Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Deval's Naivete

One of the interesting things about all this most recent bru-haha is that I've come to a somewhat entertaining conclusion: despite more than a year campaigning, Deval Patrick was somewhat naive about what he was really getting himself into as Governor. Just think about it, a year ago he was the longest-long shot imaginable. He's never held elective office, until now, ever. I really think he went in there thinking he could have his own separate life and then be "Mr. Governor" from 9-5. After all, he could do that as head of the Civil Rights division of the Justice Department and a member of the board of Ameriquest, why not Governor? He probably didn't think there would be any problem making a phone call as a reference, or getting new curtains without at least informing the public that the office was in really crummy condition. He's probably used to driving Cadillacs and other luxury cars, at least since he's become very successful in the private sector, not thinking twice about any possible public outcry for selecting the default car he'd drive.

He's made so many silly mistakes lately that he looks like a screw up, but he's clearly not. Screw ups don't go from the South Side of Chicago, sleeping on the floor every third night, to the upper echelons of society through hard work, charisma and intelligence - I don't care if you're a Governor or a rapper; it just doesn't happen. Only people who are quick learners, hard workers and who really have it together can make that kind of rise. However, when you look at his climb, it only makes it more likely that he'd be somewhat naive. He's had a lot of luck and a lot of things swing his way, without the worry of a public gazing in. He was incubated at prep school, then at Harvard, then working for the Government. Even as a corporate exec, he was afforded some insulation - the ability to make almost every decision behind closed doors, without having to worry about everyone's reaction.

Deval Patrick was probably a little naive, so what? Well, for one thing, it will silent the "he's just a typical politician" nonsense. These mistakes, especially one after another, aren't anything remotely close to what a typical politician would do: they're not that naive to think they could get away with that. Naive isn't exactly a good thing, but at least it's both a curable condition and somewhat endearing. Furthermore, because we know he's a clearly intelligent man, we know that he's going to learn from his mistakes. Sure, it's frustrating to see so many of them, but I can just see a check list forming: calling exec as favor is a bad idea, check! Buy your own office equipment, check! Don't go for the leather seats, check! At some point, we can begin to expect a little foresight in his personal decision making and these little flubs won't happen anymore. Personally, I think this is really going to be the tipping point in erasing any naivety he had left, for good. I just can't, for a second, believe someone so smart and successful will continue to make these kinds of gaffes in the future.


joe said...

I wouldn't bet on it. My mom loves to mention how she can't believe somebody so smart (myself) has managed to make so many asinine mistakes.

But I'm doing for myself, so there's probably hope for Deval too!

Anonymous said...

Ryan, will you please just get married to Deval Patrick and get it overwith already!!!!!!!

I highly doubt that the Governor's office was in "Really crummy condition" during the Romney administration. I think it was pretty much the same as it is now, except with different colored curtains.

Ryan Adams said...


Perhaps you didn't read about how Emily Rooney let the cat out on the bag about the office furniture: during one press conference, there was a table in such disrepair that the weight of a single book thrown on it made it collapse. The curtains were falling down. The office was, truly, in shambles.

You are free to think whatever you want - truthiness certainly feels good - but you are, in fact, wrong.

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