By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Patrick’s latest woes

Here’s one good thing that will likely come out of the latest revelation about Deval Patrick: If he hangs on and wins the governor’s race, he’s not going to begin his 2012 presidential campaign the next day.

The Boston Herald’s Dave Wedge reports today that Patrick spent at least part of his time in the Clinton administration sending letters to prison officials around the country telling them to stop serving meals to inmates that were too hot or too cold, and to make sure their sheets were cleaned three times a week.

Now, I don’t want to get sucked into the Herald’s faux-populist inmate-bashing. Criminals are sent to prison to do time — not to be shackled in airless closets 24 hours a day and fed nothing but bread and water. There is supposed to be a rehabilitative aspect to being locked up, after all.

But, at least on the face of it, the Herald’s reporting suggests that Patrick’s values are out of whack with those of most people. I’m glad he was looking out for the legitimate rights of prison inmates, but this does seem to go quite a bit too far, no?

The next poll is going to be pretty interesting. Patrick was ahead by 25 points a couple of weeks ago, but that was before Kerry Healey and her supporters started blasting him as a criminal-coddling weenie.

In today’s Boston Globe, Frank Phillips writes, unsurprisingly, that the Patrick campaign believes Healey’s attacks aren’t working, and that the Healey campaign believes they are.

Might we be getting the results of another poll this Sunday?

Update: Patrick’s lead has shrunk considerably, according to the latest “fast track” poll from WBZ-TV (Channel 4).

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  1. Anonymous

    WBZ Radio says it will have it’s latest “Fast Track” poll at 3 PM TODAY.

  2. mike_b1

    Dan, I would say it depends on what the laws state. If the laws state that linens must be cleaned 3x a week, for example, then why shouldn’t Patrick have asserted the federal government’s authority in such matters? After all, he was Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. And did he personally write them, or did correspondence go out under his name?Seems to me we complain about lack of oversight … until, that is, something actually starts paying attention. Then we criticize them for being too hands-on.Where’s the happy medium? And which side would you err on?

  3. paul

    Looks like we now know what the next four weeks are going to be like. Healey’s campaign will be leaking stuff about Patrick to the media and we’ll see if the voters recoil in horror at what they see or are turned off by Healey’s Willie Horton campaign tactics. What this has to do with running the state for the next four years and Ms. Healey’s qualifications is an interesting question.

  4. bostonph

    I can only speakk from personal experience, but the last round of Healey ads, coupled with the slime over on HubPolitics, shoved me from undecided to firmly pro-Patrick. And no, it has nothing to do with white guilt. Just a growing realization that Healey has nothing to say. -Paulp.s. Why do so many of the Healey supporters on HubPolitics feel compelled to bash the state? Is calling the state mASS funny to anybody besides 12 year olds?

  5. Anonymous

    “This seems to go quite a bit too far, no?”If you’re trying to send the message to local prison officials that they’re being watched, I don’t think it’s going too far. If the feds are going to make a fuss about meals and exercise equipment, they will presumably take strong action in the case of overcrowded cells, physical abuse of prisoners, etc.Objecting to the particulars of Patrick’s complaints seems like dismissing the Bush adminstration’s eroding of constitutional protections: “They haven’t done anything that outrageous yet, so let’s just wait and see if they do.”

  6. Anonymous

    Obvious point, but doesn’t Patrick just need to stand up and clearly rebut, like Kerry needed to do with the swiftboaters?He was doing his job, period. There is nothing to run or shy away from here. If he doesn’t stand up and denounce these ads with the facts, though, they could work.

