With the likely election of Deval Patrick as governor, we'll give America a brave new Dukakis, not to mention an advance glance at an Obama administration. Watch and learn. It is perhaps the best 2008 gift we, Massachusetts, could give the GOP.
How does Patrick link to Obama? Well, they're both Democrats. But there are lots of Democrats out there--surely Patrick isn't the first one that will make voters realize that Democrats do run some major states (Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan...). It's highly unlikely that the author is trying to connect Patrick to Obama's demonstrated policy brilliance, since the point of the piece is to warn us of the prospective threat of Obama on the horizon. They're both rather progressive, but again, that hardly is a unique bond they share, and since this sort of writer is the type to merge every Democrat to the left of Zell Miller into one indistinguishable blob of scary liberalism, that's hardly persuasive. To these authors, Patrick will be as indicative of "liberal" Obama as "liberal" Hillary Clinton as "liberal" Evan Bayh as "liberal" Kent Conrad. Moreover, a Patrick administration (a progressive Democrat presiding over the most liberal state in America) would likely be very different from an Obama presidency (a progressive Democrat presiding over a still divided and rather moderate country). So what could it be, what could it be?
Could it be that Patrick and Obama are both Black?
Am I reaching? The standard I use on these things is "unexplainable but by race." In other words, we assume that race is operating on at least some level (even if subconscious) if there is no other persuasive reason why the racial parallel is drawn. There really is little that uniquely distinguishes Obama and Patrick particularly from other progressive Democrats (that a conservative would be willing to admit) aside from the fact that they are rising Black politicians who have demonstrated cross-over appeal to Whites. Black politicians = scary. Don't be fooled by their sterling pedigrees and soothing speeches. They're still Black (and they don't publicly kowtow to far-right conservative orthodoxy ala Blackwell or Steele). And thus, to the right, they can't be trusted--even more than comparable White liberals.