Monday, September 19, 2005

Deval Patrick on WGBH

I know it's Health Care Week, but I'll have to admit, I'm a little behind on my homework. I was hoping that gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick would mention something about health care on his appearance today on Greater Boston with Emily Rooney, but he only made brief mention of the issue. Toward the end of the interview, Rooney asked Patrick about his campaign finance situation, mentioning that he would have to have enough money to get ads on TV. Here was what Patrick had to say about that:

We know we have to raise the money to be competitive on TV, and we will have it when the time comes. We'll need that next summer. What it's mostly about, and what it hasn't been about for too long, is a grassroots organization -- going directly to people where they live and where they are inside. And making an appeal to them for why it matters for them to see this as their government, to see my candidacy as their candidacy. We have 2000 volunteers so far, and we add to that number every week. By the time of the caucuses in February, we will have a captain in every single one of the 2157 precincts in the state. They will each have a handful of coordinators to help by neighborhood, ward or block as the case may be.
The important thing to take away here is that Patrick is focusing his efforts on organization. This is something that Democrats have failed to do for about twenty years here in Massachusetts. The Mass Dems never adapted from the city machine model when people started to drift out of cities and into the suburbs. For some reason it's taken them this long to try to assemble an outreach effort that reflected the state's changing demographics. All the TV money in the world isn't a substitute for face-to-face voter contact. It's good to see that at least one candidate, and the party as a whole are addressing this.

Later in the interview, Rooney asked Patrick if he'd rather face Governor Romney, or Lieutennant Governor Kerry Healey. Here was his response:
Doesn't matter to me, and I'll tell you why. Because it's just not about the chess game of politics -- that can't be -- that's what it's been about for too long. It's about a completely different vision for government. It's about a vision of government not about it being big or small, that's a silly dichotomy. It's about a vision for government that is active and engaged. That is effective and efficient. That is compassionate, and reflects the best of what we are and who we are in Massachusetts.
This is why, I think Patrick has been gaining traction among a certain section of Democrats. He's the only one talking about effective and responsive government, something we've been sorely lacking in Massachusetts for a long time.