  7. Anonymous

    I have been too cynical to post on anything lately, even on some surprising positions by DK in some posts. Yet this election talk is not addressing a couple of important points. Just like everone’s ‘favorite mayor’ likes to say, a couple of things have been frying up my nose:Things seem to have unfurled the way Entercom and The Herald wanted. They wanted Patrick in so they can destroy him.No one is addressing the important issue of equal access and equal time for candidates from differing camps. Healy is getting a lot more time and boosting from RKO than Deval does and that seems to be a very unfair advantage. WRKO is hiding under a media label but its help is no more than campaign contribution and collaboration. If Deval is offered time, he should take it. He cannot act pissy and snob WRKO. He HAS to take the offers when they come in to counter the criticism. He has to stand up to callers and not look afraid.Whether WRKO offers him the same opportunities is not clear. They say they do. But Deval is not there. He has to be. Otherwise, there is a serious campagn issue, legally speaking. Whatever happened to the fairness doctrine? Was that swept under the new post-2000 Powell FCC ???I wrote a long time ago that the smart money was on Gabrielli. The guilty or warm-and-fuzzy money was on Deval. If you wanted Dems to transition the Corner Office to their hands more strategically, you had to do it with someone who falls in the middle. Howie Carr woted for Chris the Trash Guy. That’s what you need. Whether black or white or green or purple, you need someone who takes ALL voters in consideration.The 25 lead of any dem over Healey is not a by-product of Dem popularity but rather Kerry inherent weakness. She is a weak candidate, one that does not inspire confidence or strength. She is the default candidate.She is a decent person, a hard-worker and a likeable person. But she isn’t ‘it.’ Without her hubby’s mountains of money she wouldn’t be NEARLY as viable of a candidate.She is weak and she isn’t talking about herself or anything really great or groundbreaking in mind to gain votersand excitement to her side; she is going negative.RKO is happy to oblige. This just reinforces the fact that that station and company is full of dirtbags, from Depetro to Miller to Todd to Gerry to Julie and Jason.Howie as much of a fascist that he sounds, is more valuable and belongs on the air. He is a proven reporter, an entertaining host and a smart knowledgable local guy. His problem is honesty. If only he could direct people to think better and cut the smokescreens from his show and column, he would be a lot more useful to people rather than just firing up people of false and exagerated pretenses. Does that make him another dirtbag? Most probably. But he is the best hope among that rotten bunch. He still had the guts to go after Irish gangsters and others, after a lot of corruption, after union shenanigans and after a lot of other nonsense. Yet when he builds up the half percent tax issue as monumental or paints Deval as a crime-tolerating, Dukakis re-incarnate, you know its more fear-mongering than honesty.The tax issue is utterly irrelevant. It adds up to peanuts and it isn’t what makes or breaks this state. If you are a moderate-income taxpayer, it is literally irrelevant. If you are a high earner, your accountant will know how to deflect that and if you paid the full tax bill, it ain’t bankrupting you nor the reaosn why you’d leave the state, another smokescreen that is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.It is silly….5%…5.5%…6%…or even 3%. It doesn’t matter. This is a great state and has many other ways to make money. We have tech and fiancial companies other states and countries only dream of having. We could make a lot more money in tourism and entertainment and other sectors that are undertapped and we have a bunch of hacks from all parties bickering about HALF a percent?? How embarrassing is that! How classless! How clueless!We still have one of the LOWEST (5%) sales tax rates in the country , no Sales tax on food or clothing which other states DO tax and relatively low property taxes. Maine, NH and RI have ranked less friendlier in tax comparisons yet, we still insult Mass at every passage.Idiotic!Why doesn’t Howie Carr move to another state. Why hasn’t he worked and owned many properties in other New England states? He knows where the bacon is, that’s why.NH would be worthless if it were not bordering Mass. They would have NOTHING, except a gorgeous state nature-wise and good decent people but a DEARTH of economic resources. NH lives on Mass shoppers, schools and jobs. Work in mass and sleep in NH. All these pick-up trucks registered in NH belonging to contractors raking in tons of money in Mass all day and then heading up north for the night call Howie and bash the heck out it.Enough of the insults already!Another fear-mongering idiotic subject is immigration. Howie wants you to think Deval is going to give free tuition to illegals. That is BS. Such a non-issue.Illegals can go into elementary schools and high-schools but they can’t get admitted into colleges without proper docs.So the issue is academic, no pun-intended.Even if they were to pay not only out-of-state rates, but foreign students rates -the most expensive- they still couldn’t get in, especially in a post-9/11 climate.It is moot and smart people like Howie should know better. I don’t excpet dumb bells like Depetro to.It is simply an issue to string people along and scare them.Utterly devisive and misleading!I never thought Deval to be a very strong candidate. He is a good guy, smart guy, accomplished honest man. But so is Reilly. So is Mihos. So was Jill Stein, Harshbarger and many other good candidates. Deval isn’t great leadership material. He is no Colin Powell. He is no Rangel. But he has to prove he is no Kerry either, i.e he can’t duck and not respond.Deval wouldn’t be detrimental to crime; that is a falsehood and a smear. Romeny/Healey era has been a lot more instrumental to crime spiking in these areas. We still have healthy and great police corps in the state, from State to Cambridge PD to Boston PD. A few apples are bound to fall off the tree but that is a human problem, not a Mass problem.Cambridge has the benefit of smaller trouble areas and the help of many college police forces -mostly retired ex-cops- to help harness the area, from HU to MIT and even BU which helps track crime coming through the bridges.Boston PD on the other hand suffers from a numbers game: not enough officers for the much bigger population and trouble spots. Therefore, Romney-Healy cuts are lot more relevant to increasing crime than any “free spending” liberal ever will.Truth is, it doesn’t matter who is in the corner office: NOTHING drastic will change. The state is effectively locked in place. The legislators will do what they will. You’d have to undo a lot of things at different levels -from courts to party ranks to unions to patronage jobs all over the state gov- before you can make politics in Mass less predictable and more at the mercy of WHO is actually governor. Right now, it is merely a pride contest. Not until we have term limits on Reps, as much as Koutoujian and others would hate that, nothing will change much.Looking at the Governor’s seat or Mayor of Boston, people want a great leader, a great face for either entities to inspire and lead and think of meaningful ways to be relevant and vibrant and attrct residents or even visitors and businesses. Romney had that factor. It helped him get elected and he bolted.Electing hacks hasn’t and isn’t going to inspire at all. It’s merely going through the motions.The governor’s ability to appoint a Senator was one of the few relevant powers. Beacon Hill closed that little keyhole. So it’s all academic. The only hope is that people aren’t too cynical to even care to vote. That is still important to at least keep a civics pulse in spite of all. People all around the nation are leaning Democrat so as to send a message about GOP discontent. That stacks the deck high against Kerry off the gate. Whether she can undo that out of her own competence and not smear, is an open matter. N.

