Shape up, governor

By EDITORIAL  |  March 25, 2009

Patrick's most recent press conference also helped to quiet the naysayers. Still, this is a "crisis" that should never have happened.

Another recent debacle that could have been avoided: the criticism surrounding Transportation Secretary Jim Aloisi. We suspect that Patrick is right: only a politically savvy policy operative like Aloisi can wangle the commonwealth's transportation behemoth into submission. But we'd like to hear Patrick say it.

For all the times lately that Patrick has spent backtracking on his plans, we often can't tell when he's retreating from good but politically problematic ideas, and when he's recognized a boneheaded error.

His recent attempt to give huge raises for two island sheriffs sure looked like a howler to the Phoenix, but we have no idea whether Patrick even realizes the gaffe. On the other hand, we think the elimination of the Group Insurance Commission's appeals board really might be justified under the new, competitive auto-insurance system. And while this paper's reaction to the sugar and soft-drink tax proposal was that it was a "Nanny State" idea disguised as tax policy, if it was good enough to put forward, it should have been good enough to defend.

That nasty old warden in the Paul Newman movie Cool Hand Luke got it about right: "What we've got here is a failure to communicate."

There are important issues on the agenda, not the least of which is getting the legislature to pass serious ethics and pension reforms. Patrick cannot let his own lassitude and petulance keep tripping him up. It is time for the governor to break out. Stop presiding and start leading. It's a lesson he should have learned already from watching his close friend President Obama.

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