Save the State’s DC Office from Personal Politics

(Together they did! - promoted by David)

Of course it has become personal under the Dome even when they say it hasn’t.  The legislature takes criticism, even if mild, like a smoker takes to nicorette.  It makes them irritable and often it clouds their judgment, even if they know its right – in fact, particularly when it hits close to the mark.

That is why they are responding to Governor Patrick’s challenge on reform like a schoolyard bully responds to a new principal – with back turned and pride at-stake.

Case in point is the self-defeating and short-sighted decision by the State Senate to zero out the budget for the State’s DC office, all $403,430 of it.  No doubt its a slap at the Governor, who increased the DC office staff budget to cover four staffers from one.  And I’m sure there are those who, when looking at the budget hole we face, think the DC office is a luxury we can no longer afford.  Certainly, the Senate President will use that to justify the decision.

But, what our legislative leaders seem to be overlooking as they try to teach the Guv a lesson is how important that DC office is, particularly now, with the State in the ditch.  Federal funds are flowing like never before to fight the recession.  Health care, climate change and education reform initiatives are on the move, with big money in the mix and big implications for our own efforts in those areas.  And we have a President close to the Governor so its a good time to be making the most of that relationship.  

For the legislature, struggling to meet the fiscal gap without decimating vital public services, I’d think anything that could leverage more federal cash or policy assistance would be welcomed in easing the budget pain.  

Of course that is what the DC office does, and I’d like to have our State at the table when decisions are made in the DC bureaucracy.  Its not enough to depend on Teddy K (fighting illness as he is), Barney, Markey, McGovern and the rest to fight our corner.  Yeah, they have seniority and juice, but they also got plenty on.  I’m sure they don’t mind the helping hand of the State office down there, making links between initiatives back home and those on the move in DC.

So please, Senate President Murray, Ways and Means Chair Panagiotakis, drop the beef. Undermining our influence in Washington is no way to help yourselves or our State in dealing with the fiscal and economic challenges we face.  If you want to call the Governor irrelevant that’s your call, but don’t make our State an irrelevancy in DC to prove your point.  

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69 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. This is childish

    What's next, axing out the governor's parking space, or Deval's aides gluing shuts the doors to the bathrooms outside chambers?  

    Somebody will get these guys to smarten up -- I hope it's a figure such as Dukakis, Axelrod, Kaine, or even themselves, because otherwise it will be Charlie Baker.

    sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
    • I think

      It will be Christy. He is quietly putting together a good campaign staff. The Bahstin brahmans won't know what hit them.

    • Interesting that you use a post on the pettiness

      of our legislative leaders to forecast the demise of our Governor (the prospect of Charlie Baker).  I would think contemplation of Panagiotakis or Murray's demise would have been more apropos.

      • The point I was trying to make... that after a civil war within the Democratic Party, the real winner will be a Republican.

        sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
        • And why couldn't a civil war...

          (much like the one between the North and the South) result in a stronger union? Thanks for the useful analogy.

          No one wants unnecessary bloodshed, but some conflicts are inevitable and represent a battle for the soul of the enterprise. You seem convinced that if this struggle continues "the real winner will be a Republican". I, on the other hand, think that if Deval Patrick continues to fight the good fight, the real winner will be the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

          I have trouble understanding why more people don't recognize the inevitable nature of the conflict that has arisen between a progressive Democratic governor and the Massachusetts legislature. It is so much more than "in house squabbling" or style differences. Perhaps if the economy weren't in free fall, the pace would have been different. But I suspect the struggle would have been ugly nonetheless.

          These battle lines were drawn long ago. Check out my initial post on BMG Who Doesn't Want Change In Massachusetts? from September of 2006.

          Could it be we need a "paradigm shift"?

          • $quot;inevitable$quot;?

            I don't see why the conflict has to be inevitable...heck, there was less personal tit for tat between the Republican executive and the Democratic legislature at the federal level from 2006-2008!  The state office is not about argument over who is progressive -- heck, on gambling, taxation, and education Deval is a conservative.  It is an argument over personal fiefs of power, and that only has happened because every side has decided that it is in their best interest for it to be personal.

