If indeed Patrick is in line for the latter job, that makes his leadership in the coming weeks and months even more crucial. And with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino continuing to deal with health problems and now a broken leg, it seems likely that Patrick will be the face of the local response.
The fact is that right now very few people know who Deval Patrick is. That will change quickly, and whether it changes for the good or the bad will determine whether Patrick stays in the spotlight in the years to come.
Despite all of the traditional outrage and calls for unity following a national tragedy, Chris Cillizza of The Fix notes that the political sphere does in fact, at a somewhat frightening pace, return to normal as the sting from such events fades:
And then, sooner than you might think, politics as usual reasserts itself. While the pause and re-start periods feature speculation that something fundamental has changed in the culture and, therefore, in our politics, that's usually not the case.
One example: The murders of 20 children and six adults late last year in Connecticut was cast by many as a tipping point for the debate over guns and their role in society. But, less than four months removed from that horribleness, a stripped-down gun bill is struggling to make it off the ground in the Senate.
Our politics is less affected by outside events – even massive ones like Newtown or Boston – than we typically believe in the immediate aftermath of these tragedies. The tendency to assume "everything has changed" is usually off base. In fact, the opposite – "nothing has changed" – is far more often true.