THE SPINE DECEMBER 31, 2007
I wonder why Barack Obama has allowed Deval Patrick to campaign for him in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and presumably other states when their primaries near. The fact is that Patrick, governor of my state of Massachusetts for whom I voted with some enthusiasm, has been singularly a flop in his first year. This morning's Boston Globe, enthusiastic supporter of the governor generally, details his many failures and his slight successes in a story by Frank Phillips. It started virtually on the first day of his term, and even before when he put together a team including many incompetents. Now, it has to be said that the Bay State has a corrupt and slothful political culture, and it is resistant to reform. But Patrick was simply high-minded without skill.
He had all the enthusiasm of the energetic liberals of the state behind him. Obama is, I think, sharper, more thoughtful, more discerning...and, of course, he has not had a professional record as a shill for the American corporations Patrick served as in-house counsel. Or for any American corporations. No one seems to recall that Patrick was front man for Ameriquest, a division of ACC Capital Holdings, in its negotiations with state governments to protect the company from laws that might have prevented -- or, at least, softened -- the calamitous mortgage scandal that has now wreaked havoc with the domestic and international economies, not to mention the housing market in Massachusetts. Just click to the Boston Globe article by Brian Mooney, "Patrick's path from court to boardroom," to read some of the details.
When already governor, Patrick called Robert Rubin, former secretary of the treasury and a board member of Citigroup, to ask for his help to Ameriquest. The governor said he told Rubin that he was calling him as a private citizen. Yuk.
The fact is that Patrick was involved in what has already turned out to be a disastrous chapter in the economic history of the U.S. Obama should not traffic politically with such injudicious people.
Today's Wall Street Journal has a new article (by Glenn R. Simpson) about Ameriquest that does not mention Deval Patrick. It is called "Lender Lobbying Blitz Abetted Mortgage Mess." But it is part of the same creepy story. Barack, my friend: be careful.