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Deval Patrick plummets, and responds with talking points

According to a Boston Globe poll, the popularity of Mass. Gov Deval Patrick has plummeted.

Too bad. I think he’s been doing a good job in an economic and political environment within which success can only be measured by degrees of failure. (Those who worry about one-party control turning into a tyranny have never met Massachusetts Democrats.)

But, I was disappointed to receive an email this morning from Doug Rubin, of the Deval Patrick Committee, containing “talking points” for his supporters, with a form that lets us forward it to ten people. The msg begins:


In light of today’s Globe Poll, we know that many of you will be receiving many questions about the Governor and the Commonwealth. Below are some talking points to help with those conversations. We ask that you use these in conversation and distribute them to your friends and family. I’m proud of what we have accomplished, feel confident talking about our work, and I hope you are as well.

Doug Rubin

Jeez, I really don’t want to be recruited as a spin agent.

Governor Patrick, I know this has to be a sucky day for you. There are lots of us in the Commonwealth who think you’re the right person for the job and that you’re an exceptional person in near impossible circumstances. We want to help. Don’t spin us. Fall back on us. We’ll rise to catch you. Trust us.

One more thing: The email msg and the site it comes from do not explain who Doug Rubin is (Google reports he’s the Governor’s Chief of Staff [NOTE later that day: Doug Rubin says in the comments that he was Patrick’s Chief of Staff but is now part of the Governor’s campaign team] or Deval Patrick’s relationship to the site, other than noting that it is not an official government site. How about a little more transparency than that?

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3 Responses to “Deval Patrick plummets, and responds with talking points”

  1. Thanks for taking the time to comment on our email. I am Doug Rubin – formerly Governor Patrick’s chief of staff (I left the administration a short while ago). Our intent was not to recruit spin agents, but rather put some information into people’s hands about a story that will get some attention in the mainstream media. We have tried to do this on various issues throughout the last few years, as a way to, as you smartly comment, “trust” those who want to help.

    To address your transparency concerns, I will be part of the Governor’s campaign team as we head into 2010 – a role I played as well in 2006. The website is the governor’s political committee website.

    Thank you for you supportive comments of the Governor, and for your wise advice to “fall back on us.” It is how the Governor was successful in 2006, and will be how we win in 2010.

  2. Thanks for commenting, Doug, and for the explanation and correction about your role and standing. I appreciate it.

    I understand your intent, and we are on the same side politically. But sending out talking points — and calling them “talking points” — with a form so we can forward them is not exactly what I as a loyal supporter expect from a Net-savvy leader. You’re treating us like human Xeroxes. I’d much rather hear the Governor in his own words, and if those words are compelling enough, I’ll be moved to blog, email, and retweet them.

    I am talking for a constituency of one, of course.

    Good luck to the Governor in the upcoming campaign. I’m confident he’ll win, and I’ll pitch in in my own small way. (Phone-banking, here I come!)

  3. Good points, and ones I that I very much appreciate. We are still trying to find the best way to communicate and provide information that is useful for people. I take your point about labeling them “talking points” and making the ask to forward them as such.

    We did send out a separate email from the Governor in his own words – in case you did not see it, I have included it below. Thanks again!

    Dear Friends,

    Right now, we have nothing but tough decisions in front of us, so for those of us dealing with these decisions every day, poll numbers are bound to reflect that. Every cut and every reform affects somebody. Our economy is in crisis, people in Massachusetts and across the country are hurting, and they expect and deserve help from their government. I don’t need a poll to understand people are not satisfied with where we stand. Neither am I.

    We will get through this crisis. To see us through, there will be more tough decisions ahead. We in state government have worked hard to bring jobs to the Commonwealth, strengthen our public schools, provide affordable health care and housing, and reform some of the practices that have undermined public trust for decades. Still, we need to do more. All of us in state government, including me, need to step up our game, and not shrink from confronting those tough decisions, however unpopular. If we continue to do so, I am confident our great Commonwealth will come out stronger tomorrow on the other side of the unprecedented challenges we face.


    Deval Patrick

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