            I think the paradigm shift we need is for both sides to realize the other isn't going away.  All the legislative maneuvering isn't going to make Deval's appeal to millions of Bay Staters disappear.  All the personal speaking tours isn't going to make the deeply entrenched networks of lifelong Massachusetts Democrats go away, either.

            We need reform, and we're getting confrontation.  To take your example of the Civil War, that conflict wasn't inevitable, but rather a result of poor decisions on both sides of the disagreement.  That, to me, is what we're facing here.

            sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
      • their demise?

        murray and panagiotakis are insulated and not at risk. Who's going to challenge them in their districts? It is very, very easy for them to throw their stones when their house is more than glass... it's protected by miles of incumbency and small constituencies who are largely complacent and/or happy to have local politicians in positions of great power. The only one at risk here is Deval, unless people rise up and tell Murray and her ilk to stop -- and our local senators catch the memo very, very loud and clear.  

    • better the parking space

      than this absurd move!

      Unfortunately, while this is a childish move, it has very real consequences. I think people can handle a little pettiness and vanity in life -- it's when those things have serious consequences that others need to make sure it stops.  

  2. Don't we have Representatives and Senators

    To advocate for us in DC? I used to like Ted, but now that he's spending more time in Florida and only visiting us for Red Sox games and his F-bomb boat race... And now Emperor Ted is thinking about who should inherit HIS senate seat? Maybe if Jim McGovern twould stop playing "State Department", we would have representation in DC.  

    • I have essentially the same question...

      ...though as usual I don't like billxi's tone.  I've never quite understood the role of state offices in DC since we do have Congressional representation.  We're also not an international organization hybrid like the EU so states don't need embassies.  If someone could explain that would be great.

      • I would say that

        of course our Congressional delegation is there to advocate for us but they are also part of a national legislative body.  It's wise to have a staff in D.C. who do not have to balance other priorities like national and international affairs.

      • Even if the motives

        might appear suspicious to a cynical mind, I agree with Christopher. How does the Governor's staffer have more success than the Congressional delegation?

        I'm all for having them all kiss and makeup about now. These are all clips we will see on Republican ads.

      • congressman can't follow it all - especially executive branch decisions

        Congressman aren't representatives of their home state govt.  They represent their constituents and districts.  Senators, rep the whole state but not its govt.  They also have a lot on legislatively, committee wise, that are not specific to the state's interests.

        In my experience, our reps and Senators need support from outside that can draw the links between state govt and Washington issues.  They could use an assist when important decisions on grants, formulas, regulations, etc... are made outside of legislative scope.  The DC office does that.  

        And name a major £27bn corporation in America that doesn't have significant representation in DC?  That would be us if Murray gets her way.

        The Commonwealth needs DC representatives that works for it, and no one else.

        • Any particular reason...

 used the symbol for pound sterling rather than US dollars?  Of course the Senators used to be representatives of the governments; 17th amendment upset that balance.

          • I think you misunderstood

            Pretty sure Lanugo's talking about state government - beacon hill. Senators are surely representatives of the people and, in a way, Beacon Hill... but they don't know what's going on their with the same kind of precision as Governor Patrick, for example. That's the 'linking' that Lanugo was talking about, as I understand it. It's a very, very good point.

            Legislative bodies largely stay within their scope. Selectmen care about town issues. Your state rep cares about the bills and revenue flowing in Beacon Hill. Ask a state rep about a town issue and more often than not they'll try to stay out of it. Complain to them about your town budget and there's little they can do -- and they may not even know all the details of it.

            It works similarly in DC. A few people complained about state budget issues at a town-hall-type meeting I went to in Lynn a few months back which Rep Tierney hosted. A few times he was able to talk about the stimulus and how that helped a few issues, but largely he was honest: a lot of things were out of his scope and he didn't even know everything that was going on at Beacon Hill and couldn't do much about it, even if he did know.

