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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Let's move along

Deval Patrick has learned a lesson -- that's why he announced he was paying for the drapes before it became another mini-firestorm.

The Herald certainly seemed appeased, after all they focused on the other major "apology" of the day -- Tom Brady's impending fatherhood.

Ironically, it's a sports columnist and not a political one, who has the best view of the situation. Although he focuses on Brady, substitute the name of any public figure.
What a business. We decide what is news and what is not, frequently without any apparent consistency, and we react with astonishment when people do not live up to the impossible standards we have set for them.
Before the critics come crashing down on me, yes, Patrick is an elected official who used public money in a way that jars with public images. Symbolically, a Cadillac sends a different message than a Ford -- even if Brady himself once endorsed the car in commercials.

I'll reserve judgment on $10,000 drapes although I know from personal experience the cost of good drapes is ludicrous -- and it just gets worse when you have a lot of big windows.

And what makes Patrick different from my favorite punching bag, Mitt Romney? A track record. Patrick's missteps are his first and he appears chastened. Romney may have abandoned his salary but he also abandoned his job (not to mention his principles).

People were worried that Patrick was too liberal and would not reflect what he learned in the corporate suites at Texaco and Coca-Cola. Wrong (although he hasn't risen the Dennis Kozlowski levels). Check me out for my feelings about Patrick if this tin ear about spending becomes a pattern.

But the bottom line remains the same -- the American media builds people up to tear them down. It's one of the reasons I got tired of doing the job.

But, dear reader, you and I share blame too. We (collectively) soak up this stuff -- whether the target is Patrick, Romney, Michael Dukakis, Bill Weld, Nancy Pelosi or George Bush. It's worse on the celebrity end to be sure -- Brady's coverage is tame compared to the amount of time and attention devoted to Anna Nicole Smith and Paris Hilton, two individuals whose claim to fame is their claim to fame.

Patrick made some significant early mistakes (but interestingly he has not paid a price for it). Hopefully he will learn from them and this will be nothing more than a blip on the screen.

But spare me the knee-jerk conservative ravings of Jeff Jacoby and Brian Dodge who never piped up with outrage over the absence and philosophical gymnastics of their prodigal governor -- who used Massachusetts taxpayers to further his own ambitions.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree about Jacoby. His column was trash. The shame about him is that he could be a thoughtful and intelligent voice from the right. Instead, he can't help stooping into the gutter from time to time like this.

On your other point, we read this trash because we have no other newspapers. But, as seen by thier declining circulation, it does not seem to be working as a business strategy.

February 21, 2007 6:19 AM  

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