A-Walk Breaks Long Silence on Bookgate
I realize that expecting one of the Globe‘s last two remaining Metro columnists to break news and proffer an interesting perspective on the day’s events is expecting far too much, but today’s Adrian Walker column is sub-par, even for him.
Walker’s MO typically is to take an event that happened two or three days prior, spend half the column summarizing it (you can actually see him strain to meet his word count), and then close with the most obvious available conclusion (see here).
But today’s column on Deval Patrick‘s book deal not only contains the most lazily pedestrian takeaway imaginable (Deval needs to prove he’s going to stick around and govern), but comes about a week and a half after BZ’s Jon Keller broke the story in the first place, and, I would argue, five days after the rest of the press stopped intensively covering it.
I’ll give you a dollar if you can get through this entire thing. My eyes kept glassing over in the fourth paragraph. But, just to tantalize you, here are a few of the more incisive bits:
The book idea has proven unpopular in the court of public opinion. The project has played into an image of Patrick as aloof and self-centered.
The pendulum of public opinion has tended to swing wildly where Patrick is concerned. Elected by a landslide, he was vilified just weeks into his term for buying fancy drapes and leasing a Cadillac. Later a staff shakeup was said to bring order, and he was out of the line of fire for a while. Now the critics, many of them former supporters, are back with a vengeance.
Like so many before him, he is finding that promises to slash the budget and reform the culture of Beacon Hill are far more easily made than kept. His casino proposal was necessitated because he could cut hardly anything without breaking a campaign promise, having promised the moon to anyone who asked. As for the legislative leaders, they view opposing a governor as their birthright.
What has his supporters so jittery is the still-unsettled question of whether he has the commitment to deliver on the promises that got him elected. Patrick is a man of many interests and talents. But he needs to show Massachusetts that running the state is still one of them.
Why, oh lord, do the good ones always take the buyouts?
Anyway, if you want to see how a Deval-in-distress column is done, read Globe op-ed columnist Scot Lehigh’s piece today. He at least raises the so-far neglected question of whether Patrick’s finances might be the reason he’s pushing so hard for the book deal. That, friends, is how it’s done. And Matt Viser’s overlong but still entertainingly infuriating report on Patrick’s 60 page book proposal is well worth a read. Not to succumb to cynicism (which, according to the proposal, is the worst thing one can do), but this thing sounds absolutely dreadful.