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Massachusetts' Mini-Barack Strikes Again

Ever since he burst on the political scene, Massachusetts' Deval Patrick has been likened to Barack Obama. The two men have been political allies, and I've thought of Patrick as the "Beta release" of Obama.

The parallels go beyond "charismatic, well-spoken good-looking black men with slender records of accomplishment and vague promises elected to executive office." Patrick was a corporate lawyer, most often brought in to help big businesses deal with racial or minority issues. Apart from that, he also spent a bit of time serving on the Board of Directors of AmeriQuest Mortgage -- probably the most infamous name in the "predatory lenders" scandal.

There was also a bit of a kerfuffle when it was noted that in 2008's campaign, Obama was using a few phrases and ideas that Patrick had used in his 2006 run for Massachusetts governor. This blew over, however, when it came out that the two men had a shared speechwriter, and Patrick said he'd encouraged Obama to borrow the ideas.

Well, now we're seeing yet another case of these two guys sharing a single wit. (The more mathematically-minded among you should pick up on the subtexted insult there.) And that's in their recent attacks on some of their opponents.

For some reason, President Obama has decided to pick up on a bullshit charge pushed by a bullshit leftist blog and accuse the American Chamber of Commerce of taking foreign money to "subvert" American democracy. They've taken the incredible leap from "the Chamber has some foreign-based members who pay dues" to "the Chamber is a bought-and-paid-for tool of foreign interests." When challenged on this point, Obama and his proxies (Robert Gibbs and Joe Biden, just to name two) have challenged the Chamber to prove that they're NOT tools of foreign interests.

Similarly, in Massachusetts, Deval Patrick is facing a tough re-election challenge. The Republican nominee, Charlie Baker, served for some time as the state's Chief Budget Officer in the 1990's. And during that time, the infamous Big Dig project (which took almost 20 years, officially finished in 2007, and the costs shot from initial estimates of 2 billion to almost 22 billion and still counting) kept costing more and more and more money.

Cue the Patrick re-election campaign. If Baker was Chief Budget Officer and the Big Dig's costs skyrocketed, then obviously he was responsible for those cost hikes, right?

That one turned out to be even too much for the Boston Globe (who has been his biggest cheerleader) to swallow, and they had to publish a report that the Patrick campaign couldn't actually tie Baker to any Big Dig shenanigans (which was completely controlled by the Democratically-owned legislature, and the governor only got any say after a driver was killed).

The Patrick campaign's defense seems quite familiar: we don't have to prove our accusations; they have to prove they're false.

Which harkens me back to a story -- probably apocryphal -- about Lyndon Johnson, early in his political career. He was facing a tough fight, and he suggested something similar -- as related by the late, great Hunter S. Thompson:

And his sense of the bizarre knows no bounds, as in this 'ancient and honourable' story of how Lyndon Johnson first got elected to Congress in 1948 when his opponent was a wealthy and politically favoured pig farmer: 'Lyndon was running about 10 points behind, with only nine days to go... He was sunk in despair. He was desperate... he called his equally depressed campaign manager and instructed him to call a press conference at two or two-thirty ( just after lunch on a slow news day) and accuse his high-riding opponent (the pig farmer) of having routine carnal knowledge of his barnyard sows, despite the pleas of his wife and children... His campaign manager was shocked. 'We can't say that, Lyndon,' he said. 'It's not true.' 'Of course it's not,' Johnson barked at him, 'but let's make the bastard deny it.'

Scumbag politics 101: make an outrageous charge, then call upon the target to disprove it. It's not that different from the "racist" and "puppets of big money interests" charges against the Tea Party.

Fortunately, it's been so overused that it's utterly transparent.

Can't these tools come up with anything original?


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Comments (28)

the infamous Big Dig pro... (Below threshold)
galoob:

the infamous Big Dig project (which took almost 20 years, officially finished in 2007, and the costs shot from initial estimates of 2 billion to almost 22 billion and still counting)

BFD. The Big Dig provided 20 years of American jobs and a better transportation system for a major American city.

And it cost less than what the USA burns up in two months of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/26/AR2007122601542.html

Not only did the Bay State ... (Below threshold)
Stan:

Not only did the Bay State legislature have control of the Big Dig, the Kennedy family had a lot to say what went on about that project. If it had not been for Teddy, the project would have never been funded in the first place.

