Joan Vennochi pretty much trashes Frank Phillips

(Civility alert! Please follow the Rules of the Road. - promoted by Bob)

Things must be a little tense over on Morrissey Boulevard these days.  Joan Vennochi’s column today isn’t really about the Governor’s race, or whether Deval Patrick is likely to win, or whether he’d do a good job if he did.

No, it’s about the crappy article that Globe reporter Frank Phillips wrote earlier this week about Patrick’s long-since ended membership in a men-only club while he was an undergrad at Harvard, as well as a bunch of other articles in which Phillips has tried to raise questions about Patrick.

Horrors.  Deval Patrick once belonged to an exclusive all-male club at Harvard. He owns a big vacation house in the Berkshires. He served on corporate boards for companies that put profit ahead of consumers and union workers.

Why should any of that derail Patrick’s bid to become the next governor? He is no different from others who made the same choices — except for the humbleness of his roots and the color of his skin.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy just this year resigned his membership in Harvard’s all-male Owl Club…. Plenty of Massachusetts politicians — Democrats and Republicans — own vacation homes. Indeed, Kennedy presides over an entire family compound….

The line of attack against Patrick is classic class warfare, the type Democrats, rich or poor, usually wage against Republican opponents. In this case, the class warfare is breaking out in a Democratic primary contest that includes another millionaire, venture capitalist Christopher F. Gabrieli, as well as a man of undisputed modest means, Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly.

In this case, the class warfare is being waged against a candidate who also happens to be black. So, you have to ask: Is Patrick’s race an unspoken factor in this line of attack? …

I wonder if the intense focus on the all-male Harvard Fly Club, the Berkshires vacation home, and the corporate resume says something about our stereotypical expectations for the path a black man is supposed to follow — even one with two Harvard degrees.

Tough stuff, Joan.  Frank can’t be too psyched – I don’t recall often seeing op-ed columnists directly take on reporters like this.

(BTW, her column goes on to raise some vague questions about Patrick’s “political dexterity,” and ask some other questions that suggest she hasn’t spent much time with Patrick’s position papers.  Memo to Joan: MavDem has helpfully supplied you with everything you need!  Be sure to check BMG daily for your policy analysis needs.)

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28 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. unspoken factor in line of attack...

    Why is attacking someone for belonging to a club that discriminated against women not fair game?  Since Patrick is black he should get a pass on things that would get anyone else in hot water?

    • An all-male club by any other name... a fraternity. Lots of folks have belonged to fraternities without it meaning much, if anything.

      Bush, Bush and Kerry didn't even get burned over Skull and Bones. Sure, there were some comments and jokes, but nobody really made a big deal about it.

      Why is the Fly Club different? Or is it Patrick that's different?

  2. Since Ted is white, does that mean HE should?

    NOBODY thinks that Patrick or Kennedy do not have a commitment to equal rights.  Or Kerry or Christy or Tom or Chris, for that matter.

    No, this time Frank whipped out his little hatchet and chopped himself in the foot.  Regardless of policy issue, you can alway find him on the fourth floor, at the foot of the funky staircase leading to the teeny Globe office, getting his info spoon fed from the same five or six retreads.  Unlike, say, John Henning, who wanders the halls like a grey ghost, with his mouth shut and his ears open.  Unlike Frank.

    See, it isn't so much that Frank is snooty, self-involved or myopic.  It's that he's a bad reporter to boot.

  3. Is BMG Turning into Fox? Why Attack Vennochi?

    And it doesn't mean she finds fault with Frank Phillips reporting it. The dems made it an issue during the Supreme Court hearings. Phillps wrote about a dem. gubernatorial candidate who was a member of the same club and how he handled it. He also had the ridiculous quote from Wendy Murphy. I love the discrepancies on what he resigned.

    Now Joan V. defends Patrick and you can only find a as a negative spin towards her. Talk about bias. Very Murdoch-like. A quarrel in the newsroom! Great spin

    Why, because Joan points to legitimate questions. He is the darling of the far left and unfortunately people that has baggage. Will he be able to work with Legislature? Fair question I think. In fact,  I asked BMG to ask that very same question during the smackdown.