            There are going to be areas which we can get federal funding for state government programs that some reps won't know about, or it won't effect their districts. You could say, 'well, that's why we have Senators,' but that fails in three respects: first, we only have two senate offices - there's only so much they can do, secondly bills need to pass in both houses. Lastly, a lot of money appropriated by Congress is spent elsewhere -- outside of their jurisdiction, so to speak. If there's problems in how it's being dispersed by the executive branch and any number of its agencies, there's only so much legislators can do -- and, as I already said, a lot of legislators don't like getting involved in other branches or levels of government unless they have to. So better to have a state office in DC to help deal with some of those issues -- working with our legislative leaders to make sure the jobs get done.  

            • I think I understood.

              I also think the points you make about how things currently work are valid.  I was simply making the point that the Constitution originally provided for a legislative chamber which essentially consisted of legates from the state governments.  It was all part of the notion of concurrent majorities the framers tried to establish between the people on the one hand and state govenments on the other.  Aside from resolving the question of equal vs. proportional representation the key reason for having two legislative chambers was for the people to be represented by one and the states to be represented by the other.  The framers created an atmosphere for deliberation such that laws would theoretically require the consent of the majority of the people AND the majority of the states.

      • let's put it this way

        Ms. Palin's little town in Alaska hired a lobbyist in DC for a few thousand dollars back in the day... and got millions in return. Consider our DC office our own public lobbyists. I bet there's at least a 10:1 return on their investment -- our congressional delegation can't do everything and much of the funds in DC are dispersed through the executive branch or various intermediaries -- largely out of control of the legislative branch. Furthermore, state offices are nonpartisan... which may make it easier to get our take when there's a Republican in the White House.  

        • They also had a Senator

          that seemed to be taking the credit for bringing home the bacon in Alaska.

          Murray's main target is the Patrick, right? Its difficult to believe that she would intentionaly  do harm to the state.

          Is the Governor's office going to release data that will end the conjecture here? If it so obvious and so necessary, I would expect it fairly quickly.

          • Sure

            But a tiny little town hires a lobbyist and gets millions from it. You think that's a coincidence? You think they'd have gotten the money anyway? I suppose there could be pigs somewhere with wings...

            Want the governor to provide data? Ask him. Though, a quick question: how do you collect data for something like that? Even regular lobbyists, it may be hard to pull down firm numbers of how much they 'make' a corporation. It's probably harder for states. A lot of this money is allocated anyway through the legislature, but it doesn't get dispersed until the executive branch gets its hands on it. Who gets credit for it, then? It wouldn't have come to us if the legislature didn't authorize the spending... and it wouldn't have come to us if the executive branch didn't choose projects in our area.

            Let's use the stimulus bill for example. Goodness knows our state office was lobbying hard for that cash. We did reasonably well there. Should that mean that everything the state got should be accredited to our state office? How much credit should our legislators take on it (a lot, I imagine)? What credit should Obama receive (again, a lot, I imagine).

            Short of the executive branch filing memos saying X dollars were allotted to our state specifically because of our state office in DC, then I don't see how you can effectively create precise numbers showing how useful they are. Of course, no one would ever publish those memos.

            All I can say is we spend roughly $400,000 million dollars more on state office employee salaries since Patrick came into office and have received literally billions more in federal aid. If even $4 million of that was largely because of information and arguments provided to federal government agencies and offices from our state office in DC, then we just got a 10:1 return on those additional salaries. Do you want to bet that they're less successful than that? As I said, I'm sure, probably somewhere over the rainbow, there's pigs with wings...

            In reality, things rarely happen when only one force is working on it. Messages rarely sell if people only heard it once. There's a lot of value in repeating that message, especially in several different formats and venues, making it much more likely for it to take hold. Of course, there is the law of diminishing returns -- should the message be spread too much -- but the chances of Massachusetts state government spreading the Massachusetts message in DC too much is about the same chance that you'll go to your most local farm and see a pig spread wings. Hey, it could happen!

