Mass. Gov. Knocks ‘Hard Right’ for Wanting to ‘Shrink Government, Cut Taxes, Crush Unions’

By Elizabeth Harrington | June 15, 2012 | 9:21 AM EDT

Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick (D) (AP Photo)

( - Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick told a liberal gathering in Washington Thursday that “hard right” values -- which he described as shrinking government, cutting taxes, and crushing unions – has been proved wrong, “time after time.”

And like his friend and Democratic ally President Obama, Patrick engaged in a little Bush-bashing.

“I start with the values motivating our strategy back home (in Mass.), because they are very different from those motivating the hard right, the folks arguing today for American-style austerity,” Patrick said.

“Once you strip away the slogans and the sound bites, all that congressional Republicans are saying is that if we just shrink government, cut taxes, crush unions and wait, all will be well.”

History has “proven that thesis wrong time after time after time,” he said. “I think of Herbert Hoover -- frankly, I think of George W. Bush and many of the policies that got us into this mess in the first place.”

Patrick made his remarks at the Center for American Progress following a panel discussion on “Assessing the Austerity Experiment.”

Aside from criticizing Congressional Republicans, Patrick used the occasion to tout government spending, specifically, President Obama’s $821-billion stimulus program:

Patrick noted that under his tenure, Massachusetts has “doubled the level of annual infrastructure investments.”

“All of this is creating jobs right now, but also a platform for economic development into the future,” he said. “And let there be no mistake -- the president’s stimulus helped.”

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Patrick said more than 95,000 people in his state can trace their paychecks directly to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – “and a lot of those folks are in construction doing vital and long neglected work.”

“I can’t think of a single thing in our history that Americans believed was important that we chose to leave entirely to chance,” he said.  “When we believed that settling the West was important, we created land-grant programs and built the transcontinental railroad.  When we decided that educating our children was important, we developed public schools and universities.

“When we decided liberty for all was important, really important, we freed the slaves and gave women the right to vote -- and sometimes even went to war abroad,” he added.  “We tend to shape our own future rather than just let it happen to us. That’s what Americans do and why we lead the world in so many different ways.”

Patrick said “no one” believes that government can or should solve every problem: “But government is still just the name we give to the things we choose to do together,” he said.  “And investing in education, innovation and infrastructure is still worth our doing together.”

The Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, has received $7.3 million in funding from foundations run by George Soros.