Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick launched his presidential campaign a little late, and if he's going to catch up with the political corpses of John Hickenlooper and Steve Bullock, he needs to hurry up and fail. So far, he's off to a good start at being terrible.

Patrick was until recently an executive for Bain Capital, and the best way to handle that is to ignore it and hope everyone's too polite to mention it. His bio was downsized from the Bain website. But reporters still ask Patrick about his time at Bain as if he worked there just last week, which he did. Patrick claims he never bought the Obama campaign's "demonization" of Bain during the 2012 election. He was co-chair of the campaign, so he didn't need to "buy" it, at least not at full price. I don't see the point of relitigating a successful political strategy, but Patrick clearly explained why he's defending Mitt Romney's company that killed Toys "R" Us.

PATRICK: You know, there's a right way and a wrong way to do everything, and some transactions in private equity are going to go sideways, with or without, by the way private equity. But I do think that capitalism, and I am capitalist, has a lot to answer for. There are reasons, and justifiable reasons, why people feel like our economy and our government has been tilted too much in the direction of moneyed intereests. Some of those are companies and some of those are individuals. There is a way out of that There is a way. And we're going to have something to say about that in our democracy.

Twirling, Twirling, Twirling Towards Freedom! (The Simpsons)

Patrick is defining himself as an alternative to both Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. He believes Biden's nostalgia trip "misses the moment" for "big systemic change," but unlike Warren, he thinks simply talking about "change" in inspiring tones is sufficient. The country needs to "unite" and "heal" and then after a long nap "unite" and "heal" some more. Patrick told Jake Tapper yesterday that an unspecified and nonthreatening "change" was the only way to "bring us back together." Presumably, love would keep us together.

He complimented Warren for running the "best" and most "disciplined" campaign of all 2020 presidential candidates, but he thinks she'd "struggle" to pass her agenda so what's the use? He doesn't support Medicare for All and suggests the "public option" is a moderate alternative. I also appreciate sensible moderate positions that Republicans will still reject as socialism. Democrats have a distinguished record of assuming moderate positions will appeal to Republicans and getting laughed at. Florida Senator Bill Nelson thought dropping the public option would gain Republican support for the Affordable Care Act. It didn't. Republicans insisted it was just a "Trojan horse for single payer." So on the upside, moderate Dems are more progressive than they were in 2009, but I don't know where they got the idea that Republicans are any less assholes than they were then.

Patrick rejects the "wealth tax" that Warren and Bernie Sanders propose and offers only doobie-fueled freshman year philosophy in its place.

"I don't think that wealth is the problem — I think greed is the problem," he said, adding that "taxes should go up on the most prosperous and the most fortunate," but "not as a penalty."

Someone with 50 billion who whines about losing 10 or even 40 billion isn't just the definition of "greedy," they're the subject of an Aesop fable. The patriots who threaten to abandon America and move to a remote island constructed entirely of yachts if their taxes are raised have a serious greed problem. Warren and Sanders have never suggested taxing wealthy people as a "penalty," like my proposed tax for foot tattoos.

Patrick Confronts His Past With Bain Capital & How It Could Affect His 2020 | Deadline | MSNBC

America currently has a record-high 621 billionaires, and Patrick is sensitive to the needs of this oppressed minority. Democrats can't defeat a divisive president with their own brand of division. After all, Donald Trump literally divides migrant children from their families, but Warren and Sanders want to ethnically cleanse billionaires. History will certainly condemn both equally, especially if history spends the next few decades consuming meth.

We've had so much fun dragging Patrick as a lousy candidate, we haven't yet addressed how he's possibly a lousy person. Bernard Sigh was convicted in June of raping his wife, Rhonda Patrick-Sigh -- yes, Patrick's sister. Sigh had served a short time in prison for raping Patrick-Sigh in 1993, as well. It's an unfortunate fact that women sometimes reconcile with their abusive husbands. It's not my place to judge her decision. What's relevant is that as governor, Patrick fired the head of the state's Sex Offender Registry Board because she dared question why Sigh wasn't forced to register as a sex offender in 1993. Patrick apparently considered his own sister's rape merely a "family" matter. Stanford professor Michele Dauber, who knew Patrick professionally, believes this is disqualifying. I agree.

An epic level of arrogance is necessary to run for president with this rotting skeleton in your closet. Patrick once said that the "woke need to make room for the still waking." That's a noble sentiment, but Sleeping Beauty was closer to waking than Patrick. He should see if Bain will take him back.

[The New York Times]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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