One thing that is helpful to me is that he knows where the bodies are buried. And you know, the sad reality is that we have to dig up a lot of those bodies, and bury them properly…. there are some agencies … where the nickname is that of their legislative sponsor. And people in communities know that if you want something from that agency, like a job [for a relative] … There are all kinds of guardians and old relationships, and arrangements that were arrived at to solve some problem that you can’t know about unless you were there. All that stuff needs to be unwound and brought into the sunlight. And it is so helpful to have someone who understands all that to be on the team and to be on our side.
The argument, essentially, is that it takes one to know one, right? It’s the same reason police departments hire former gang members to serve as liaisons to active gangs, for example — because they know the streets, and they speak the same language. How, one might rhetorically ask oneself, can you disassemble the hackocracy if you don’t understand how it works? Or, as Adam G. pithily puts it, “[t]akes a hack to deal with hacks.”
Jay, perhaps the state’s foremost critic of the “hack-progressive alliance,” is skeptical, arguing that “Patrick’s now playing on legislators’ turf and by their rules. It’s been done before — and it’s failed before.” Nonetheless, there is a certain logic to the exhumer-in-chief argument. You can’t dig up the bodies if you don’t know where to put the shovels. (Incidentally, the “Aloisi knows where the bodies are buried” meme appears to have originated at Outraged Liberal’s place.)
Two major, major questions remain. First, do Patrick and Aloisi have a list of shovel-ready projects — not for infrastructure, but for the metaphorical bodies we’re talking about? What does it mean to dig up those bodies and rebury them? I’d love to see a serious, detailed plan for doing that.
Second, the reason some (me, for instance) remain skeptical is not that they doubt Aloisi’s smarts, or his navigational skills, or any of that. It’s that what could make Aloisi very valuable could be exactly what undoes him, and the Governor’s transportation agenda with it. Aloisi needs to be ready to make his former colleagues — all the guys with whom he spent a lot of time and developed a lot of relationships, and from whom he made a lot of money — really, really unhappy and uncomfortable. He needs to be willing to burn his bridges. Because as soon as Patrick and Aloisi start talking about real reforms, Aloisi’s cell phone is going to start ringing non-stop. Can he really say “no” to the folks on the other end of the phone? After all, the thing about the bodies we’re talking about here is that they’re not actually dead.