Better late than never? Better rich than never too, even in a Democratic presidential primary. At a point in time where the field should be narrowing, here comes Deval Patrick as a wannabe-come-lately into the 2020 mix. Savannah Guthrie picked up the news for NBC’s Today:
Breaking: A major shake-up in the Democratic presidential race — former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has officially entered the crowded field. pic.twitter.com/Rm22Ojz7nh
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 14, 2019
“I admire and respect the candidates in the Democratic field,” Patrick says in his campaign launch video, saying they make him proud to be a member of the party. Soooooo … why not just endorse one of them? Patrick never actually explains why there’s a crying need for his presence in a field twenty respectable and admirable candidates, but instead issues a few platitudes about delivering the path to the American dream (via Twitchy):
In a spirit of profound gratitude for all the country has given to me, with a determination to build a better, more sustainable, more inclusive American Dream for everyone:
— Deval Patrick (@DevalPatrick) November 14, 2019
Speaking of closing off paths to the American dream, let’s not forget that Patrick famously retreated from politics into the so-called “vulture capitalism” of Bain Capital. Bain operates in part by dismantling troubled firms and leveraging their most valuable assets, a normal capital function but one that Patrick’s fellow Democrats demonized when Mitt Romney ran for president. It’s a process that necessary closes jobs in the short run, although one can also argue that proper use of those valuable assets means more and better jobs in the long run.
Will Democrats forgive that? Early signs point to no:
We knocked Romney for working at Bain Capital, Deval Patrick doesn't get a pass for doing the same. https://t.co/9HiJb1gR9X
— Markos Moulitsas (@markos) November 13, 2019
Michael Graham points out a few other entries on Patrick’s private-sector resumé:
For every journalist covering @DevalPatrick, here's your Google list for today:
"Massachusetts Health Connector"
"Justina Pelletier" pic.twitter.com/mIDH9JE0bs
— ConservativeNotCrazy (@IAMMGraham) November 14, 2019
The Boss Emeritus explains the Pelletier case here, a case that mattered far more to conservatives than the voters who will choose the next Democratic presidential nominee, unfortunately. The rest of the items here look like a central-casting list for a standard Eeeeevil Republican Fat Cat in any Hollywood flick. And Michael leaves out Texaco, Coca-Cola, and subprime lender ACC Capital Holdings, too.
All of that could be forgiven, perhaps, if Patrick had a clear agenda that filled a critical gap for voters in the electorate as it stands. Instead, here’s an establishmentarian who worked for exploiters of the poor and of the environment (from the primary electorate’s perspective, anyway) who wants to talk about character while saying nothing about policy at all. That’s not exactly going to endear Patrick to the progressives, who already have a plethora of choices in this field, and it’s not saying much to the moderates either. In fact, Patrick says nothing at all in this video except to talk about himself, and does so in a Mr. Rogers-esque tone that’s almost guaranteed to get drowned out by his competitors.
That’s not a whole lot to get past the resentment that many will feel at his late entry in a race that had been starting to shape up progressives’ way. Patrick might find himself back in the private sector quicker than he thinks.
Update: He kept the cash flow going to the last moment, too.
Will have more on this in the newsletter, but Deval Patrick formally resigned from Bain Capital yesterday.
— Dan Primack (@danprimack) November 14, 2019