years ago is either stupid, a fool or a terrible person who ought to be stripped of his/her right to vote until he/she learns the error of his/her ways.
Now, suppose you become governor of your home state, and your predecessor bequeaths to you a budget surplus, a booming economy and a school system that is ranked first in the nation. Would you think the policies he had in place were worth preserving? If so, then Governor Patrick has no use for your kind, because his actions upon taking office betrayed a determination to turn the corner on the Mitt Romney way of doing business.
With the Massachusetts economy still in good shape, like most of the country in 2007, the Commonwealth was looking forward to another year of increased tax receipts (State revenues in 2006 had risen by $1 billion more than estimated and were projected to grow by another 4% in FY '07.), but the newly elected governor had made lofty promises during his successful campaign (Sound familiar?) that would require lots of new spending. At the same time, he was disingenuously warning of a mythical $1 billion budget deficit.
More spending was predictable, but the magnitude was jaw-dropping. The budget for FY08 Patrick signed increased spending by nearly $1.8 billion over the previous fiscal year. In 2009, Patrick and the legislature slapped voters with a barrage of tax increases, which the Democrat-friendly Boston Globe reported would ensure “Massachusetts residents will pay more for everything, from satellite dishes to cheeseburgers.” The lion’s share of new revenues would come from a hike in the sales tax from 5% to 6.25%.
The economic verdict on Patrick’s tax-and-spend agenda was damning: In the governor’s first term, Massachusetts lost a net 66,400 jobs. By comparison, the state added a net of 48,344 jobs during Romney’s four years. Under Patrick, the state’s unemployment rate shot up from 4.7% when he took office to 8.7%, where it remained until March 2010. Amid this historic economic slump, the governor proposed soaking Massachusetts residents for another $100 million through new taxes and fees in his 2010 State of the State address. Incredibly, he won re-election, albeit by a considerably smaller margin than he had won by in 2006.
Now, being a terrible governor doesn't make Deval Patrick a bad person. What does call his character into question is his speech at the Democratic National Convention last week. On Tuesday night, he took to the podium onstage at the Time Warner Cable Arena and delivered a spirited defense of President Obama's record that revved up the audience and struck a chord with undecided independent voters.
No, just kidding. He attacked Mitt Romney! "In Massachusetts," he said in an almost comically petulant tone, "we know Mitt Romney."
Nothing objectionable about that. Just listen to what Mitt's fellow Bay Staters Bob White, Kerry Healey, Jane Edmonds, Ted & Pat Oparowski and Pam Finlayson said at the Republican National Convention last week. Unlike these people, however, Patrick had an incentive to lie, so it should come as no surprise that what he said about Romney was neither complimentary nor true.
"Today," he shouted over the din of the peanut gallery--which pretty much described the entire audience--"we're out of the deficit hole Mr. Romney left...." A couple lies in one: Not only did Mitt Romney leave Massachusetts in good fiscal shape, but Patrick has yet to close the budget gap he and Democrats in the state legislature created. Even Ezra Klein, the Washington Post's leading faux policy wonk, called him out on this outrageous bit of mendacity.
Governor Patrick not only lied about Mitt Romney's record as governor, he embellished his own, even taking credit for Romney's accomplishments. He actually had the audacity to boast, in a speech bashing Mitt Romney, that "Massachusetts leads the nation in . . . health-care coverage . . . ." (For the record, Patrick played no role whatsoever in the passage or enactment of Romneycare.)
Let the above sampling suffice to apprise you of the content of Patrick's convention speech. If you crave more, then Patrick Brennan posted an incisive takedown of the governor's dishonest diatribe on The Corner; I encourage you all to read it.
It takes some brass to use a prime-time speaking slot at a national convention to inveigh against one's predecessor who, by pretty much every objective measure, had a more successful tenure in office than you did, but that's just the kind of person Deval Patrick is. No further castigation is necessary; his reprehensible conduct speaks for itself.