            • Here's the quandry,

              this argument seems to suggest the Senate President is intentionally taking action that she knows will cost Massachusetts billions of dollars?

              I'll correct my previous statement. If there are billions of dollars at stake, the responsible thing might be for both sides to give a bit more information on what facts they relied upon to come to such diametrically opposite positions.

              • I'm all for more information

                I just think that exact figures in this case are tough to come by. Getting information costs money in and of itself. It may just take one of those employee's yearly salaries to give you a satisfactory answer to the question. I think the fact that many other states - and even some towns - does this bears out the reality: these things are, indeed, worth the money and effort.

                As for your quandary, we have a Senate President going on the radio telling listeners that the state's chief executive, whom we all had a chance to vote for, is irrelevant. She's helped gut some of the most necessary and important bills around, from the best taxes (gas and income) to trying to strip off important preventative care from the state's commonwealth care program. Her ideas of responsible revenue is "ka-ching" and the thing that seems to get her most upset is being challenged, a teensy weensy bit, by the Governor... instead of the fact that she's clearly doing a job with a lot of room for improvement.

                She's given me no reason to believe that she's not capable of wasting great sums of money to stick it to the governor. Would she waste billions -- I doubt it: no where did I say that these few employees bring this state billions (I said the stimulus bill brought us that... and that there was a lot of credit to go around). Do I think she'd strip this state of a resource that, in the future, could net us tens of millions (chump change in her realm, no doubt)... well, since it's all future revenue (as opposed to cutting X program tomorrow) and all difficult to calculate... and given everything she's laid bare over the past few months? Let's put it this way: She's given me no reason to doubt it. All in all, though, I doubt this actually goes through... I have to believe cooler heads will prevail.

    • huge zero

      wish I could give you two!

      Saying Ted's on vacation in Florida when he has terminal brain cancer is the very definition of offensive.  

      • Ain't Libel When It Is True

         Does Florida have better medical facilities than Massachusetts? Dude, I was on kidney dialysis for two plus years. My friend was going through chemotherapy for cancer at the same time as me. The two are more similar than not. And please! Tell me the importance of the F-bomb boat race?

        • what are you saying?

          That Ted Kennedy is taking advantage of his terminal disease to spend time away from work?  Offensive and ridiculous.

          • You Are Reading

            What you want to see. What I am reading is that you are avoiding my questions by calling them "offensive and ridiculous". I am doing my best to not be offensive to Senator Ted. He is one of the few democrats I respect. But please! Don't belittle my questions just because you can not answer them. A very poor attempt at deflection, if I must say. Dontcha all just hate it when I'm not ranting?

            • Which questions?

              Does Florida have better medical facilities than Massachusetts?  If you're wealthy, they're comparable.  The importance of a boat race?  You're the only one referencing it in this thread, so please explain it to me.  Are there other questions that are being avoided?

            • how can we tell?

              I fail to see how "Emperor Ted" is a term of respect.

              This has all the earmarks of a rant to me.  

              • I've said worse

                 There are some fairly good medical facilities in or near DC too. He comes up for this traditional F-bomb boat race. Sorry, that's not high on my priorities list. Is it on yours? Do you even know why I'm calling it the F-bomb boat race?" I believe that the voters in Massachusetts should choose our next Senator, not the senator. This is more a talk radio piece, so I can't verify its veracity. I think I heartd it ion WCRN.

  3. Priorities

    At a time when the state is cutting services to the neediest among the weakest of the weak, then how does the state claim that this office in DC is a priority when a) The Dems control the executive and legislative branch, b) the congressional delegation hosts top senior Democrats in their ranks and c) we're a 75 minute plane ride or a four hour train ride from DC.  The Governor or any one of his staffers can get there pretty quickly.  

    If "desperate times call for desperate measures" - how do we look our own citizens in the eyes after we've closed down their clinic, shelter or facility - and claim that this DC office is a higher priority?  

