NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

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.

For text:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/014/953exafy.asp 

 

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