Patrick's paradox

By EDITORIAL  |  March 10, 2010

Patrick may not be the smoothest of political operators, but when it has come to managing the people's money, he has had the courage to speak straight and propose policies that are transparent, if sometimes painful.

The scope of the fiscal challenges facing the country at large and Massachusetts in particular is staggering. As critical as the Phoenix has been of the state legislature, we must concede that negotiating this crisis has been — and will remain — a hopefully once-in-a-generation challenge. Still, had the Democrats on Beacon Hill more quickly and more frequently followed Patrick's lead, the state would be better off and the political climate would be less poisonous.

Thanks to Patrick and his environmental team, Massachusetts is second to none and a clear leader in charting a course that promises economic development through environmental engineering, manufacturing, and renewal. Voters may not appreciate it now, but this will position the state well for the new economy that will emerge in better times.

As the election season begins, the public is in a foul and suspicious mood. No wonder. But if the public is going to fairly judge Patrick, it needs to understand his accomplishments as well as his shortcomings.

Moving forward, Patrick and his challengers, Republican Charlie Baker and independent Tim Cahill, face some simple questions: what policies do you propose? What will those policies cost? And how will you raise the revenue — or make the cuts — necessary to pay for them?

We suspect the candidate who answers these questions most convincingly will be the next governor.

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