The print edition of this week's Phoenix sports this teaser for Adam Reilly's otherwise very fine story on Gov. Patrick: “GIVE ME NO LIP: Patrick blows off grassroots allies and the press.”
Hrmm… sounds a little out of date, doesn't it? Adam (who didn't write the teaser) correctly tells us not to accept the “poetry-vs.-prose” dichotomy of campaigning vs. governing. And he asks some good questions in his story — like, why didn't the happen earlier? And our own David Kravitz is quoted that “the whole civic engagement aspect of his governorship has been slow to take off.”
But actually, this month has been the start of not blowing off the grassroots. (The press, I can't speak to.) As far as we're concerned, we just met with the Governor a couple of weeks ago; the Gov's chief of staff has been all over this site, and showed up at the bloggy shindig in Lowell last Saturday; and there seems to genuinely be a change in strategy towards reaching out to the grassroots — and hopefully even to folks who can't be categorized as plugged-in activists. That might have been an interesting teaser, too: “PATRICK CHECKS BACK IN”; and it happens to be true, from what I can tell. (It doesn't hurt that the new proposals are much more to our liking than the casino bill.)
While noting much of this, the article's tone is still critical and fairly backward-looking. I suppose that's understandable, and it's indicative of how much heavy lifting is involved in changing a media narrative. But it does seem to be criticizing Patrick for actually doing something right — even after he's tried the alternatives to doing it right.
Patrick mentioned to us how he is “fed” by interacting with the public (ie. beyond “moonbat duty” with the progs n' blogs); one hopes that he will indeed enter into a genuine conversation with the public about our priorities as a state. Some town-hall events a la Bernie Sanders would be most welcome, and Patrick would absolutely excel.
In the Phoenix print article, Jim Braude flatters us, but also mentions our inherent limitations:
“I love Blue Mass. Group”, says Braude. “But as a person who's organized most of the my lfe, the written word never organizes one-thousandth of the people that the spoken word does[*] … The more the public hears from [Patrick's] lips, the better he does.”
Patrick has the ability to genuinely change the political atmosphere; to listen, to set priorities and galvanize public support. Let's hope this is the genuine beginning of the new approach; which is, after all, the old approach that got him elected.
*[I might add that this applies to the individuals of the BMG community as well; meeting in person is powerful, and a way to further real action. Thanks again, Lynne and Ryan, and let's keep talking.]