Climate Not Perfect

Friday morning I was speculating on the air that Barack Obama and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick aren't really all that tight despite media assumptions of a "close" friendship.
Plagued by his own plummeting polls and playing to empty seats at a high-roller Hub fund-raiser, President Obama acknowledged yesterday that his close friend and political alter ego Gov. Deval Patrick faces a rough road to re-election.
If Barack was impressed with Deval, wouldn't Deval have gotten a job in Washington, I asked? If he really wanted to help the failed "Hope & Change" governor win reelection, wouldn't he have offered himself yesterday for an evening fundraiser in Boston instead of a luncheon?
“There really should be no doubt that this guy gets a second term. But let’s be honest. This is going to be a tough race,” Obama told a room barely half-full with 125 deep-pocketed Democrats who ponied up $6,000 for Patrick and the party. “Re-election is not a foregone conclusion because times are tough.”
I was challenged by a caller, sounding much like an insider with the Governor, who said that the President of the United States could fill the room for Deval if it was a breakfast - there was no need for him to do a dinner.
Reflecting those hard times, the swanky Westin Copley Place ballroom - where the subsequent $500-a-head fund-raiser was held - was “about two-thirds full,” with about 400 people attending, according to press pool reports.
And, the caller claimed, Deval didn't want any job offer bailouts from Washington, he was going to win reelection! But the truth is, Governor Patrick has become an embarrassment for the White House, and even though they're obligated by political etiquette to offer him help, they surely don't want to do it in prime time.
Despite the dismal box office, Patrick shouted to attendees, “You fired up? Ready to go?” Obama and Patrick have more in common than their Chicago backgrounds, Harvard Law School degrees and similar campaign slogans - Obama’s “Yes We Can” vs. Patrick’s “Together We Can.” Their disapproval ratings are both on the rise.
In his nearly three years in office, Deval has demonstrated an apparently unfixable wiring problem that produces regular misfires. The President doesn't benefit from close proximity to the sputtering.
Obama’s (disapproval number) has skyrocketed to 38 percent in the most recent Rasmussen Reports poll, while Patrick’s climbed to 45 percent, according to a Suffolk University poll released last month.
The real connection between Deval Patrick and Barack Obama is that they were stablemates on the farm of David Axelrod, the political consultant who now runs the country. Deval was the trial run of Axelrod's brainchild - the untarnished by experience, Ivy Polished, Hope and Change, Together-We-Can Candidate. They used the same themes, lingo and speeches. And they shared the most important element of Axelrod's scheme - possessing the shield of being Black.
“No, I have not yet mastered the ways of the career politician,” Patrick said. “I admit that. Because I don’t wake up every day thinking about re-election, or how to make myself look good on the evening news, or how to go along to get along. I wake up thinking about how to make a better commonwealth.”
The lack of interest in Deval for a job in Washington demonstrates some wisdom at the White House. There are no jobs of appropriate stature to satisfy the Governor's sense of self for which he is also qualified. On the other hand, the decision reveals Axelrod's fear that having the training wheels around might tip people off as to why the Obama ride is so wobbly.
Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh brushed aside concerns that Obama didn’t sell out the hotly anticipated fund-raiser. But Rep. Michael E. Capuano (D-Somerville) didn’t seem surprised that tickets were left over. “It’s a lot of money,” Capuano said, “and it’s tough times we’re going through.”
Nine months ago, Barack Obama represented the return of Camelot. Now, they can't find 600 swooning suburban soccer moms to come to lunch with the President of the United States in Boston. Tough times, indeed.