As for Lyndon Johnson, he was a freshman Congressman from Texas starting in 1937. He was also in the Naval Reserve during this time and made a trip to the South Pacific, against Franklin Roosevelt's expressed wishes.
http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAjohnsonLB.htm

"BFD. The Big Dig provided ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"BFD. The Big Dig provided 20 years of American jobs and a better transportation system for a major American city."

Yeah, you stupid fucking shit! IT IS A BFD!
It was sold to the American taxpayer by Splash Manslaughter Kennedy at a bargain price of $2 Billion dollars. But that's before all the union payoffs/skimming began.

Shove your head back up your ass so that you don't know what's going on around you.

Clearly, galoob, the concep... (Below threshold)
Jeff Medcalf:

Clearly, galoob, the concept of opportunity costs goes over your head.

Clearly, galoob, the con... (Below threshold)
galoob:

Clearly, galoob, the concept of opportunity costs goes over your head.

I think that "opportunity cost" was my point. $22 billion was spent and you got the Ted Williams Tunnel, the Zakim Bridge and the O'Neill tunnel. The largest highway and tunnel project in the history of the USA. I've driven through it, it's impressive. It will be around as long as we have cars in the USA.

If you spent the money we use to bribe Taliban to allow convoys run by Paki contractors moving Gulf Arab fuel and to build roads in Afghanistan in the USA, how many American cities would be improved and how many American jobs created? What about that opportunity cost?

So galoob if this is such a... (Below threshold)
John:

So galoob if this is such a great project why is Patrick not standing up and taking credit for it? If it is such a great thing why is a democrat politican trying to hang it around his opponents neck?

So galoob if this is suc... (Below threshold)
galoob:

So galoob if this is such a great project why is Patrick not standing up and taking credit for it? If it is such a great thing why is a democrat politican trying to hang it around his opponents neck?

'Cause Patrick's full of shit. There's going to be some waste and mismanagement in any large project. Baker probably did as well as can be expected.

I just disagree with JT factual premises, but probably agree with the ultimate conclusion.

It's just that JT can't say that "the Big Dig was a worthy project" while at the same time he says "war is good for the economy." Big Dig bashing and war glorification are two canons of faith among right-wing nutbars. It's OK to spend billions on highway projects in Iraq and Afghanistan, just not in the USA.

"The Big Dig provided 20... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"The Big Dig provided 20 years of [government] jobs...."

There, fixed it.

"There's going to be some waste and mismanagement in any large project."

$20b worth cost overruns, waste and mismanagement? BFD, right?

"[The Big Dig] cost less... (Below threshold)
John S:

"[The Big Dig] cost less than what the USA burns up in two months of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Or what the Obama administration borrows in a SINGLE DAY. And all that gets us is double digit unemployment. And death panels.

I find it odd that such a g... (Below threshold)
John:

I find it odd that such a great project has no fathers, you know the old saying success has many fathers, failure is an orphan. I would say that the actions of the politicians in MA speak volumes about the popularity of the big dig.

Galoob, we spend way... (Below threshold)
914:


Galoob, we spend way more on roads and highways here then in Afpoppystan. Get your head outta your ass and smell the roses.. Or at least pull it out of your ass.

One more likely similarity:... (Below threshold)
Sean P:

One more likely similarity:

Patrick appears poised to narrowly win re-election in Massachusetts. I predict that in November 2012 Barak Obama will also narrowly win the election. Well, in Massachusetts, anyway.

The Big Dig is a Big Divers... (Below threshold)
Constitution First:

The Big Dig is a Big Diversion, Mini-Me has nothing else to run with.

Yeah, the Big-Pig has been a past, present and future, on-going disaster, but a diversion none-the-less. A Democrat contrived and owned boondoggle.

It's a complete joke to think the poor taxpayers of The Peoples Republic of Taxachussetts don't know who's to blame for twenty years of cost over-runs and shoddy workmanship of this Union milk-cow.

A Vote for Charlie, is a vote for US!

Keep your eyes on the prize, comrades!

The similarities between Pa... (Below threshold)
Hank:

The similarities between Patrick and Nobama are incredible.

Neither has done what they promised.
Both act like they're royalty.
Both will say absolutely anything anytime and they seem to believe what they say.
Neither knows how to to govern but both are excellent in debates.
Both will leave behind a legacy of ineptitude.
Both will leave behind fiscal disasters.
Both employ Axlerod.