    Just asking.

    • Federal help

      The argument has to be that this office can be responsible for pulling up many times more in federal aid than is spent to support its operations. The key question, unresolved I think by this discussion, is why this cannot be undertaken by our powerful Congressional delegation.

      Conceivably it is not their job. Plausibly, the Patrick Administration set up this office because it really was needed. Feeling the warm vibe from fellow liberals I might tell myself not to worry about it, but the skeptic in me remains unsatisfied.

      Metrics anyone?

      • politics = time

        or, in another word, priority. If we don't demand the federal government's time, we're not going to get it. Consequently, we're going to get a much smaller slice of the pie. In politics, you don't get anything without asking for it first... and the more (and more effectively) you ask, the more likely you are to get it.

        Honestly, this office should be bigger, not smaller. I find it almost unfathomable to imagine that an office like this isn't reaping a huge RoI. If we're not getting a good return, especially with such a tiny investment (in the grand scheme of things), then it almost certainly has more to do with the individuals in the office than it does the merit of having such an office. I find the fact that there's so much resistance to an office like this on the BMG community, quite frankly, bizarre. (Don't take that as a personal criticism - speaking at large here.)

        I can assure members of the community, we're not the only state to have such an office by any stretch of the imagination. Other states probably have even larger offices. We're probably one of the only states in America actually talking about getting rid of it -- this is about as effective an idea from Murray as the whacko fringe right Governors arguing against taking federal stimulus money. Simply bizarre.  

        • Plausibler and plausibler

          Well, it certainly does seem plausible to me that such an office would be useful. It also occurs to me that our Congressional delegation cannot possibly be involved in every issue that affects the Commonwealth and so having our very own lobbyists can be useful for covering all bases.

          However, the world of business is full of schemes that sound as if they should be extremely profitable but aren't. There's no reason to expect government to be hugely better in that regard. Skepticism here is not completely irrational.

          The electorate demonstrates a keen suspicion of government's efficacy and government clearly needs more revenue. When something like the return on the Washington office is so clearly measurable and numbers aren't supplied, voters less warm to the Governor than you or I will not be so believing.

          Shorter version: why isn't this a non-issue?

    • where is the money coming from?

      Federal aid this year increased by more than a billion due to the stimulus. It's going to save this state a lot of anguish. What would have happened if we got a smaller slice of that federal pie? This office costs us - what? - certainly less than a million. Would we have done as well on the stimulus or other federal spending without it? Be careful -- a 'small' cut in what our state's receiving from the stimulus could be literally tens of millions of dollars. That's how much hundreds of teachers being laid off or damaged roads not being paved? Your asking the state to pave a road to hell with good intentions.

      Nothing in DC happens without time. If legislators and people in the executive branch who dole out the money don't know about the extent of our needs, then guess what, those needs aren't going to be met - even if the feds wanted to help us. Be assured, other states would have been more than willing to take a bigger slice of the funds.

      We have offices because the Governor can't always be making that conversation... and doesn't have to be the one who tells the peeps in the executive branch doling out the stimulus funds how much miles of bad roads we need to repave, how many accidents and deaths they're causing every year because or their poor states. Neither can our legislators. These actors in our government have staffs for a reason. Nothing happens without a staff...

  4. meta-comment

    This comment is not about the substance of this post, but about the message it sends to Blue Mass Group visitors: "If you're not a political junkie who already knows all the details about state government, go away - we don't write this blog for the likes of you".  Blue Mass Group has had a very serious problem with this in the past couple of years.  I strongly recommend that posts not written for a general audience not be put on the front page.  If the substance/topic is important enough, one of the editors should write a new more accessible post and put that on the front page.

    Probably my biggest peeve about BMG these days.

    • A blog for political junkies has too much inside baseball?

      I sure am shocked there's gambling going on in this here casino.

      In all seriousness, one of the huge benefits of BMG is good discussion on esoteric issues that mainstream media doesn't deal with. What's wrong with having a place for political junkies?

