The Bay State's black population hovers around 6 percent, so it was a victory for the "post-racial' era when Deval Patrick won the governorship in 2006. It was done largely on a message of hope and change. If it sounds familiar, it's because David Axelrod, senior advisor to the president, was a top consultant for the Patrick campaign. Axelrod freely admits he road-tested the hope and change message in that campaign before taking it national. What happened following the election is instructive. Partick saw it as a mandate and ran left. The populace didn't follow (even in Massachusetts). A series of PR blunders didn't help, and his approval rating promptly fell to 40 percent. Last month, a poll by Suffolk University found only 29 percent of voters think Patrick should be re-elected, with 56 percent saying it's time for someone else.
Remember, Massachusetts is the land of universal health insurance ... and also the highest premiums in the country. Granted, the plan was enacted by Mitt Romney, his Republican predecessor. But Patrick is its biggest cheerleader, writing in The Wall Street Journal recently that it's a model of reform for the rest of the country. Supporters and colleagues (not to mention the opposition) have doubts. Wendy Button, former health care speech writer for John Edwards, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, had the fish scales fall from her eyes when she tried to purchase coverage. From PoliticsDaily.com:
"What makes this a double blow is that my experience contradicts so much of what I wrote for political leaders over the last decade. That's a terrible feeling, too. I typed line after line that said everything Massachusetts did would make health insurance more affordable. If I had a dollar for every time I typed, "universal coverage will lower premiums," I could pay for my own health care at Massachusetts's rates.
Voter revolt at -- among other things -- health care reform that guaranteed coverage while sending premiums through the roof. Patrick is shaping up to be a one-term chief executive. Will Obama follow suit?