Caution ahead

A tip for the governor: Hunker down.

By Charles P. Pierce
November 29, 2009

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The final installment in a series containing advice to the prospective candidates in a gubernatorial race about which it’s too early to be writing. Dear Deval Patrick: I saved you for last because, frankly, you could use a break. It’s already been a pretty terrible year to be an incumbent governor. Jon Corzine’s out flat on his millions in New Jersey, and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s tenure in California is now getting the kind of reviews that Conan the Barbarian got back in his previous career as a performing incompetent. Governors deal with the human consequences of the Big Thoughts with which Washington seeks to grapple, usually dropping them on some poor governor’s head for good measure. (What’s the over-under number on when New Jersey gets fed up with its new governor? I’ve got March 10, 2010, in the pool.) You’re no exception. You got elected on a wave of optimism and good feeling -- a time that now feels as long ago as the last time we had an unindicted speaker of the House. The economy’s still sour, and the voters are still revolting. It looks as though you might have to lay off boatloads of state workers; so much for running a cheap Get Out the Vote operation. And the grand plan for a bunch of casinos could be back on the front burner. Casinos are where optimism goes to die, although that might still be the State House. Opinions vary.

Charles P. Pierce /

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  • november 29 globe magazine cover
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