      Where else do we go to discuss intricate details of state government operations? The Globe's comments section?

      • Missed the point

        There's nothing wrong with having a place for political junkies to discuss things, but there's plenty wrong with being so completely blind about it that we take what could be a great public forum and exclude, at hardly no benefit to anyone, the vast majority of people - including many would-be political junkies who we'll never get to know because we showed them that we don't value them before we even heard from them.

    • Cos, we usually agree

      or, at least, I usually agree with you.  Not here.

      As long as the front page isn't littered with inside baseball, I don't think it's a problem.  If one front pager out of five is 'inside', so what?  Casual readers will just skip it and move on.

      If it ain't front paged, lots of us will never see it, myself included.  I don't troll the non-front paged posts looking for goodness.

      It's rare that a less accessible post gets front paged so far as I can tell... and it doesn't bother me when it is.

      • i may read 1 out of 5

        diaries not on the front page. I very, very much agree with this comment.  

      • You aren't the target

        ... of my comment.

        The fact that posts like this don't turn away people like you, is completely orthogonal to what I'm saying.  You're the sort of person who, by definition, isn't excluded here.  Sure, you can pick what interests you and what doesn't, but you know you belong, you know this is a place for someone like you.

        For many other people, though, posts like this give a very forceful first impression of "this isn't a place for you, go away" - even if they're interested in MA politics!

        It's posts like this that make me think twice about ever telling anyone "take a look at Blue Mass Group" if they seem interested in MA politics and want to keep up on what's going on, but don't already know lots and lots.

        That's something I used to do in years past, but don't do anymore except in very specific contexts.

        • But if 80%* of the pieces are more general

          and 20% are more "inside baseball" then, on average, if someone is interested in MA politics then 4 of 5 articles will be accessible.

          When I pick up an actual newspaper (not very often), not every article is accessible to me.  Some are on topics I know little about.  Some refer to specifics I haven't been keeping up with.  Etc.  That doesn't make the paper inaccessible -- it just means that I know I'm not "getting" all there is to get with some articles.  S'OK.  It doesn't mean the paper should bury those articles to section D just in case some readers won't cop on.

          * I have no idea what the "real" number is

          • It's not the topics

            It's the way they're written.  When someone looks at a post, they can see the implied message of "this is for me" or "this is not for me".  Whether they're actually interested in it is not quite the same thing.  BMG these days has a near-majority of front page posts that very clearly say "we're not thinking of you, you're not the sort of reader we write for" to an overwhelming majority of people, and to what I believe are a solid majority of potential BMG readers.

    • one thing to consider is the audience

      people attracted to BMG are, more often than not, people who will at least have some exposure to the inside-baseball stuff, etc. If they're not attracted to it, they're probably going to a blog like Universal Hub which, no offense to the esteemed editors here, probably has a great deal many more readers anyway.

      My biologist friend fits into that category: she has some interest in politics... some interest in the T... but only insofar as "which line isn't working right now?" So, she goes to Universal Hub. She'll follow links elsewhere to stories that interest her -- she read about a city council race at Marry in Massachusetts yesterday, for example, because Adam linked to it.

      Meanwhile, Mr. Ryan is such an uber political geek who's so "inside baseball" that he's not even all that interested in national politics... only (Massachusetts) state politics. He's only interested in the T insofar as whether or not the proposed state sales tax will be enough to fund the gap for this coming year's debt and beyond, as well as balancing the delicate beam-walk of reforming employee expenses versus the need to ensure that those jobs include worthy benefits and salary for our hardworking, blue-collar state employees. Those are pretty wonky questions - not something Adam Gaffin is going to write about in detail. That's why I read BMG every day, where my friend does not.

    • maybe this betrays me as a political junkie

      but what is so technical and inaccessible about the information in this post?  Why wouldn't any outlet that reports on Massachusetts politics be making this information available?

      • It sure does!