  8. Anonymous

    “There is supposed to be a rehabilitative aspect to being locked up, after all.”Bahahahahaha! My God, Dan – you’re even more of a naive liberal than I thought.

  9. mike_b1

    No doubt his handlers are telling him to stay above it and not lose focus on the big picture, which is his vision for the state (one which which, obviously, Healey doesn’t have. Her whole game plan is “I’m not Mitt.” Wow.).

  10. mike from norwell

    One thing that the Globe touched on yesterday, but hasn’t been brought up much, is the mortgage levels Patrick is facing and how he got such sweetheart loans. Seems kind of a stretch that any reasonable bank would overlook securing a $1.28m mortgage for two years.Globe Story$5.95m is a pretty big nut to be carrying, even if your wife is a law partner at Ropes and Gray. Kind of makes Celluci’s credit card woes seem like small potatoes (and if one was cynical, may explain why Patrick is focusing more on property tax relief than income tax rollbacks).

  11. metallicaMobes

    I love how all of a sudden the Mass Dems are decrying the “fear-mongering” and “smear campaign” “Republican playbook” politics, as if cutting and negative ads pointing to legitmate terrible judgement calls by Patrick are somehow “bad” for America. Also, if anyone “doesn’t have anything to say” in this race (at least so far), it’s Deval Patrick. He’s running on vague generalizations of “hope” and “bringing people together.” I mean, I know candidates have to throw out catch phrases during campaigns, but they’re not supposed to be the actual platforms!(it’s good to be back, btw, enjoying the blog, Prof Kennedy)

  12. mike_b1

    We’re not all decrying them, metallicambobes. Some of us are too busy laughing at the national meltdown of the “compassionate conservatives,” let by one Mark Foley. hahahahaha

  13. bostonph

    Metallicambobes, you’re kinda missing the point. Healey needed to position herself as something other than as an “agent of change.” Last I checked, she was part of the Romney/Healey administration. If she had some grand vision and it didn’t get implemented, I wanted to hear why. Instead she spent her time either bashing Deval or claiming to be just like him. Her one “positive” commercial was the worst of them all. In fairness, HubPolitics helped with my attitude change. I know Kerry Healey’s not responsible for them, but I found the Margolis twins’ attacks on Deval and his supports so disgusting that I took another look.

  14. Anonymous

    N, we liked you better cynical.

  15. Anonymous

    Paul Said:> Paul said… “Looks like we now know what the next four weeks are going to be like. Healey’s campaign will be leaking stuff about Patrick to the media”Leak? WHy do you characterize it like it’s a sneaky thing?She’s got something on Deval and she is going to get the word out.Nothing sneaky (or leaky) about it.

  16. Anonymous

    At least HubPolitics is honest enough to admit they’re Republicans.Scott Allen Miller is now so involved in Kerry Healey’s campaign he’s going to be handing out “Free ‘Em All Devall” bumper stickers at a WRKO event. So much for all his self-pitying “why are you picking on me, I’m a Democrat” BS on here. Can you say “pathological liar?”I can’t believe I actually used to listen to that guy. What a schmuck.

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