Is Deval Patrick already running for president?
Putting aside the
policy merits (and/or demerits) of Gov. Patrick's call for $1.9 billion in tax
increases, doesn't it strike you that there’s something else at work here? The
keeps popping up in in many press accounts of Patrick’s
tax plan, i.e., the governor apparently yearns to leave a liberal “legacy”
after his second and final term ends in two years. But there’s also persistent
reports he’s eyeing a run for president in 2016, as delusional as that may seem
to some, and this overall tax plan sure looks like a big sop to the Democratic
primary base, especially the $500 million boost in education funding. Teachers
love the plan and teachers are … Well, you know where that’s going.
part of his plan I get, and sort of agree with in broad policy terms, though I
despise the idea of raising Turnpike tolls to now effectively and openly pay
for transportation projects across the state. Saddling Turnpike users with huge
toll increases to pay for the Big Dig was bad enough. Now Turnpike users are going
to pay even more for other projects? It’s time to force others to start paying a similar share of the burden. Yet, despite that genuine concern, there’s little doubt our transportation infrastructure
is in awful shape and needs more revenue to fix it.
But the education
component of Patrick’s tax plan has seemingly come out of the blue. It looks
very suspicious as a result – and it reminds me of Mitt Romney lurching away
from the political center when he was eyeing a run for president while governor
last decade. Deval is merely lurching in the opposite political direction. He’s
pursuing a “legacy” all right. It might also be described as “laying the
groundwork” at the same time.