I’ve stated my immediate objections to Patrick’s phone call: I think it’s an improper use of the Governor’s time, reputation and authority of office. But there’s some subtext to this that I think may not be apparent. One of the reasons why this set me off is because it seemed like another example of corporate access and influence over policymakers, potentially at the expense of serving the electorate at large. Needless to say, this is hardly a problem confined to our governor — in fact, it would seem by his policy actions so far that he feels less beholden to corporate interests.
An example: I was floored and amused by Jay’s fatuous comment of a couple of days ago, in objecting to raising corporate taxes/closing loopholes, what have you: “Why did he do this? Because he needed cash fast and corporations don’t vote.” Got that? That’s just an unbelievable gloss on the immense power that corporate lobbies wield in ramming through legislation. For example, the piddling $295 assessment for uninsuring employers in last year’s health care debate, thereby putting much more onus on employees and the state, was corporate influence run hog-wild. One for you, ten for me. And let’s not even get into the US Congress.
Right now all eyes are on the Governor, for better or worse. But we need to hold everyone to a better standard when it comes to doing favors for powerful corporate interests. Surely if the Ameriquest call is a big story, there must be even more appalling stories going unwritten in the legislature every single day. I do hope the local media will pursue those with the same or more vigor than that with which they pursue a freshman governor — who after all was not making actual state policy with his phone call. (Hey, Travaglini spends a lot of time on the phone; who’s he talking to right now?)
… And we need a return of Clean Elections. But that’s for another day.