President Obama has been taken to task by many of those who earnestly supported his candidacy for turning away from the movement that swept him to power. The historic losses for the Democratic Party in 2010 are certainly partly attributable to grassroots disaffection, loss of hope, and lack of interest. That is what makes Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s discussion of state and national politics with the The National Journal so interesting:
“Pointing to his larger-than-expected victory over Republican Charles Baker and independent Timothy Cahill, Patrick said Obama’s team, which overlaps with his own, should derive lessons from the unreconstructed-Democrat approach that Patrick projected. That would be a far cry from the centrist overtures the president has made in the last few months.
I think they’ve learned a lot from us, and we’ve learned from them,” Patrick said. The 2006 campaign that made him Massachusetts’ first African American governor drew from Obama’s successful 2004 Senate bid, Patrick said, a two-year learning cycle that repeated itself when Obama ran for president in 2008 and Patrick for reelection last year.
Patrick said Obama should not turn his back on the ground-up campaign structure that propelled both men to historic wins and helped power Patrick to reelection, a template he believes could sustain Obama next year.
“I believe strongly it’s important not to underestimate the power of the grassroots,” said Patrick, who throughout his first term expressed regrets about not doing a better job of involving his grassroots election supporters in governing.
It is not clear whether Obama has any similar regrets.
Frederick Clarkson is an independent journalist, author and editor who has written about politics and religion for thirty years. He is the co-founder of the group blog Talk to Action, Senior Fellow at Political Research Associates, and lives in Massachusetts.
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