Several months ago, I wrote about "The Coming Defeat of Deval Patrick" in Massachusetts' gubernatorial race. Now that Deval Patrick has just been reelected—he got 49 percent of the vote vs. GOP nominee Charlie Baker's 42 percent and 8 percent for independent candidate Tim Cahill—I guess I have a bit off egg on my face. And for one simple reason: I underestimated the GOP's ability to blow what should have been an easy election.[Deval Patrick Reelected Mass. Governor, Wins Cambridge and Boston, Harvard Crimson, November 3, 2010] [VDARE.com note: An almost all-Harvard Election!—Deval L. Patrick '78, Charles D. Baker '79,Green-Rainbow Party candidate Jill E. Stein '73. Irish Catholic Independent Timothy P. Cahill went to Boston University, while working as a security guard and wrestling coach in Quincy, Massachusetts.]
The truth is that over the past four years, there has been a palpable sense of embarrassment among Bay State liberals for having electing an inexperienced black radical who occasionally tries to pass himself off as a post-racial leader (This might sound familiar).
Last spring, one poll gave Deval Patrick only a 29% approval rating, making him America's most unpopular governor. He was struggling to raise money and had even begun to bore those white liberals who once cheered so loudly for him (This might also sound familiar).
You would think that, given Deval Patrick's unpopularity, the GOP could capture the governorship simply by turning the Brown voters out again ten months later.
But that didn't happen. Here's my two cents on why:
It's impossible overstate the following necessity about running in Massachusetts, and elsewhere in New England: a successful candidate has to define himself as someone who will lead and vote independent of party. This is true for Democrats, and it is doubly true for Republicans.
Former Governor William Weld was very good at projecting himself as an independent Republican, which is why he was reelected with 71% of the vote in 1994, the largest gubernatorial landslide in state history.
Just to the north in New Hampshire, Governor John Lynch remains a popular Democrat despite the state's well-known antipathy to taxation and big government.
When Deval Patrick gave Massachusetts a partial sales tax holiday last August, Governor Lynch even appeared on television and ridiculed the idea:
"We felt that it was important to remind our friends to the south that we offer sales tax free shopping every day of the year . . . Customers should be able to shop on their time, not just on days dictated by the state government." [Lynch: Tax-free shopping every day in NH, August 13, 2010]
Ouch! Obviously, a Democratic governor would not normally slap down a neighboring Democrat in the midst of election season. But that kind of independence sells well in these parts—which is why Lynch was re-elected in New Hampshire when many other Democrats there were defeated.
Another important reason for Scott Brown's election: the GOP Establishment did not exert great control over his campaign. They, like everyone else, simply did not believe that a Republican could win Ted Kennedy's former Senate seat.
Scott Brown was therefore allowed to run an effective Main Street campaign simply because K Street thought he was a bad investment.
More importantly, Brown successfully defined his opponent as a career politician. "I am running against the machine" Brown told voters again and again. The phrase became a virtual campaign mantra.
The Massachusetts machine, comprised of Establishment elites and labor and teachers unions, has long supported mass immigration—something Brown was not afraid to point out on the campaign trail.
Of course, thus far Senator Brown's commitment to patriotic immigration reform is hard to assess, if only because there have been few immigration votes in the Senate this year.
Still, Brown recently voted against the DREAM Act amnesty, despite significant lobbying from the state's higher education establishment, including a personal appeal from the President of Harvard University. He also voted against Elena Kagan, despite her being a constituent.
While Scott Brown has yet to fight hard for the cause, he is certainly not fighting against it. He is clearly a giant improvement over Ted Kennedy.
In contrast, in 2010 the Republican Governor's Association identified Deval Patrick as one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the country. They therefore decided to get involved in the race.
We would have been better off if they had just left us alone.
That's because the RGA's real target turned out to be not Deval Patrick, but Independent candidate Tim Cahill. A longtime Democrat, Cahill is the state Treasurer who left the Democratic Party last year to run for governor as an Independent.
The RGA spent millions on attack ads against Cahill, largely accusing him of political cronyism. The ads were cliché-ridden yawners, and voters were forced to watch them ad nauseum.