    Bad Joan for pointing this out.

    eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
    • What the hell are you talking about?

      Did you read the post?  Sure, I dropped a couple of mildly critical, yet charmingly tongue-in-cheek, comments in at the end of my post, about the stuff at the end of her column.  So what?  Am I supposed to give her a pass on that just because she took on Frank's lousy reporting?

      • Frank Phillips Did Not Invent the Issue

        And one article by Phillips is not what she is referring to. Your spin on the story is my knock.

        But, I disagree with Joan on the point that white or black, Deval's corporate resume is legitimate. And because he is the darling of the left, not a Black man, he gets a closer look and the cry of hypocrisy. If Robert Reich had same corporate resume he would be knocked as a fraud.

        eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
        • Patrick's not black?

          • Maybe not a Man?

          • Sorry If I was Not Clear Bob. So Here Goes

            My basic point.

            For good or bad Patrick is the heavy favorite among those that a reasonable person would view as the farther left of the state Democratic Party and people associated with the infrastructure of the Party. - Far left, teachers' unions, and yes the nurses' unions (a distant second behind teachers' unions in pecking order) all make up the members of this group associated with the party. Different unions are on and off at different times. But the core is always there. Plus Planned Parenthood.

            Robert Reich won the far left crowd four years ago. These people actually think John Kerry is a sincere likable guy. Many think Howard Dean was the best thing since Abe Lincoln.

            Because this crowd is very sanctimonious they are quick to attack an opponent, ideological or political, for any small misstep that can in anyway be interpreted as "anti- flavor of the week".

            As such, a membership in college same sex social clubs over 40 years ago became an issue during the last round of Supreme Court nomination Senate hearings.

            Now the question has been raised about a gubernatorial candidate who is strongly supported by and associated with the state dem party regulars described above.

            A few questions and answers arise from these facts;

            1. Does the issue deserve being raised?  Yes, because it was an issue forward within in a Supreme Court nomination hearing. 2. Would it be raised if he was white?  Yes. The issue is the hypocrisy of the left dems. 3. Is it an unfair ridiculous issue that no one cares about and not cost him any votes?  Yes? 4. Does he deserve it?  No. 5. Do the lefty dems that make up his base deserve it?  Yes. "What goes around comes around", or "live by the sword, die by the sword" or insert your own here __________________ 6. As a senior official in the Clinton Administration who left for the private sector is his resume and his role at each company a legitimate inquiry?  Yes 7. Regardless of his skin color?  Yes 8. Is his big business resume and work background even more of an issue because of his association with the party’s far left?  Yes.

            eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
      • LMAO!

        Ya know, I was gonna reply to his comment and hit the reply button a couple times only to think better of it, primarily because you can take care yourself. 

        So, as  soon as I saw the "What the hell are you talking about?" in the recent comments box, I laughed out loud.  Didn't even need to look at the thread it was attached to. 

  4. Not Surprised by BMG's Omission of Deval Hypocrisy on Energy

    While Deval sings Cape Wind's praises, he owned stock in one of the nation's "top coal production" companies until LAST WEEK!

    Click here for the Boston Herald story.

    The story includes: When asked if his investment was inconsistent with his political stance, Patrick replied, “It sounds like it,” adding that he thinks the state needs a diversity of energy sources.

    Granted, it was only $1,000 or so worth of stock and Deval is, of course, pleading ignorance.  But if we're talking about a "higher standard" and a "different kind of politics," shouldn't Deval be above pleading ignorance and go out of his way to know if he is personally invested in a top coal producer, and therefore environmental polluter?

    (Or will Deval supporters now say how coal is good for the environment so it is OK?)

    It would be nice if BMG was as attentive to Deval's giant questions marks as they are to other candidates'.

