How'd Deval Patrick Do at the DNC?
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Gov. Deval Patrick looked to make a national name for himself speaking to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte Tuesday night, and based on good reviews among the talking heads on our Twitter feed (the tweeting heads?), it seems he did his job. Here are the big takeaways:
He didn’t stay positive: Previewing his speech, Patrick told WBUR on Tuesday, “Both campaigns spend a lot of time in the contrasting and talking about what’s wrong with the other guy and so forth. I want to talk about what’s right with this president, what’s right with his agenda and his vision.” Patrick did talk up Obama, but he is the successor to Mitt Romney as governor, so it’d be a bit naive to think he wouldn’t talk about the Republican nominee, too. And talk he did (as the chyron on CNN during the speech indicates below.) Patrick harshly criticized Romney’s record here, ending his riff with the zinger: “as governor, he was more interested in having a job than doing it.” If you’re looking for a politics-lite speech praising the President, we suggest you check out Michelle Obama’s speech.
The speech was well-delivered: The Globe‘s Noah Bierman paints a picture: “Seeking to fire up the party faithful, Patrick spoke with greater fervor and edge than normal. His voice rising passionately, his face bathed in sweat, Patrick repeatedly exhorted the crowd to its feet.” Bathed in sweat strikes us as an overstatement, but he was perspiring. Our Twitter feed filled with good reviews, many from national reporters who might not be as familiar with Patrick.
Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post wrote simply:
The Wall Street Journal‘s James Taranto, typically pretty thin on praise for Democrats, said:
And heading up the peanut gallery was Slate’s Dave Weigel:
I wonder if a talented African-American orator would make a good presidential candidate. — daveweigel (@daveweigel) September 5, 2012
Mixed reviews on the speech’s substance: On substance, reviews were a bit mixed, particularly Patrick’s allegation that Republicans are trying to “bully” Obama. “With a record like that and a vision that hopeful and powerful, I for one will not stand by and let him be bullied out of office,” he said. This strikes us as a line that doesn’t portray the president as a big tough guy. As The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg put it:
It seems strange to cast the President as someone who could be bullied out of office. Either he’s tough or he’s not.
— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) September 5, 2012
And, obviously, the Romney campaign has a lot to say about the speech, too. Patrick repeated one of the Obama campaign’s favorite factoids, which is that under Romney’s governorship, Massachusetts ranked 47th in job creation. The Romney campaign responded, as they do, to note that this is a misleading statistic and that during that same time, the state unemployment rate that fell from 5.6 percent to 4.7 percent.
Substance aside, this was a chance for Patrick to impress the delegates and position himself either for a national run or a post in Obama’s cabinet next term. Based on the reviews, it looks like he passed.