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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Gotcha politics (III)

Politics is one of the easiest areas to get people doing inconsistent things. Between the demand to constantly speak and act -- and the tendency of many participants to please all the people all of the time -- finding slip ups is like shooting fish in a barrel (whoever does that sort of thing!)

Today's two gotchas are classic: The question is how shocking and/or significant are they?

eval Patrick takes money from a Big Dig lobbyists while condemning the Big Dig culture on Beacon Hill. Shocking, just shocking as Captain Renault of Casablanca might say.

Fund-raising is the gutter from which all political detritus begins its journey into the sewer. It is probably the singlemost reason (after or in conjunction with the rise of the Theocratic Right) that politics and campaigns have become the deplorable things they are.

But without money there is no campaign. Which brings us to Willie Sutton's observation on why he robbed banks.

Headline: Deval meets with Travaglini and DiMasi. Headline: Deval breaks fast with O'Neill & Associates. It does not follow from there (yet) that he is now bought and paid for by these special interests. But in a campaign focused on all the wrong questions, it's inevitable this unfortunate fact of political life will become a major question.

Which brings us to tired old cliche #3 about the folly of unilateral disarmament.

Far more significant to me (I'm not Outraged Conservative after all) is the variance between Kerry Healey's rhetoric and reality. I believe the term of the art is flip-flop. Or hypocrite.

Our crime-busting lt-gov now wants the world to know every detail of every criminal's rap sheet -- even if said offender actually may have decided to straighten up, fly right and try to get back into society. But not so many years ago, "career criminologist" Kerry Healey supported limits on releasing information when she was a private citizen sitting on the Criminal History Systems Board.

In other words, she took the same position Deval Patrick takes today. Which is the right thing to do. And for which she is blasting him as soft on crime.

The difference, other than partisan spin? Patrick's fund-raising is based on speculation about future action. Healey's doing one thing while saying another is on the record. It happened.

Mindreading is a tough job. I prefer sticking to things that are real.


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