SPRINGFIELD -- Governor Deval Patrick gave the most fiery speech of the day thus far at the state Democratic convention, telling delegates “it’s time for Democrats to grow a backbone and stand up for what we believe.”
“Democrats, quit waiting for pundits and pollsters and economic indicators to tell us who the next president or senator or member of Congress is going to be,” he said. “We shape our own future.”
The speech, similar to those he often delivers to party activists across the country, excited the thousands in the audience, prompting many to repeatedly stand and cheer. Patrick’s speech was far more nationally oriented than those by other speakers, praising President Obama and criticizing Republicans as unprincipled bullies, seeking power rather than principle. He singled out his predecessor Mitt Romney for what he characterized as bad economic stewardship.
Patrick then exhorted Democrats to stand up for Obama.
“I for one will not let him be bullied out of office,” he said. “I’m in for 2012, are you in?”
Most of the state’s US House delegation gave remarks in tribute to Barney Frank and John Olver, two retiring congressmen.
“They stood up every day for men and women in the Commonwealth who wanted the opportunity to succeed,” said Representative William Keating, a Bourne Democrat.
Representative James P. McGovern of Worcester called Frank “a Democrat who strikes terror in the hearts of Republicans” and alluded to the time the two men were arrested protesting the genocide in Sudan, joking that Frank was a lot of fun in jail.
In his tribute, Representative Edward J. Markey, the dean of the delegation, said, “When they build a Mt. Rushmore for liberals, Barney Frank will be up there.”
Olver gave a short speech, but Frank was not on stage. Also missing was Steve Lynch, the South Boston congressman who is the state’s most conservative Democrat.
Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh would not predict whether long-shot candidate Marisa DeFranco would make the primary ballot to challenge establishment candidate Elizabeth Warren.
He opened this morning’s state Democratic convention with a coy joke from the podium, predicting “we would send a strong woman to the US Senate from Massachusetts.”
Walsh tried to fire up the crowd of thousands. “It’s a tight race,” he said. “It’s going to be tied right up till election day.”
Noah Bierman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.