THE POLITICS OF HOPE, TAKE ONE
April 17, 2008
The similarities between Barack Obama and Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick are unmistakable, leaving some to wonder whether Patrick's governorship might be a preview of an Obama presidency, says Charles Chieppo, a senior fellow, and Jim Stergios, executive director, of the Pioneer Institute. Far from the politics of hope, Patrick's first year in office has been a cross between Mike Dukakis and Tammany Hall.
Despite Patrick's "Together We Can" campaign mantra, there isn't a single Republican in the governor's cabinet. It's hard to explain away the fact that Patrick, shortly after being sworn in, set up a 16-member team to cleanse the executive branch of GOP holdovers.
Patrick is committed to big government and has proposed billions in new spending:
- This includes a billion-dollar giveaway to biotech companies, a new $1.4 billion commuter rail line, numerous multibillion-dollar bond bills, and a proposal to make Massachusetts community colleges tuition-free.
- To raise cash, he has proposed increasing business taxes, allowing the commonwealth to increase borrowing, and opening state-run casinos -- the last overwhelmingly rejected by the legislature in March.
- His January budget plan uses nearly $500 million from the commonwealth's rainy day fund and includes a $1.3 billion structural deficit -- after a year of record tax receipts.
Then there's Patrick's wholesale sellout to the unions:
- Fifteen of the 20 most generous PACs in Massachusetts are labor organizations and they contributed heavily to Patrick's campaign; repayment began quickly.
- After the state Labor Relations Commission acted against the Boston Teachers Union for threatening an illegal strike, Patrick eliminated the commission from his state budget.
- Then in September, he granted a big union wish, signing legislation allowing public employees to unionize without a secret ballot election.
If Deval Patrick is indeed a preview of Barack Obama, the lesson is: Let the buyer beware, say Chieppo and Stergios.
Source: Charles Chieppo and Jim Stergios, "The Politics of Hope, Take One," Weekly Standard, April 14, 2008.
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