Friday, March 28, 2008

Deval, Barack and Phoning It In

So, the New York Times' Amy Goodnough blew into her pennywhistle about how two charming Black politicians talk a good line about change and hope. That Early Dazzle... article came in for its full share of criticism (shallow, racist, and from BMG's Charley, inaccurate).

There is good stuff in there though. I've been kicking this can up and down this blog for months, and almost certainly other bloggers have too. I haven't noticed it in MSM before now, but for example:
[I try not to let too much ego get involved in this. I get a kick out of the bloggers who post how many hits they've gotten and other such marks of insecurity. It's possible that Goodnough somehow was ignorant of these published ideas — it's just unlikely. My touchstone here is a very different article I did several decades ago when I was the editor of a grocery magazine. Back when many still smoked cigarettes, I had a flash and took a siding onto smokeless tobacco (wet and dry snuff). A month after the issue, the Times business section ran that subject, quoting my identical sources and stats. Whether it was put down to research, laziness or theft, they were, after all, the newspaper of record and didn't have to credit us. The biz section was on our comp list, so they got the issue. Being first with an idea and its expression is often irrelevant.]

It's not surprising that one or more Massachusetts bloggers noticed and noted the parallels and perils of Patrick and Obama. We don't have a lot of politicians campaigning on high ideals with a smattering of populism.

We are at a bifurcation or rather a three-way fork. Nationally, we can do the fearful, no-big-changes GOP way, the woman with the stick saying, "I got your compromise right here!" or the Deval-style aspiration/consensus guy.

Those of us who hopped into Deval's bag of promises are largely still hoping and anticipating good stuff. I did have overly high anticipation that he could build the teams and lubricate the compromises as he did in the business world. That has happened only at low to moderate levels.

The hungry, hungry hippo next to the picnic table, of course, is funding. Patrick's visions and programs to lead us politically, in policy and economically will only come for those who can pay for them. At the moment (year), the reactionary forces typified by House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, but certainly not limited to him, have stifled most advances.

There has not been sufficient outcry by voters or courage by lawmakers to catalyze the state change required. The commonwealth has been foundering for two decades and reactionaries need a dope slap, likely several.

They are terrified of raising any taxes. Odd though, isn't it that they let then Gov. Willard Mitt Romney pretend that his multiple new and increased fees weren't taxes because he said they weren't.

We see what failing to pay for the necessary can do. Education, public safety, business innovation and on and on worsen and fail. The inevitable fixes only become more expensive. We now can look at a worst-case future of being like Michigan.

Perhaps having these issues aired in the Times will help, even if they are expressed imprecisely. Certainly if the MSM here were doing their civic duty, the news and editorial pages will increasingly carry calls for the legislature to enable and not obstruct the necessary maintenance and improvements we need so desperately. Years of pretending things will suddenly become great without intervention and taxes haven't done it.

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