What's better? Jokes or lies? Defending himself against criticism of his recently-announced plans to travel extensively over the next couple of years, Governor Patrick resurrected one of his favorite stretched truths from 2006 (from the State House News, via the Arlington Advocate):
Asked Thursday to compare his planned out-of-state travels to his predecessor Mitt Romney’s, Gov. Deval Patrick said he intends to promote Massachusetts on the road, suggesting that Romney ridiculed the Bay State as he laid the groundwork for his 2008 presidential run.
“In his last year in office, he was out of the state 270 of the 365 days of the year. That’s a lot different,” Patrick said during a radio interview. “I’m going out promoting the commonwealth while he was out making us a laughingstock.”
|Romney's no Rodney|
“It’s not a bad thing to raise our profile, to brag about the fact that our budgets have been balanced and on time,” he said, adding that he also expects to tout Massachusetts’s student achievement and the state’s bond rating.
Patrick also intends to host a fundraiser on Monday night at a private home on Capitol Hill, according to a spokesman for his campaign committee.So a big dollar funder in DC, at a secret location with an anonymous host. But other than that it's totally open and transparent. Piled on top of the travel plans and the federal PAC, though, another little bit of hypocrisy barely registers.
Steve Crawford declined to say whose home the fundraiser would be held at, but said the event is part of an effort to retire close to $200,000 of debt amassed during the governor’s re-election campaign. He said the fundraiser has no connection to the political action committee Patrick is establishing to help fund his travels to support the president and other Democratic candidates.
Looks like they'll have to cancel Friday night poker. With casinos set to dominate yet another legislative session, word comes that Governor Patrick's political guru, Doug Rubin, has signed on to lobby for a major gaming firm. The Governor says he and Rubin won't talk about gaming. At least he didn't say he has "no plans" to talk with Rubin about gaming.
Patrick's promise is kind of silly. Rubin has been hired by G-Tech, a company that is likely to be highly influential in the next round of the gaming debate. The Governor cutting himself off from their input in service to optics helps nobody. Patrick and Rubin should do what the law requires - report whatever contacts they have, and how much Rubin is paid for his influence.
Sounds great!!... What's it mean? Discussing his return engagement Wednesday at the Quincy IHOP "jobs club" that he made a centerpiece of his reelection effort, Governor Patrick commented thusly to the SHNS: "You get a very clear picture and human face on policy, and policy only matters where it touches people."
Now don't get me wrong. I have no problem with Governor Patrick spending a couple of hours talking to "real people" - people out there dealing with the harsh reality of the economic climate Patrick's policies are perpetuating here. On the spectrum of ways the Governor can spend his time, the Quincy jobs club sits comfortably on the "worthwhile" end - far away from, for example, "junket to London."
And I realize that this skill - Patrick's ability to string together words in ways that somehow convey feeling without meaning - apparently appeals to more people than it repels. But it drives me nuts. "Policy only matters where it touches people"?? What does that mean? Nothing. It means nothing. It sounds nice, and warm, and well-intentioned, and empathetic. But it means nothing. Plenty of policy matters that does not "touch people." Defense policy, for starters. Many/most aspects of criminal justice policy (at least with regard to the vast majority of the population). In fact, a great deal of what government does - or refrains from doing - never "touches' anyone, if it is done right. But no matter.
After the last two election cycles it is hardly a news flash that a great number of Massachusetts voters react favorably to atmospherics devoid of substance. I wonder if they will tire of it. If not, I wonder who the next messenger of meaninglessness will be?
Okay. I feel better now. This is hardly a comprehensive list, but I need to stop before I go and ruin a perfectly good (if soggy) Friday.
Anyone have other Four Ps to add?