Baker's Learning Curve

By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  August 18, 2010

There were certainly opportunities. At one point, under attack for the terms and alleged lack of transparency in awarding the Cape Wind contract, Patrick blurted out that "we need to get past all of the fussing and fighting over process, and get to results."

A nimble debater looking for the jugular could have pounced — if there is one thing Massachusetts residents can agree on, after Sal DiMasi, Dianne Wilkerson, and an endless stream of other stories, it's that we need more, not less, scrutiny of the process behind state-awarded contracts, licenses, and favors. An outraged opponent could have used Patrick's words to accuse him of becoming part of the Beacon Hill culture he once pledged to reform.

That's not Baker's natural instinct. He let that and other openings go, and stayed focused on his message of jobs, and his mantra that energy policy be driven by diversification, transparency, and competition. Reasonable, but hardly news-making.

Perhaps Baker can still learn to find advantages against Patrick. He is clearly improving, but the time for on-the-job training is running low.

To read the "Talking Politics" blog, go to David S. Bernstein can be reached at

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