        A post that talks about "The State's DC office" in the title and refers to it repeatedly in the post should: a) Expand the abbreviation in the first mention of it in the body of the post b) Give a brief overview of what it is before talking about it - even if it's just one sentence.  Ideally, it would also give a second sentence of context about its importance.

        That you don't even notice this does, in fact, betray you as part of a very very tiny minority of people.

        • Or

          it betrays her as someone who's read about the DC office in two or three other diaries in the past week or so.  I didn't know anything about it until very recently, and I've only read about it here.

          • Doesn't make sense

            Someone who had just read about it in a few recent posts, and then saw this post and my comment, would be able to identify what I pointed out.  Not being able to see it even after reading a comment about how this post is opaque to non-junkies, suggests someone who can't even see that this term isn't known to everyone.

    • For non-political junkies

      This could also be educational.  I AM a junkie, but I also learn things here.  If I need more background on something, I'll ask via a comment.  This often generates helpful replies and I've never been made to feel as though I asked a stupid question.

      • It could be...

        That's exactly the point.  Write about things people may not know and include some context, and it could be educational.  Write in a way that assumes people know those things, and it turns many potentially-educatable people away (not all, but many).

    • $quot;a very serious problem with this in the past couple of years.$quot;

      Uh, really?  Not to pile on, but in addition to agreeing with the comments above -- that an important part of our readership is political junkies who come here for the stuff they can't find in the Globe -- here's our weekly traffic for the last two years:

      Pretty steady, averaging around 3,000 unique visitors each weekday, and 1,500-2,000 on weekends.  So if there's a "serious problem," it's not showing up in the traffic.

      • How would you know?

        I don't understand what relationship the traffic has to this issue.  Is it your assertion that if there are lots of visits to the site, then it's not pointlessly excluding people it shouldn't pointlessly exclude?  If so, that makes no sense.  Or is it your statement of policy that pointlessly excluding people is in keeping with the site's mission, or that having a certain level of traffic is the goal of the site?  If so, that contradicts the general idea of the netroots and is something I find offensive.  Or are you simply expressing, without realizing it, that you don't understand what I mean?  Or is there some other possibility?

        • $quot;pointlessly excluding people is in keeping with the site's mission$quot;

          Yes, that's it exactly.  Well said.

          Honestly, Cos, you have chosen a truly bizarre issue to get your knickers all in a twist about.  Do you really think that "the state's DC office" is some highly technical term of art that jes' folks out there can't figure out?  

          I think that your criticism in general is not well taken.  I think it is especially irrelevant to this particular post, which seems to me clear, well written, and easy-to-follow.  No, it's not like a Globe story that might spell it out further.  But this isn't the Globe.  I trust you understand that.

          • Very sad

            I've been growing more and more disillusioned with BMG.  Seeing you say this may be the clincher.  I mourn for what BMG once was and had the potential to be.  It's something else entirely now, and we really could benefit from having something like what BMG used to be.

            Do you really think that "the state's DC office" is some highly technical term of art that jes' folks out there can't figure out?

            Absolutely yes.  Obviously yes.  That you even question that, suggests that you're well past the point of even being able to see this problem, which is probably why it's been getting so much worse gradually over the past couple of years.

    • Can I make a suggestion...

      I think you've got some good ideas on how to make the topics we discuss a bit more accessible, and if diarists followed your suggestions then their article would have a wider readership, etc.  It wouldn't take away from any of the inside baseball to provide a little history or write out the acronyms the first time.

      So, the suggestion: write a diary with helpful hints on how to post a diary which is accessible to both the junkies and the general audience members.  It might help...

      • Unfortunately not

        What you suggest is exactly what I would've been doing already if I sensed any support for it from BMG's editors, but I've never seen it.  And given the responses on this thread, it seems that at least one of BMG's editors is not only unsupportive, he's actively hostile to the idea.  So, great suggestion, but no, sorry, I won't be doing that here.

  5. Reverse Partisanship

     Could Massachusetts be so blue that the federal government takes advantage of us? I think we can all agree that more money will go into winning a swing state over to the blue column than wasting it on a state that is already in your pocket. Sorry folks, no venom on this one. You'll have to think about your answer.  

