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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Monday, March 19, 2007

Humble pie for breakfast

Deval Patrick wasn't kidding when he said he was on the menu, although 22 Caddy and drapes jokes in a two-hour period seems almost mild.

Patrick got just the environment he needed to try and put the recent past behind him. Cracking wise about the Boston Convention and Exposition Center having enough parking for both the Caddy and the helicopter was just the medicine the governor needed.

His No. 2, Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, playing the loyal second banana, also got a couple of preemptive shots in, with my favorite being his concern over what he would be doing this summer, considering he presumed he'd be acting as Patrick's caddie.

The breakfast has lost some of its sharpness from day's gone by when Billy Bulger presided in a social club where you had to climb in through the window. The fact Treasurer Tim Cahill spent taxpayer dollars to buy jokes from an advertising agency show how far we are stretching.

There were needles to be sure, including some jabs at the media from Rep. Stephen Lynch and Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral.

But don't forget that Patrick brought this on himself for the lack of forethought about the message sent by leasing Cadillac and buying expensive draperies for the Corner Office. And as for the Ameriquest call....

The media was only reporting the facts. Did they perhaps enjoy it a tad more because of the lecture Patrick delivered to newspaper publishers in December? You better believe it.

On the other hand, making a front page story out of the common practice of creating talking points for supporters -- and comparing this to the tactics used by Karl Rove -- shows an amazing lack of a sense of proportion. Let me know when the Patrick Committee breaks the law by outing secret agents and uses religion and other wedge issues to flaunt the Constitution. The Globe really needs to learn about modern campaign methods, including podcasts.

The ultimate takeaway lesson? Never flaunt a red cape in front of a bull unless you are prepared to kill it.

Can we now get back to talking about serious things -- like how are we going to pay for everything we need and want?

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Anonymous Lynne said...

"The media was only reporting the facts."

I disagree. Even Emily Rooney called them on the real facts - the furniture was falling apart...was that reported? The drapes were as expensive as drapes gotten by other administrations before. Was that reported? Was it reported that the State House was shabby? By the way, I know a custom drapery place, in my building. I bought custom drapes from them for my office. It wasn't cheap, and I only have two oversized windows and nothing else. So the media can spare me its fake outrage. Honestly. To devote so much time to the issue was, at best, a play to scandal that mostly didn't exist so they could sell papers. At best, it was revenge for not allowing the reporters to be the sole gatekeepers of politics.

Whichever it was, it wasn't acceptable.

March 19, 2007 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Lynne said...

Er, the second "at best" was supposed to be "at worst" obviously.

The Globe has the same problem the rest of the media is having - the need to tell a story which overrides the facts. Like "Dean is angry and liberal" (neither true) or "Kerry is a flipflopper", they've decided that the storyline for Patrick is "fallen angel." It's a compelling archtypal story, one we have had since the dawn of time - hey, it's in Genesis for cripe's sake - but like other storylines, it only serves to obfuscate the truth. It's lazy, and it's hurting America, as one Jon Stewart once said.

March 19, 2007 2:40 PM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Yes, Emily Rooney (the media, you will recall, someone with some disdain for bloggers :-)) did report the drapes correctly when most other did not. And I too have experience with the cost of good drapes.

Chalk it up to the steady drip, drip -- Caddy, drapes, phone call. There was something to pick at because a lot of the image questions were never dealt with.

Whether by design or inexperience, no one thought about the way things LOOK -- which is just as important as they way things ARE. We may not like it, but that's the facts of life in today's 24-hour media cycle.

Notice I leave out the helicopter and the Buckely appointment because those are bogus stories.

As I said, there's no doubt there was some satisfaction at finding tarnish on Deval's armor. But that doesn't mean he wasn't guilty of allowing the tarnish to develop.

This tug of war between media and politician is as natural as the ebb and flow of the tides. Let's hope the tide is now rising in Patrick's favor -- and hope that he doesn't make any more mistakes.

March 19, 2007 7:31 PM  

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