In tragedy’s shadow

By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  September 19, 2007

None of the news reports took issue with it; there has been no word of anybody at the memorial objecting. “I didn’t see any of that,” says Livingston. “The people I talked to appreciated his remarks.”

Elsewhere, however, others were less appreciative. Howie Carr, conservative bloggers, the Boston Herald, and the Massachusetts GOP jumped on Patrick, either for minimizing the evil of the hijkackers or for implying that the US bore any responsibility for the attacks. Patrick was forced to repeatedly defend himself in a radio interview the next afternoon, but he did not apologize.

Then Ogonowski helped draw the controversy into his race, by releasing a statement in which he criticized Patrick. Speaking to the Phoenix this week, Ogonowski also tied Patrick’s comments to his broader campaign theme of broken politics. “People in the state, at least in this district, think that politicians are out of touch with the people,” he says. “I think Governor Deval Patrick’s comments showed that. I really think the guy doesn’t get it.”

Cut to Tsongas’s tepid two-sentence defense in the Lowell Sun of what she believes Patrick meant, though not necessarily of the words he used. Almost no major political figure, in fact, jumped to Patrick’s defense — or dared accuse Ogonowski of politicizing 9/11.

After years of maintaining the myth of an apolitical 9/11, Massachusetts seems to have been rendered incapable of addressing the politics and symbolism of the tragedy. Like it or not, Ogonowski’s candidacy is forcing that to change.

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