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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Friday, April 20, 2007

Reality bites

The education of Deval Patrick continues.

The Globe reports the governor has put together a "kitchen cabinet" to help market the issues he ran on last year. Reality set in that the talk of a different kind of administration -- where politics and ideology gets left at the door -- just won't work in today's horribly polarized world where attorneys general can insist they will stay on the job despite all evidence that says only one person believes he is competent.

Sadly, Patrick has learned what Michael Dukakis did before him: in running a government, it is about ideology, not competence.

Some of the initial team Patrick assembled failed politically in that second category -- and his own lapses have been well documented. None of the failures has risen to Albert Gonzales levels, but a shake out was needed.

The start came with the naming of Joe Landolfi, David Morales and Doug Rubin. Now it's time for Patrick to work on the "walruses," Bill Weld's terms for political hacks who populate the bureaucracy taking up salaries and space and trying to foil his agenda.

We've already seen their efforts at work with the effort to slime labor secretary Suzanne Bump.

The Globe hit the problem on the head:
Patrick, whose campaign challenged the political establishment and eschewed traditional political and media strategies, tried to bring that philosophy to the State House ... But within the first few months, as he focused nearly exclusively on the state budget, he faced a furor caused by several controversial decisions...

His critics and supporters also said he had failed to use the traditional honeymoon period to dramatically champion several well-defined initiatives, an important political step for any new governor.
So it's time to do what he should have done in the beginning: root out leftovers from the 16 years of GOP rule over the Statehouse and do things as they have been done before.

Sadly, the institutions with the greatest need for overhaul in this nation -- the governments -- are the most resistant to change. Whatever change comes must come from the inside. Patrick is learning this lesson.

The one big difference from his predecessors, particularly Weld and Romney, Patrick isn't likely to lose interest and walk away. That alone will be a reform worth attaining.



Anonymous Joel Patterson said...

Good point. The conservative ideology's contempt for government means they don't actually try to improve government's performance. I think this also explains why Bush's appointees to run occupied Iraq failed so miserably compared to the New Dealers who ran occupied Germany and Japan.

April 20, 2007 6:19 AM  

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