Gov.-Elect Patrick Pledges To Hire 1,000 Cops In Massachusetts
Massachusetts Gov.-elect Deval Patrick renewed his campaign pledge today to hire 1,000 new police officers statewide.
The promise of 1,000 new officers was a key part of Patrick's public safety platform as a candidate. Under the plan, the state would initially pay for the officers and gradually turn those costs over to cities and towns. The goal is to help control guns and gang violence.
It's another example of a Democrat taking action that repudiates the conservative spin that Democrats are "soft on crime."
One of the most famous examples of conservative spin overwhelming facts came in the 1988 presidential race between then-Vice President George Bush and then-Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis.
Under Dukakis' watch, the violent-crime rate in Massachusetts dropped 13.4 percent, while the national rate in that same period under President Reagan rose 1.8 percent.
But all voters heard about that year with regard to crime was the horrific situation surrounding furloughed prisoner Willie Horton. Two ads followed that fall -- one from the Bush campaign, one independently created -- playing the race card and linking Dukakis with the idea that Democrats were soft on crime. Facts be damned.
Today, it's harder to get the label of "soft on crime" to stick.
That's in large part because of President Clinton. Not only was Clinton in favor of the death penalty, but as governor of Arkansas he ordered a convict executed in the year he first ran for president. He then promised to replace 100,000 bureaucrats with 100,000 cops -- a promise he kept.
Conservative pundits and radio ranters still push the idea. In the real world, voters generally don't buy the claim.
Patrick's opponent this year, Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, was one of the few Republicans this year pushing the "soft on crime" claim on a Democrat. She lost ... badly.