Tag Archives: Deval Patrick

Massachusetts Madisonianism

Recently in thinking about the Massachusetts legislature I’ve come across some academic arguments that the power of the legislature has deteriorated significantly over the years. These arguments take the long view – legislative dominance from the time of the 1780 Constitution, a draining of power while the executive’s power increased from the early twentieth century onward. Then there is my colleague Professor Duquette’s argument that there is no need for business interests to support Republicans because the Democratic legislature already acts like it is Republican.

The work of these scholars is important in understanding how our legislature conducts the public business. I tend to agree that the legislature’s power has receded some through history, but that it retains enormous power that only a legislature can properly exercise. Moreover in the differences the legislature has had with both Republican governors and the progressive Democrat Deval Patrick a sort of Massachusetts Madisonianism may be at work.

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Questioning Faith and Politics

Recently Governor Deval Patrick stood with leaders of diverse faith communities and invoked his own religious faith as a rationale for accepting immigrant children into the commonwealth. I wrote admiringly of that decision and some among our commenters suggested that when religion calls to ideas that are not consistent with the prevailing liberal ideology around here, our Democratic politicians are more likely to spurn than to heed faith leaders. I think those critics are justified and they rightly point out the complicated nature of religion and politics in the land our forebears sought to establish as a Model of Christian Charity.

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The renovated corner office

I suppose there is some charm in working in an old office that would have been good enough for John Hancock.

Perhaps the next time a major storm or security situation threatens the Commonwealth, the Governor can whip out a quill pen and dash off an urgent note on parchment via horseback.  

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The demagogues among us

There’s nothing like the fear of the other to bring the demagogues in our midst out into the open.

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Faith and Philosophy in Gov. Patrick’s Immigration Decision

Governor Deval Patrick’s remarkable press conference announcing that Massachusetts would welcome unaccompanied immigrant children continues to reverberate through the commonwealth. His actions and remarks carry implications for how we think about religion and politics, for political philosophy, and for our political institutions.

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Don’t further the ugly

The plight of migrant children and the role of the Commonwealth in offering them shelter is going to produce many reactions.  There are those grounded in reality (cost, duration, locations best suited for the situation, etc) and then there are others.

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Deval Patrick’s “City Upon a Hill”

Politicians from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan have invoked John Winthrop’s “city upon a hill” phrase for political effect but few have embodied the phrase in the manner of Governor Deval Patrick, who seemingly alone among America’s governors is willing to extend a welcome to immigrant children who have flooded across our Southern borders. Winthrop’s speech was much more than a memorable phrase; it was a Model of Christian Charity, a call for those who enjoy the blessings of life to care for the less well off. Deval Patrick is brave in his willingness to live up to the commonwealth’s foundational document.  

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Mad Hot Sexy Issue of 2014: Public Administration

Someone in the Patrick administration opened a window to let spring air in and a $100 million dollar bill floated out. It hasn’t been seen since. Oh well.

Okay that isn’t fair, but as the Boston Globe reported the state’s health care connector web site is being entirely scrapped and “The strategy announced Monday will still cost an estimated $100 million.” In a Boston Herald op-ed Charlie Baker wrote that because of the bungled connector web site “hundreds of thousands of our people have been put in health care coverage limbo, and tens of millions of dollars were wasted.”

Let’s see: health care connector, Department of Children and Families, the Probation Department trial, medical marijuana dispensaries, Annie Dookhan, the New England Compounding Center. Auditor Suzanne Bump’s team found shortcomings in the Department of Transitional Assistance’s management practices. Our pension system named the worst in the nation (conflict of interest warning: as a state employee I am dependent on the pension system). Yes the state GOP may be in disarray but then, it seems as if large sectors of our government are too.

So I nominate dull, boring, wonky, coma-inducing public administration for mad hot sexy issue of the year.

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Our Stubborn Governor

The ongoing controversy over Governor Patrick’s handling of the problems at the state’s Department of Children and Families helps provide some political science insight into the running of bureaucracies and perhaps into the governor’s own managerial approach.

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A hierarchy of Massachusetts political endorsements

Yesterday’s Globe offered a peak into the strategies employed by candidate Steve Grossman to obtain coveted political endorsements for his gubernatorial run.

But does it matter?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

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