Monday, November 19, 2018

The Latest Corporate Obamist to Be Touted for President by Big New York Media — Deval Patrick


Bain Capital's corporate logo: Vultures, rampant, on a field of bones

Bain Capital's managing director and the Obama circle's choice for next president. "We get the government we deserve in a democracy," Deval Patrick unironically said, according to the original caption (Photograph by John Trotter/MAPS for The New Yorker).

by Gaius Publius

Yet another agent of wealth is being touted as a Democratic Party candidate for president — it seems there's no end of them. This time the candidate is no Mike Bloomberg, with his suspect past, his narcissistic sense of entitlement, and openly limousine lifestyle, but an under-the-radar Democratic governor named Deval Patrick.

Patrick ticks all the boxes. He's loved by the Obama organization, he has that next-Obama feel on the stump, and he's a "moderate" (meaning corporatist) in a year when Third Way organizations are searching hard for a "sounds progressive, serves the donors" candidate to throw against the Donald Trump or Mike Pence wall in 2020.

And now he has the the big New York media pushing his candidacy, firing his big opening salvos for him. Jeffrey Toobin, not a no-name writer, has an absolutely glowing piece about Patrick in The New Yorker. Let's take a look (emphasis mine throughout):

Toobin open this way:
On Election Night last week, Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts, went out to dinner with his wife, Diane, near their apartment, in Boston’s Back Bay. They propped up their iPads on the table, trying to synchronize their schedules after a hectic couple of months. On weekdays, Patrick had been on the road for his job, as a managing director at Bain Capital, the investment firm founded by his predecessor as governor, Mitt Romney. On weekends, he had travelled to a dozen states, to campaign for Democratic candidates in the midterms, and, in the process, to generate the kind of good will and name recognition that could help him if he chooses to run for President in 2020. Diane, meanwhile, had been winding down her law practice, as a management-side labor lawyer at the major Boston firm Ropes & Gray, where she had recently given up her partnership after working there since 1995. Back at home, after dinner, Patrick took a quick look at the election results, and then turned in early, rising, as is his custom, at dawn, to take stock.
Notice, among the down home details of this warm portrait, these critical facts: Deval Patrick is managing director of Bain Capital. His wife Diane is a labor lawyer, but on the management side, meaning she helps corporations fend off unions.

Toobin clearly doesn't see any of that as a minus, but he should. Bain Capital, worth nearly $100 billion in privately held assets, is an acquirer and destroyer of companies:
In his 2009 book The Buyout of America: How Private Equity Is Destroying Jobs and Killing the American Economy, Josh Kosman described Bain Capital as "notorious for its failure to plow profits back into its businesses," being the first large private-equity firm to derive a large fraction of its revenues from corporate dividends and other distributions. The revenue potential of this strategy, which may "starve" a company of capital, was increased by a 1970s court ruling that allowed companies to consider the entire fair-market value of the company, instead of only their "hard assets", in determining how much money was available to pay dividends. In at least some instances, companies acquired by Bain borrowed money in order to increase their dividend payments, ultimately leading to the collapse of what had been financially stable businesses.
A classic "leveraged buyout" company, a vulture capital operation. Here's what Bain did to Toys 'R' Us in 2018:
Just a few years ago, Toys 'R' Us was an iconic American retailer. Six months ago, it filed for bankruptcy. Two days ago, it announced that all 800 of its American stores, and all 100 of its British ones, are closing or being sold. As many as 33,000 workers could lose their jobs.

What happened to America's biggest toy store?

Simply put, vulture capitalists ate it.
One of those vultures was Bain Capital. Deval Patrick was its managing director, the man in charge, when this occurred.

