Patrick Was Right


1196889454This is tough for me, mainly because I never anticipated it happening. I’m sure you didn’t, either, dear reader. Alas, it’s time for me to fess up. Here goes:

I was wrong.

Shocking, no?

A little over a month and a half ago, I hammered Gov. Deval Patrick for endorsing his buddy, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. I thought it premature and terribly misguided that Patrick would back Obama for president so early on. Remember, at that point, Obama trailed in the national Democratic polls by some 30 points. Sure, Obama stumped on behalf of Patrick last year during the Massachusetts gubernatorial race. And, sure, the two have been chums for years. But campaigns are about winning, not friendship. I thought Patrick turning his back on New York Sen. Hillary Clinton (not to mention First Hubby Bill Clinton) was tantamount to political suicide.

Naturally, I forgot one of the main principles of politics: Power shifts quickly.

Yes, as recently as Oct. 16, the national media had all but held Sen. Clinton’s coronation. What foolishness, I thought, for Patrick to support anyone but the inevitable winner. Turns out I was the fool (again: shocking). Since the governor’s endorsement, Clinton has absorbed a number of blows, the biggest of which landed when she couldn’t give a straight answer about whether illegal immigrants should be given driver’s licenses. Suddenly, Clinton stopped looking untouchable and started looking bruised.

Now, according to the Des Moines Register’s latest polls, Obama has inched in front of Clinton (28 percent to 25), and Edwards is holding strong at 23 percent. The race is so close, in fact, that some people are talking about how one of the “change” candidates might actually pull off the upset. Of course, it might be Edwards somehow winning Iowa instead of Obama or Clinton, but the point here is that the air of inevitability surrounding Clinton’s campaign is long gone.

And so I should have known better than to chastise the governor. After all, when the gubernatorial race began here in Massachusetts, everyone was convinced that Attorney General Tom Reilly would win in a walk. And they were all terribly wrong.

Maybe Patrick just has a nose for these things. Either way, governor, you have my most sincere apologies. Unless Clinton does win this thing, at which point you can expect a post along the lines of “in yo’ face!

Until then, though, I remain contrite.