By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

What controversy?

Check out what Blue Mass Groupie Kate says after several days of well-documented privacy problems at (fixed, fortunately) and concerns expressed even by the Outraged Liberal, a Patrick admirer, about soliciting campaign contributions on a site that’s supposed to be a high-minded exercise in online governance:

For those involved in Deval Patrick’s innovative, grassroots-driven, decentralized, and empowering campaign, any “controversy” about the governor’s relaunched website is much ado about nothing. It appears that those who attack this website are threatened by ordinary citizens being active and engaged.

And what is the reaction of BMG co-editor David Kravitz? “Well said, Kate!”


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  1. sco

    To be fair, Dan, Kate qualifies it with “for those involved in … the campaign”. And, I think that’s true. People involved in the campaign, for the most part, understand what the Governor is trying to do and are willing to forgive him the early bumps, particularly since they are used to seeing voter reg data online. At this point the privacy issues have largely been dealt with, and I think that if the campaign had just said “It’s a bug; we didn’t intend that, and it will be fixed,” they would have saved themselves a lot of grief.Part of the controversy that you haven’t remarked on, but has shown up in the media is that Patrick’s opponents are using the site to embarass him by pushing up issues that he does not support. Focusing on those, I think, misses the point of the site entirely.

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Sco: The corollary to your argument would be that only those not involved in the Patrick campaign understand what a joke has been in terms of violating people’s privacy and using the promise of online governance as a ruse to solicit more campaign donations.Let me be clear — I don’t believe that. I’m simply pointing out what I think is a logical flaw in your argument. I don’t think Kate was qualifying her comments at all. I think she was simply saying that only those involved in the Patrick campaign understand their own moral superiority.

  3. sco

    Dan, knowing Kate, I am sure that this was not her intention. I can’t think of anyone who has worked harder than her to try and get the Democratic party in particular to listen more to its grassroots.And I would hardly call the site a ruse to get campaign contributions. If anything — and for the record I believe it actually is a sincere attempt to enable people to organize online — it’s a ruse to improve their voter ID database so they can do microtargeting by issue in 2010.

  4. mike_b1

    Dan, I’m not a lawyer, and neither are you. As I understand it, the right to privacy is not spelled out in the Constitution but is rather implied via a number of the primary amendments, and is directed more at protecting individuals from government intrusion or their right to develop and express their views without fear of government retribution. I don’t see any of that here.Like I said, I’m not a lawyer, so maybe I’m misreading all of this.I do think you are reaching for things to be mad at Patrick about. Much like you do with Theo.

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Sco: I don’t wish to cast any personal aspersions on Kate. But you can’t deny that she’s saying criticism of is unwarranted and stems from bad motives. Those are her plain words, not open to interpretation.

  6. Brian Maloney

    Hey, those TJX guys aren’t so bad, either. People involved in the company understand this, unlike the poor schlubs exposed to identity theft.

  7. man who wants dan the bagel man for governor!

    I agree with Mike_b1, Dan. Okay, so Patrick screwed up. I’d still rather have a governor who, you know, actually is TRYING to represent the people in the state…rather than Mitt Romney who slid into office on a coating of slime and never looked back to see who he was stepping on.Christ, New Englanders are never happy unless they’ve got something to be mad about, are they?(note – I count myself in that category)

  8. Peter Porcupine

    I’m surprised to see Mitt Romney involved in this discussion – after all, anything bad that happens in Mass. is clearly George Bush’s fault!In many ways, this is an instant replay of Caddygate and AmeriQuall. Gov. Patrick has once again confirmed for us all that if he screws up, he is unable to apologize, and will take it amiss if you do criticize him, even in the spirit of suggesting positive change (as I tried to do on BMG before the site went up).It will go so much better for us all if we just award him his toga and Praetorship now.

  9. Anonymous

    EB3 here,Dan, they’re nuts, but they are out nuts. And I match them against the best nuts that Berkley, CA or Moscow, Russia have.It’s what makes living inside 128 great. We get to screw with them.thank you

  10. Richard

    Dan,I understand what you’re saying about using campaign funds to pay for what is supposed to be part of the governor’s office. The only thing that would be worse – and would invite far more cries of outrage – would be using the government’s money to pay for something that would be characterized as part of the Patrick campaign.

  11. Tony

    Priceless? More like, clueless … The Deval Patrick crowd continue to drink their Kool-Aid even though the guy is clearly in way over his head. Dare I say that if I was living in Massachusetts again, I would be longing again for the Jane Swift days? Yeah, I’d be saying that …

  12. Anonymous

    Cripes. What a blinding crush (or boy-crush) those Blue Mass Group people have on Patrick. It’s like Fox News covering the Bushies.

  13. amusedbutinformedobserver

    Just thought I’d take a few seconds from my surfing to note that this ‘Deval-is-incompentent’ notion is becoming tiresome, especially when it is linked to something as trivial as addresses on a Web site.Now if you’ll excuse me, I must dash back to Bill “Whistleblower” Galvin’s and continue my fascinating reading of all the home addresses on Kerry Healey’s campaign finance report.

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