(Interesting analysis – promoted by EaBo Clipper)
Did Deval Patrick really beat Kerry Healey in last fall’s election?
No conspiracy theories, please–but a fair argument can be made that Patrick’s victory was not a real win over Healey, but a symbolic conquest of Mitt Romney. The election had little to do with the political differences between Patrick and Healey, and everything to do with the electorate’s disapproval of Romney.
Take away the tremendous anti-Romney sentiment that existed last year, and Patrick would have, in all likelihood, lost the election. He was quite shrewd, and quite effective, in exploiting the electorate’s contempt for Romney’s supposed ultra-conservatism–but what if Patrick didn’t have anything to exploit?
Had Romney’s right-of-center vision not been perceived as extremism by socially libertarian Bay Staters, his second-in-command would not have been as strongly rejected as she was. Healey’s fiscally conservative, socially libertarian views were quite similar to those of previous GOP governors, but because of her link to the alleged right-wing scoundrel Romney, she became a victim of guilt by association.
Now that Romney’s out of the picture, those who voted for Patrick because of anti-Romney sentiment are beginning to experience a little buyer’s remorse. Patrick appealed to these voters because he was everything they felt Romney was not: “open-minded,” “tolerant,” “accepting of differences,” “interested in the welfare of the state.” Now that reality has revealed Patrick to be just another crook, they’re beginning to realize that they’ve been had.
Of course, these voters still scorn Romney, and they always will: once one falls for propaganda–in this case, the foolish notion that Romney was a far-right extremist–it’s very hard to shake it off. However, one wonders if these voters now realize that Healey was not the ogre she was made out to be in the press–and that she would be a vast improvement over what we have in the State House now.