The imperial guard

Massachusetts is still a bit heady, after electing its first Democrat governor in 16 years. (Possessing both US Senate seats, all 10 US House seats, over 85% of both Houses, and pretty much every other elected position in the Commonwealth hasn’t been enough for them.) But their new governor, Deval Patrick (elected under the clarion call “Together We Can”), has had a few stumbles out of the blocks.

For a state facing a 1.3-billion-dollar deficit, Governor Patrick has decided to spend his way to budget relief. In the month or so he’s held office, he’s instituted the following measures:

  • Hired a chief of staff for his wife to the tune of $72,000 a year.
  • Bought new drapes for his office at the bargain-basement price of $12,000.
  • Didn’t care for the previous governor’s official car (a Ford Crown Victoria with 80,000 miles and a busted heater) so started taking a State Police helicopter for transportation.
  • Then he replaced the Crown Vic with a brand-new Cadillac DTS, at roughly double the cost.
  • Finally, in an attempt to win back some public favor, he proposed some “property tax relief” that will affect an incredibly small percentage of taxpayers, while simultaneously hiking taxes on businesses.

So, how does the Boston Globe, who bent over backwards to put Mr. Patrick in the corner office, handle this?

As any decent Praetorian Guard would — by downplaying and deflecting the criticism. Note that the Globe doesn’t mention the cost of the drapes ($12,000), the wife’s assistant ($72,000), or the cost of fixing the heater in that Crown Vic (probably a couple hundred bucks, less if done by the State Police).

The underlying message of the Globe’s editorial to Governor Patrick: we put you in there, and in four years we can take you out.

For years, the Boston Globe was the media powerhouse in Massachusetts. They’ve lost a tremendous amount of their clout, as their subscriptions and sales plummet and their staff shrinks more and more. The explosion of the New Media and the ownership by the New York Times have not helped. They see Patrick as part of their way back into power and influence.

Such a fragile reed they cling to.

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