So why is Jeffrey Toobin writing about him? Maybe because Patrick is much loved by the Obama inner circle:
Patrick would enter the race with one significant distinction: he is a kind of political heir to Barack Obama, and enjoys broad support from people close to the former President. Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s former senior adviser and still a close friend, told me, “Deval would make an outstanding President. He’d make a terrific candidate.” She added, “President Obama and Deval are very much alike in terms of their core values, what drove them into public service, their willingness to lend a hand, the responsibility to give back. I think they share a basic philosophy about what it means to be a good citizen.” Obama and Patrick also have in common roots in Chicago, Ivy League educations, and complicated relationships with largely absent fathers (which both men have chronicled in memoirs that feature youthful pilgrimages to Africa). They espouse a politics of unapologetic idealism, with a largely moderate, center-left orientation. On the stump, both are part teacher and part preacher. “Deval is a very genuine person, a very empathetic person,” David Axelrod, who has been a strategist for Patrick as well as for Obama, told me. “He is a guy who makes people feel comfortable. He’s very principled, you can see that—just like Obama.”
Ignore the adoring prose layered into that paragraph — "They [Obama and Patrick] espouse a politics of unapologetic idealism, with a largely moderate, center-left orientation. On the stump, both are part teacher and part preacher" — and focus on the endorsements. Patrick's "unapologetic idealism" is just not true; both Obama and Patrick are corporatists who serve wealth first. Being "part teacher and part preacher" just means he, like Obama, is a good Elmer Gantry.

As for Patrick being "principled," indeed he is; he's principled "just like Obama," though I'm sure Toobin doesn't mean this as ironically it sounds to any real student of Obama.

Most of the piece is like that — painfully praising, and painfully revealing in a way unintended by Toobin. For example, here's Toobin on why Patrick was opposed to Brett Kavanaugh's nomination:
That afternoon, Patrick and I sat down at a diner in Asbury Park. In Washington, Brett Kavanaugh was being confirmed as a Justice of the Supreme Court, and Patrick explained his opposition to the nomination. “Some of it is very personal,” he said. ... In 1993, Patrick’s brother-in-law was convicted of raping Patrick’s sister, and Diane has talked openly about being a victim of domestic abuse during her first marriage. “I can confirm that the experience of not being believed or having the experience not taken as seriously or treated as seriously is extremely painful,” he said. He spoke with sorrow and emotional distance, and [Toobin couldn't bring himself to write "but"], notably, didn’t denounce Kavanaugh directly, or Trump for choosing him.
Note in this passage the compelling verbal portrait of a man whose sister had been raped, speaking "with sorrow and emotional distance," followed immediately by the lack of condemnation of either the rapist, the radical who nominated him, or the destructive agenda the Kavanaugh court will enact. Toobin's personal access to Patrick ("That afternoon, Patrick and I sat down at a diner in Asbury Park"), his front-and-center self-placement as the writer picked to roll out Valerie Jarrett's front-runner, also stands out. The piece is a paint job, and deaf to its ironies.

None of this means that Patrick won't be a force to be reckoned with in 2020. Both Toobin and David Axelrod attest to Patrick's preacher power on the stump. Toobin: "Soon after Patrick started to campaign, Axelrod got a phone call from his sister Joan, who lives in Massachusetts ... “She had never done anything like this before, but she gets on the phone and says she’s just met Deval and he is incredible. ‘He’s the real deal. You have to come here and work for him.’” ... Patrick beat Reilly by twenty points in the primary."

As a sleeper, Patrick is well positioned to surprise. Be prepared to find him in the running as the race evolves, with both money and power behind him and yes-we-can media angels at his shoulder.

Toobin, closing on a note of swelling church-organ glory, emphasizes Patrick's chosen theme, "hope and kindness":
"It struck me that something is so wrong when we learn to shout our anger and whisper our kindness,” he went on. “We have got to learn to stop being ashamed of being kind." In the church and elsewhere, Patrick left a message of hope and kindness. The question, for Patrick and everyone else, is whether there is a wider audience for it in this fierce and broken political moment.
Is there a place for "hope and kindness" in this "fierce and broken moment"? Let's ask the broken employees of Toys 'R' Us before seeking kindness from Deval Patrick, their destroyer.


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At 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If he gets the nomination, it will drive the MAGAts insane!

The democraps continue to rush to their oblivion - the outbreak of real violence when the MAGAts fear losing control.

At 12:29 PM, Blogger edmondo said...

If Deval gets the nomination I will contribute to and vote for Trump's re-election. They are just trying to make Hillary look less worse.

