Seth Gitell pens kind of a curious article in this month’s Boston Magazine (HT: David Bernstein) about Gov. Patrick and, well, us. That is, Gitell seems to use this blog as a stand-in for “the grassroots”, and suggests that we (that is, the entire community here) get used to Patrick having insiders like Doug Rubin on board.
It’s a brief article, so I’ll be brief in response: Setting aside Gitell’s (somewhat unfair) dismissal of Patrick’s relevant administrative experience, I admit to a sigh of relief when Patrick brought on Joe Landolfi, David Morales, and Rubin in succession. I think it’s a false choice to say you can have either experienced pros or idealistic outsiders. What you want is idealistic insiders — you know, like the West Wing, right?
And I’ve been pleased that the administration does seem to have found its rhythm: Since April, they’ve been putting out a steady stream of solid proposals (the eminently sane Municipal Partnership Act) and downright home runs, like the Lowell interchange and the Evergreen Solar deal. And we’re looking forward to a big deal with next month’s education plan.
For us, the question of “inside” vs. “outside” is not a matter of personnel. Frankly, I don’t care that much who’s running the show, because for the most part I don’t know these folks personally. “Inside” vs. “outside” is a question of who holds influence with our leaders: Is it moneyed special interests on Beacon Hill, or is it jes’ folks? Is it Godzilla vs. Mothra politics, or is it Norman Rockwell politics? Do the grassroots have the power to say to the governor and legislators, “Be our hero!” — thereby allowing them to ignore the lobbyists at the doorstep?
I’m perfectly comfortable having the insiders get the work done in there, as long as they know it’s their job to look out for us out here.