Lt. Governor Tim Murray is bulking up his political organization.
The State House News reports this afternoon that Murray has brought in the Wisconsin Democratic Party's former communications director to serve as his committee's "deputy communications staffer, working under Michael Cohen."
Ask yourself: does a Lt. Governor need a "deputy communications staffer" if he is expecting to play second fiddle in Governor Patrick's more-than-well-staffed campaign orchestra? And is a guy from clear across the country really going to make the move to Massachusetts to fill that heretofore nonexistent slot?
Just add this to the growing pile of indications that Patrick is in this thing for the short haul and, as I predicted in February, will bow out sometime before the 2010 campaign really gets rolling. Murray has out-raised Patrick consistently, Patrick has spun off the left-wing rails policy-wise. And - have you noticed? - Murray has been notably absent from the traditional sidekick position at the podium on the rare occasion when Patrick has deigned to defend his tax hike proposals. Finally, it is no secret that Governor Patrick's wife, by all accounts a wonderful person, has been no fan of the harsh public spotlight.
For any number of reasons, Patrick has to continue to keep up the appearance of a guy gunning for reelection. He will continue to raise money, he will continue to stage nakedly political events, and he will insist to anyone asking that he loves his job and intends to do it through two terms. He needs to do this for his loyal LG, who benefits from as long a period of uncertainty as Patrick is willing to provide. More importantly, though, he needs to do this to avoid becoming the lamest of lame ducks. In a real sense, by summarily discarding his signature initiatives and ignoring his policy directives (how did that sales tax veto threat go over, Governor?) the Legislature has already made a lame duck of Patrick. Were he to announce his intention to bow out after one term, they'd chop off his head, pluck his feathers, stuff him, roast him, and serve him at the next leadership fundraiser.
Look for Patrick to get an offer he can't refuse, probably from his pal the President, some time in the first three months of next year.
Either that, or Murray's new "deputy communications staffer" had reason to flee Wisconsin and heard Massachusetts is an asylum state...