Patrick is, by all accounts, a bright and accomplished man, with a resume that includes two Harvard degrees, high-profile, high-paying corporate law jobs and positions with the Clinton Justice Department and the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund. He's got an appealing up-by-his-bootstraps bio (raised on welfare by a single mom on Chicago's South Side) and an engaging personality, the latter of which puts him in sharp contrast to his competitor for the Democratic nomination, Attorney General Tom Reilly.
But while Patrick's positions clearly run left--he supports equal marriage, for instance, and slammed Reilly's decision last week to allow an anti-gay marriage ballot question in 2006--he's dogged by criticism from some progressives, who accuse him of complicity in the alleged violent anti-labor and environmentally damaging misdeeds of one former employer, Coca-Cola. The question for Patrick isn't just whether Massachusetts voters are ready for a progressive governor, but if Massachusetts progressives can agree that he's the candidate for them.
PDM considered endorsing Reilly, sending a delegation to meet with one of the AG's campaign workers and Ruth Balser, a left-leaning state rep from Newton who's backing his candidacy. "There certainly is a case to be made for Tom Reilly," Clarkson says. "And the case was made, and it wasn't enough for us."
Reilly's support of the death penalty and shakiness on choice and gay marriage give pause, Clarkson says. "There's also the question of viability," he adds--so far, Reilly has shown little sign of running the kind of engaging campaign it will take to wrestle the governor's seat back after four consecutive Republicans.