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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Signs of life?

They probably could have picked a better time than hours before April Fool's Day, but the Patrick administration is showing signs of returning to its political base.

Head over to Blue Mass Group and check out the post from Patrick Chief of Staff Doug Rubin. He lays out what can fairly be called a fairly impressive roster of accomplishments last year -- and a coherent game plan for the rest of this year.

And he gives enough credit elsewhere to actually merit the phrase "Together We Can."

For example:
Highlights in 2007 include the historic vote on same-sex marriage, lower rates and increased choices in auto insurance, implementation of health care reform, development of a statewide anti-crime council, passage of the film tax credit, the creation of thousands of new jobs, attracting new and dynamic leaders in important areas like the Department of Corrections, DSS, and DCR, the passage of Commonwealth Corps, and national leadership in clean energy and environmental issues.

Already this year, the Governor has worked with legislative leadership to reach a compromise on closing corporate loopholes, create an Education Secretary to lead the next round of education reform, and put in place a child advocate for the first time in state history. The Appellate Tax Board closed the loophole on telephone poles, which when the process is completed will raise millions in new revenue for cities and towns. In addition, Governor Patrick filed a budget that balanced nearly half a billion in savings and efficiencies, new revenue, and targeted investments in job creation, education, and public safety.

Naturally a lot of the responses focused on casinos, the one gigantic failure -- both of policy and implementation. Equally naturally there are the snarky responses that raises more questions about the posters than Rubin or Patrick.

There's a lot of naivety too -- calls for Patrick to do something about arresting weird people. More important are the comments that don't reflect an understanding of what has happened here in the past.

Calls for a graduated income tax are all well and good -- until Barbara Anderson gets into the picture. A grad tax has been on the ballot five times in the last 40 years -- most recently in 1994 when it got enough signatures to make the ballot and then was crushed. Taxing the underground economy is a great idea -- as soon as someone can figure out how to do it.

The best suggestion to my mind was Patrick, House Speaker Sal DiMasi and Senate President Therese Murray embarking on road trips to listen to people at town hall forums. It's probably got as much chance as the grad tax, but it's a nice idea.

The governor's tin ear of late was duly, if belatedly noted in today's Globe, five days after the story broke. That's so 20th Century.

Rubin taking to Blue Mass Group is a sign that there may be life up in the Corner Office after all. It's a step, just as Patrick's speech to the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce recognizes that there's a lot of this state that isn't Boston (and conveniently close to his weekend place in Richmond!)

So it's one small step for Patrick, with no guarantees about giant steps for anyone. Except maybe the mainstream media and yak shows who need take giant steps to keep up and do more than hit and run journalism while lopping off staff.

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Blogger Dan Kennedy said...

A year from now, Rubin will be apologizing for auto insurance "reform."

April 01, 2008 2:15 PM  

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