At 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

edmondo, if they nom Patrick, you can save your money. Lefty voters who are aware and lefty voters who will be freshly stung by the 'crap betrayal in '19 will stay home by the 10s of millions.

trump will win both the electoral college, easily, and the "popular" vote. The turnout will be 10 points less than this midterm.

'David Axelrod, who has been a (lying sack of shit apologist) for Patrick as well as for Obama, told me. “He is a guy who makes people feel comfortable. He’s very principled, you can see that—just like Obama.” '

Their one and only principle, clearly, is a religious devotion to corporate primacy in this cluster fuck of a shithole. Obamanation proved this for 8 pure years in the white house. and anyone who ever worked for bain (or any such company) ... 'nuf said.

Total sociopaths. both of those motherfuckers. and, clearly, Patrick's wife too.

There are dozens of democraps exploring a run for the oval in 2020. And not one of them is deserving of a single leftist's vote. Bernie is the least worst of them all and I wouldn't vote for even him.

At 1:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


If any of these including Hillary gets nominated to the Dem Ticket, I am actually voting for Trump.

At 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the poster at 1:55pm. I will vote for the Dem ticket only if some real progressive like Bernie is the nominee.

At 2:26 PM, Blogger VG said...

GP- I recently had occasion to look back at your piece Obama Harvests His wealth- esp. the comments. Still an important piece imo, and foreshadows what you say here about Patrick here. Definitely worth rereading.

Highlight link above and right-click to read.

At 3:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Careful how you Berniebros speak about black candidates, whether Kamala Harris, Deval Patrick, Booker, Landrieu.

Those days are over and we black voters won't tolerate the disrespect from so-called "allies"

We CRUSHED Bernie's ass in 2016 in part do you Bros but you haven't learn your lesson but WE have so DON'T cross us

Black twitter; black voters AND black journalists will properly vet Bernie this time unlike 2016.It will be ugly so don't complain when we come for him like you people are dragging Harris.

WE will pick who the nominee is and it won't be Bernie

AnyoneButBernie2020 or Trump2020

At 7:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:42 PM, you should vote for Hillary. The neoliberalism of the Clintons and Obama has really worked very well for the African Amerian community. So, you should most certainly NOT vote for anyone who is somewhat progressive (like Bernie). Instead, you should vote for neoliberals like Hillary, Booker, Harris, or Gillibrand....

At 9:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

tell you guys what: You black voters/twits/journos can have the democrap party.

You don't seem able to discern the worthless corrupt corporatist fascists from decently progressives. You only seem able to see pigment.

And, btw, you forgot to mention probably the worst, most corrupt of them all: eric holder.

refused to prosecute ANYONE for $20 fucking trillion in financial fraud... and now, again (still), works for a wall street law/lobbying firm.

I've been wrong. $hillbillary isn't the greatest bankers' whore ever. It's holder... or maybe obamanation... so many despicable whores to choose from.

At 6:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bernie ended up quite popular among all Democratic demographics and that still seems to be the case in recent polling. Those who don't seem to like Bernie in the A-A community are largely the leaders in the establishment.

Bernie got swiftboated by Hillary on the racial issue. He was deferential to the BLM protesters and got blasted by the PUMAs. When those activists finally got around to protesting Hillary, she white-splained them but got a complete pass in the media for her condescension. I have a feeling average A-A voter paid attention and that is part of the reason why they didn't support her on Election Day.

It was interesting how BLM waited so long to protest the Democratic front runner and it didn't happen until Bernie had been tarred for weeks. Even more interesting was the fact that BLM never held the person in power accountable. Obama and his Justice Department completely betrayed the A-A community and BLM didn't seem to care.

At 9:39 AM, Blogger Gaius Publius said...

VG, thanks for the kind words.

I couldn't get your link to work, but this one does:

Perhaps it's the capital O on "Obama".

As to the piece, it's an entirely deserved tribute to Obama's ability to out-Elmer Gantry Elmer Gantry when it comes to Wall Street — to slap them around publicly with one (very gentle) hand, and take their money privately for services rendered with the other.

Thanks for bringing it up.



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