    • A Rich Guy..

      who is the darling of the left. That is Deval's problem. The same as all other Harvard Educated, Washington job, leave government and work in private sector. He has to answer for the conflicts and the things that go along with his resume. Not because he is Black.

      eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
    • Investments vs. ideology

      Do you think Deval Patrick actively manages his portfolio himself?  I have not asked, but I'm going to assume that he does not, because he can afford not to.

      Given that, any financial advisor who did not invest in the energy sector over the past few years is practically guilty of negligence.

      I'm sorry, but I'm as liberal as anyone and even I know that socially responsible investing is a crock -- a scam for mutual funds to charge higher fees.

      • Acres - Do you think Dick Cheney manages HIS? heh heh heh

        • Of course not

          But his relationship to Halliburton is more than just a few thousand dollars in a larger portfolio, even you will have to concede.  He was the CEO and paid partly in stock options, with some of his salary deferred (which I believe is also a common and perfectly legal tax dodge).

          • And furthermore

            It's not Cheney's having stock in energy companies that is disturbing, it's the way he lets them write their own legislation and won't let the public know which companies are involved in his closed-door meetings.

    • Put up a user post!

      That's what they're for.  If you think we've missed something, write a post, don't just drop stuff in the comments.

    • Crocodile Tears

      As David wrote, if you think a story deserves coverage, post away.

  5. Good post, David

    We all know that as we get closer to the Primary, things are going to get nastier. None of the issues raised here (or in today's related Killer Coke post) is new, but that doesn't mean they won't be retreaded and rolled out again endlessly.

    One of the more mysterious pieces of fluff in Vennochi's op-ed is her comment (referring to Patrick) that

    So far, he has said yes to virtually every left-wing constituency.

    What, pray tell, is a "left-wing constituency"? Nurses? Schoolteachers? Parents?

    And what, exactly, did he say "yes" to? What were the questions?

    I find this sort of throw-away line rather annoying, because it is totally devoid of meaning, as I parse it, but is simply a not-so-subtle way of labeling Patrick as a lefty, which just ain't true.

    I challenge anyone who so labels Patrick to find one single policy position that he has taken that is not utterly consistent with the MassDems Party platform. Even if Patrick were as left-winged as his opponents try to brand him, would that be such a bad thing in this bluest of blue states?

    The GOP (at either the state or national level) has not been kind to small business owners over the past few years. Many of those people (at least in this neck of the woods) are jumping on the Patrick bandwagon because they see a chance for some positive change, wrought by a Governor who understands how the business world works.

    • Answer to Your Question Michael Forbes, $quot;Yes!$quot;

      You said.. "What, pray tell, is a "left-wing constituency"? Nurses? Schoolteachers? Parents?"

      In this state, but for the parents, yes. And yes to the parents because your definition of parents are the people the teachers unions trot out. These unions made a devil's pact with the state dem party years ago.

      eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
      • parents and teachers union

        FWIW, from the LA Daily News, there's a newly organized "parents union" specifically to FIGHT AGAINST the teachers union. 

        The goal is to counteract the "trotting out" - to use Ernie's phrase - of parents who are flown to the state capital to unwittingly testify in favor of status quo. 

        "And I don't know what they do," he said. "They seem to speak for I don't know who and I don't know what for. They seemingly speak in unison with those who protect the status quo, like the teachers union and the LAUSD bureaucracy."

        Steve Barr, tool of the Republicans?  Hardly.  "Mr. Barr has been active in politics throughout his professional career, serving on the national campaigns of President Clinton, Senator Gary Hart and Governor Michael Dukakis, and as a finance chair for the Democratic Party. In 1990, Mr. Barr co-founded Rock The Vote."

    • Fallacy of Many Pundits

      MFW is right to point out Vennochi's assumption:  that a Democrat should be faulted for agreeing with the people he stands up for.  To the media elite, and to many wealthy people, Democrats are bad because they want government to benefit a majority of the people. 

      "Oh those nurses are bad for wanting to keep a patient-to-nurse ratio reasonable!"

      • Where Can I Get What You are Smoking, Joel?

        "To the media elite,.... Democrats are bad because they want government to benefit a majority of the people." 

        You have to be high for that degree of paranoia.

        eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM

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