October 24, 2006

Free Ride

As Election Day approaches, it occurs to me that I still have more or less no idea what Deval Patrick would be like as Governor of Massachusetts. It seems as though the local media and much of the punditry is content to issue Deval a free ride when it comes to attempting to ascertain what Deval Patrick would be like as governor. Sure, the Healey Campaign has been running ads depicting what Deval ‘s stances on issues are, but I haven’t heard Deval himself confirm or deny any of the charges. It would be nice if someone could get Deval to answer a question directly about issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants for example. In the debates, Deval has a way sounding generally positive and uplifting when answering a question, but by the end of his explanation I am left wondering what the original question was. Even the Independent chatterbox, Christy Mihos, has been very clear on matters of illegal immigrants rights and privileges by categorically denying any to Illegal immigrants because yes, they are illegal. When speaking on the same topic, Deval’s stance is, shall we say…more nebulous. I for one don’t think that it is too much too ask, to have a candidate give clear, obfuscation-free answers to important matters.

Kerry Healey is the only candidate to have signed the no new tax pledge. I imagine that Deval would have some flowery and pleasant sounding rhetoric for one to listen to if asked about the no new tax pledge, but surely there are very few residents of the Bay State deluding themselves into believing that Deval Patrick would not raise taxes. Not that Deval would ever come out and say that he will raise taxes though, he would rather simply avoid any issue in which or about which, he is not seen in a favorable light. In the most recent debate hosted by David Gergen at Faneuil Hall, Healey managed to get a word in edgewise when she confronted Deval on taxes. She said, "You should be honest about it, you are liberal. You are going to raise taxes." Rather than deny that charge, Deval tried to change the topic slightly by accusing Healey of using “the right-wing Republican playbook.” As usual, other candidates chimed in and Deval managed to evade directly answering the charge of raising taxes. It simply is not in Mr. Patrick’s interest to come out and clearly articulate his positions on certain issues. And it is also not in Mr. Patrick’s interest to participate in a one-on-one debate with the second most popular candidate, Kerry Healey when he can just sit back and enjoy the near circus like atmosphere that is produced in a four person squabble in which the general public ends up more confused than some of the candidates seem to be.

With exactly two weeks to go until elections what I have heard from Deval amounts to a series of political platitudes, feel good slogans, and a continuous griping over the “negativity” of Healey’s campaign ads. I genuinely hope that Massachusetts voters are able to learn what Deval would be like as governor before he coasts into office. An excellent opportunity for Deval to tackle his own vagueness has arisen with Kerry’s Healey’s repeated calls for a one-on-one debate. I understand the strategy behind Deval’s refusal to debate Healey one-on-one, but I don’t buy his explanation for a second. On this matter of one-on-one debates Patrick’s position is that, “It would be unfair to exclude other candidates.” It is clear that Deval is simply hiding behind this argument of fundamental fairness, when in reality he knows that it is not in his best interest to engage in a one-on-one debate under any circumstances. He knows that a one-on-one debate would give Healey a chance to explain herself uninterrupted by charlatans, and it would likely mean that he (Deval) would to have to directly answer questions without the distractions and the overall confusion found in of a four-way debate. I have a very simple solution if in fact Deval is serious about wanting to let all candidates speak as his only reason for wanting four way debates exclusively. The answer is to have additional one-on-one debates as well as the remaining multi-candidate debates, which are by the way, of almost no use to the voters at this point. That Deval won't do this tells me that he is afraid of something, because surely the other two minor candidates have been able to get their message(s) across by now. I sincerely hope that in the next two weeks Deval can do something meaningful (like a one-on-one debate) to clear up some of the ambiguity of his stances, for the sake of all voters. If Deval fails to answer the one-on-one debate challenge of his main competitor and simply coasts into the Governorship with the unabashed aegis of local liberal media, never sufficiently explaining himself on a variety of issues, I for one cannot respect him as my governor.

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