The only difference so far, is that Patrick had the nerve to say he was the real "outsider" in the race. Right. Gov for 4 years and he's the outsider.

Oh yeah, And Patrick seems to have cut a deal with Cahill to peel off votes from Baker while running as a 3rd candidate.

As for blaming Baker for the Big Dig finances, that's Patricks way of blaming someone else for the fiscal mess he created.

One thing's for sure, nobod... (Below threshold)
galoob:

One thing's for sure, nobody here has any good idea what the efficient cost of the Big Dig would be, if it were managed perfectly. Somewhere between 2 and 20 billion, probably.

Of course, there's been a lot of fraud and kickbacks in the hundreds of billions spent on the wars, but right-wing nutbars and Tea partiers never seem to care about those ripoffs, because they hate American union workers more than the Taliban or Gulf Arab sheikhs.

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE63B5GS20100412

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303960604575158220281487044.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a5nJIzM1zs.M

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dcnow/2010/06/us-contractors-bribing-afghan-taliban-for-safe-passage-house-probe-finds-.html

The biggest rip off has bee... (Below threshold)
914:

The biggest rip off has been Barry creating more debt then all of the past presidents combined!!

No matter how you spin it Galoob, you and leftards own it!

galoob you seem to be sayin... (Below threshold)
John:

galoob you seem to be saying that government has a problem with fraud, waste and ineffeciency, if that's the case shouldn't they control less not more?

galoob you seem to be sa... (Below threshold)
galoob:

galoob you seem to be saying that government has a problem with fraud, waste and ineffeciency, if that's the case shouldn't they control less not more?

I agree. Stop the wars in the Middle East. Stop the War on Drugs, too. End the federal government police and surveillance state, cut the military and make its job defense of America, not establishing world hegemony.

Make all roads toll roads so that people who use them pay for them. You could privatize roads in the way that "turnpikes" in early America were privatized.

End the public school system but guarantee a tax credit to enable every child's parent to be able to pay for an education through college or technical/vocational school.

End farm subsidies, end subsidies to sports stadiums. That's a start.

galoob has earned his pay t... (Below threshold)

galoob has earned his pay today -- look how he's changed the subject away from the Democrats' tactic of "let's just make up horrible political attacks and force the other side to prove their innocence."

Well done, galoob.

J.

galoob has earned his pa... (Below threshold)
galoob:

galoob has earned his pay today -- look how he's changed the subject away from the Democrats' tactic of "let's just make up horrible political attacks and force the other side to prove their innocence."

Hey, I agreed with you JT. I said Patrick "was full of shit." I even said Baker did as good a job as could be on the Big Dig.

Sorry if I didn't clap with your desired degree of enthusiasm, like the North Korean People's Assembly listening to a Kim Jong Il speech.

Sorry I didn't hear your go... (Below threshold)

Sorry I didn't hear your golf clapping, galoob. I was distracted by your "hey, look over there!" gesticulating over your pet issues.

Take it as a compliment on your ability to derail a topic to your own diversions.

Didn't you notice I actually phrased it as a compliment, and didn't threaten to ban you over it?

J.

galoob wanting LESS governm... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

galoob wanting LESS government intrusion? What's his Obamassiah going to say about that?

Next thing you know, galoob... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Next thing you know, galoob will be calling ObamaCare a farce.

Is the world imploding?

ObamaCare is a farce, a hug... (Below threshold)
galoob:

ObamaCare is a farce, a huge sell out and guaranteed subsidy to insurance companies and medical corporations.

The dems love flip floppers... (Below threshold)
914:

The dems love flip floppers galoob.. Good job!!

Typical Fascist tactic. Acc... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Typical Fascist tactic. Accuse someone and let them prove they aren't guilty after about three years in prison. Democrats are digging themselves and millions of other Americans a grave to be filled as soon as the first shot is fired.

.... Can't these tools come... (Below threshold)

.... Can't these tools come up with anything original ....?

There's a better chance that hapless pair and Plugs Biden and Robert Gibbs'd raise more than a pair of wits among the four of them!

Doesn't anyone find it stra... (Below threshold)
olsoljer:

Doesn't anyone find it strange how easily we accept "cost over rides, mismanagement, waste"?

Can anyone here spell responsibility, accountability, or contractual obligations?

Why bother putting a project up for bid, when the cost is open ended, and the contractor essentially has carte blanche?

Just another example of an endless pit our tax dollars are being poured down.




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