I'm can't say for sure why the RGA targeted Cahill. I suspect one reason was that he was more conservative than the Republican candidate, especially on immigration and race. They knew he threatened to siphon off votes.
Cahill criticized Patrick for ingratiating himself with Muslims. Baker said nothing about the matter. Cahill is no Tom Tancredo, but he does have more courage than most. [Cahill: Patrick 'pandering' with Muslim meeting, By Glen Johnson, AP, May 27, 2010]
And, if anyone was the Scott Brown of this race it was Tim Cahill. He opposed Romneycare, Obamacare, and was an early supporter of the Arizona immigration law. He was the only candidate who was credibly "running against the machine" and people admired him for it. Unfortunately, he didn't have much money to compete with his opponents.
Several months ago, people close to Tim Cahill told me that he refused to be a "spoiler" in the election. When it became clear that he could not win, Cahill would bow out.
Unfortunately, it appears that the RGA attacks so angered Cahill that he refused to leave the race. The campaign degenerated into a nasty battle between Tim Cahill and Charlie Baker, which was especially obvious during the debates.
In the meantime, Deval Patrick ran virtually unopposed. He downplayed his pro-immigration positions and had terrific ads that included almost no black faces. I was most impressed with the one that showed Patrick surrounded by white schoolchildren.
Yes, the RGA eventually ran some anti-Patrick ads, but they were just as boring as the anti-Cahill ones. The ads also ignored Patrick's proposed "New Americans Agenda" which promises a host of goodies to illegal aliens, from drivers licenses to in-state tuition.
Perhaps Charlie Baker never really was "one of us", even if he occasionally tried to pretend otherwise. During the campaign, Tim Cahill exposed the fact that Baker, as CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare, had approved a number of donations to the Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Coalition, the nuttiest immigrant advocacy group in the state
True, Baker's actual immigration position was quite strong. But you had to go to his website in order to learn of it. The position was there "for the record" but there appeared to be little commitment to it in reality.
The Baker campaign's most mind-boggling move: opposing Ballot Question 2, which sought to repeal 40B. As I've written before, 40B is a state law whereby developers can bypass local zoning laws to build housing, as long as they reserve a certain amount of units to "low-income residents."
Baker most likely opposed 40B's repeal because he did not want to risk looking like a racist in a campaign against a black candidate. But his position infuriated the many ardent opponents of 40B (and also contributed to Question 2's failure to pass).
Another mindboggler: Baker's decision to oppose ballot Question 3, which sought repeal the sales tax hike that Gov. Patrick pushed through the legislature. (That initiative also failed to pass).
There were plenty of easy opportunities to make immigration a campaign issue. Immigration was in the news nearly every week.
For example, in September, a local television station interviewed Obama's illegal Aunt Zeituni who broadcast her arrogant immigrant entitlement complex for all to see. Everyone I know was complaining about it. But did Baker make an issue of it? No.
A week before the election The Boston Herald ran a cover story on the high cost of illegal alien medical care imposed on state taxpayers. This includes the recent case of a Salvadoran illegal who gave birth in an East Boston apartment, then tossed her baby out the bathroom window into an alley. The infant currently survives on taxpayer-funded life support in a Boston hospital.
Again, Baker said nothing.
In another Massachusetts election, Rep. Barney Frank survived the toughest challenge of his career from an underfunded unknown who hammered the congressman over his role in the Minority Mortgage Meltdown.
Deval Patrick also made a significant and well-documented contribution to the mortgage crisis both as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights and in private practice. But Charles Baker and the Republican Governor's Association never brought it up.
Why? Because Barney Frank is white and Deval Patrick is black.
The question now remains: What should we expect from Deval Patrick's second and (allegedly) final term?
That appears to be what is happening with Deval Patrick.
A week later, Deval Patrick called for the passage of his "New Americans Agenda", starting with in-state tuition for illegal aliens.
The worst, I expect, is yet to come.
Matthew Richer (email him) is a writer living in Massachusetts. He is the former American Editor of Right NOW magazine.