Thursday, April 14, 2005

Patrick Announces

First he settled on a campaign manager, then he got an infusion of cash, and now it's official: Deval Patrick is running for governor. From that article:

His team has designed a red, black, and white bumper sticker bearing his campaign theme "Believe Again." Patrick's pitch is expected to tout "his life experience." A business executive and top Justice Department official, he is the son of a woman on welfare from Chicago's south side who won a scholarship to Milton Academy and went on to Harvard University for undergraduate and law degrees.
It's true, Deval Patrick has a compelling life story and seems sincere about wanting to, as he said last month, "revive a sense of civic engagement." I think that his theme "believe again" should resonate with suburban voters and others who have grown disenchanted with Beacon Hill politics. That's important because Romney won on his strength in the suburbs, in part because the suburbs are more Repubican, but just as much because he was a charismatic outsider -- much like Patrick this cycle.

At some point, though, being a charismatic outsider is not going to be enough. Progressive Democrats have touted Patrick as their pick for 2006, but I have yet to see that reflected in the positions that Patrick, Reilly or Galvin have taken on the issues. In fact, Patrick devotes no space to actual issues on his website. Don't get me wrong, his site is very good as an introduction to Patrick the person and as a place to get involved with his campaign. It does not, however, put any emphasis on where Patrick stands on any issue that might be important to the voters of Massachusetts. This is a mistake, I think, because as people find out more about Patrick they are going to be as interested in where he stands as who he is, particularly on where he stands in relation to the other candidates given that he has no record in Massachusetts politics.

Granted, the website and the campaign debuted this morning, so the Patrick team will have plenty of time to discuss issues. Still, Patrick's life story is not going to be enough to differentiate himself from his competition. At some point he's going to have to let the public know where he stands, or at least make it easy for them to find out.