    • Do you have a shred of evidence to back that up?

      link please

      btw - Massachusetts did fairly well in the stimulus bill, for example, which goes counter to your (wild) theory.  

    • Correlation does not imply causality

      The wealthiest states tend to be the most liberal.  The wealthiest states tend to get less money from the Fed.  To be clear, not every blue state is wealthy (ME, NM for example) and not every wealthy state is blue (TX, GA).  Some states have particular geographic reasons to have out-of-balance investment (HI, AK, MD, VA).

      Still, money doesn't go to swing states.  Per dollar paid in taxes, it goes to states which are poor, have low population density, or both.

      • My interpretation of the map

        Thanks to stormy for providing it. Is that it is more toward proving my question/theory than disproving it. A new question would be: Does the most money go to the home states of the most powerful Reps and Senators. Iwould consider DC an aberration.

        • You're full of it.

          It does no such thing, and drive-by one sentence "See!  I'll ignore what you wrote and write nothing to justify why my hypothesis is correct using the data, just instead write is more toward proving my question/theory than disproving it" is lazy at best, dishonest at worst.

          Come on.  Do a little better.

          How does the data verify your hypothesis.  How is your hypothesis stronger than the one I offered, based on the data?

          • Lazy

            Is it. However I'm not looking to start an argument. I'll do some research on it today and prove, or agree with you. Is Wikipedia acceptable?

            • My discovery

               Dennis Thompson, D-MS, House Homeland Security Chair But in the Senate: Dan Inouye, D-HI, Senate Appropriations Chair Robert Byrd, D-WV,   "        "         Ranking Member Kent Conrad, D-ND, Senate Budget Chair Max Baucus, D-ND, Senate Finance Chair Jay Rockefeller, D-WV, "    "    Ranking Member Kent Conrad,again     "     "   Next ranking member Jeff Bingaman D-NM,   "     "   " The gravy train stops here: John Kerry, D-MA is the next ranking member I will yield my contention on the basis of not enough data was found to support my hypothesis.  

  6. The congressional delegation strongly supports the DC office

    Just FYI, the entire congressional delegation -- both Senators and all 10 Representatives -- signed a letter in support of the DC office.  Apparently, they appreciate the assistance.  Here's the letter (PDF).

    • As well they should ..

      During my time with the City of Boston, I oversaw the City's DC Office, which has generally consisted of one staffer since the Flynn days. Mayor White had many more down there during days of proportionately greater federal largesse, but such is life ...

      The DC Offices do more than work with the Congressional delegation, they participate in the various trade associations (National Governors Association, US Conference of Mayors and many others), they interact with the federal agencies.  They are the eyes and ears of the city and state on a wide range of issues.

      We used the Boston DC office over the years to help make pitches to national associations based in DC to come to Boston for their conventions.  We gathered up names of Bostonians and former Bostonians in key posts in Washington who could be advocates for us on funding and other decisions (including some Republicans that were very willing to help the city, regardless of ideology).  We gave support to non-profit agencies and others seeking to navigate their way through the bureaucracy.  We provided information on the city and its programs to interested parties ranging from the diplomatic community to think tanks like Brookings and the Urban Institute.  In short, we did a lot more than just talk to the Mass delegation, as good as they are to the capital city.

      Similarly, an adequately funded state office can do the same for the Commonwealth, particularly given the current Administration and the Governor's relationship with them.  It's well worth the relatively small investment.

  7. stomv

    care to enlighten me what was so offensive about this comment - or what about this comment you think merits its deletion? Don't agree with it? Feel free to let me know. I did write it after I was up for a very long time - quite possible I said something stupid, but highly unlikely that it merits a zero. It's a little weird to have this reply for you. I almost think you must have made a mistake...

  8. oh,

    it was a double post. LOL. should have known. My apologies =p  

  9. The image is broken.

    Fix it!

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