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

Gov. Patrick’s weird putdown

I was appalled yesterday when I read Boston Globe reporter Matt Viser’s account of how Gov. Deval Patrick had publicly put down Worcester Mayor Konstantina Lukes at a speech before the Massachusetts Muncipal Association on Friday. Here’s the relevant excerpt:

At one point, the governor had a frosty exchange with Worcester Mayor Konstantina B. Lukes, after she appeared to smirk while the governor answered her question.

“Before you make a face, mayor, let me finish my answer, all right?” Patrick snapped.

Once he finished his response, he glanced over at her again and said, “Is that clear? OK. Now you can make your face.”

Later, WBZ-TV (Channel 4) posted video of the exchange. And though Viser got Patrick’s words right, I’m not sure about “frosty” — it seems more light-hearted than that. As Jon Keller suggests, it’s hard to know what to make of it.

Given that Patrick was announcing a $128 million cut in local aid, maybe the governor ought to work on his timing if he had intended his remarks as a joke.

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8 Comments

  1. HNG

    I have the same aversion to adjectives that Graham Greene had to adverbs. A block of Arctic ice is “dangerous” to ME, but it may be “beautiful” to others. I happened to be watching WBZ-TV last night when I saw the “exchange” (though the mayor’s words were inaudible). It wasn’t “frosty” at all. Since adjectives are used to convey viewpoint, it’s safe to assume that Matt Viser’s characterization reflects HIS view.

  2. Tony

    Is that Doris Kearns Goodwin in the background? What was she doing there?

  3. Neil

    I didn’t get “frosty” or tense at all, just Patrick being a bit of a wiseguy. Seemed pretty light-hearted. If that’s enough to generate tension then what a bunch of sissies we’ve become. Seems more like an example of the reporter taking the opportunity to impute offense to the governor.And if that’s not Doris Kearns Goodwin, whoever it is could get work as her double! In the highly-paid field of historian impersonation…

  4. O-FISH-L

    I’m in rare agreement with the Globe, even though the video is temporarily unavailable and I can’t watch it again to confirm what I too, thought was a frosty exchange. Even the written text of the ch. 4 web story says that Patrick was “somber” then “snapped at” the Mayor. Dan, I doubt very much that Patrick intended this as a joke, and if the exchange wasn’t frosty, it was definitely chilly. Light-hearted, in this context? No way. This is the typical, arrogant Patrick response, similar to his behavior in the first 100 days. This guy is going to get his way, (Cadillac, drapes, aide to Dianne) you’ll like it, and you’d better not make a face if you know what’s good for you! If the Mayor of Worcester was actually the CEO of the city, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a vindictive Patrick make a disproportionate cut in local aid in retaliation, but as critics of Lt. Gov. Tim Murray have noted, “Mayor of Worcester” is a titular office with only ceremonial duties. A farce, in other words.

  5. Neil

    “Typical”, “arrogant”, “vindictive”…all springing from this little wise remark. Oi, such a tsimis! The thickness of our skin varies so, depending on the advantage to be gained in taking offense. HNG’s remark about adjectives used to convey viewpoint is spot on here. Verbs too: I speak my mind. You on the other hand, whine.

  6. Bill H.

    Fish, I’m not sure that in following several months of this blog I’ve ever seen you issue one, even slightly, positive–or even neutral– statement about anybody who’s to the center of Limbaugh. Enough already. While consistency is seen as a virtue, your dogmatic jump-up is tiresome. Who knows whether Patrick was being fractious or whether he was kidding and it just didn’t come across that way? Haven’t we all said something in a lighthearted way, only to have it backfire? As for Patrick retaliating against the mayor of Worcester for a perceived “smirk,” that is patently absurd. Doesn’t he have to run for reelection in Worcester. Give it a rest, we’re begging ya.

  7. Tunder

    Yup, O-Fish has reached a new level of hypocrisy. First of all, everyone in the room was laughing at the end. Patrick seemed to be extremely respectful in answering the question. Christ, this is Woostah for cryin’ out loud, I’m sure that mayor can give and take with the best of them.O-Fish: for a man who bows at the feet of Rush, Bill-o and Howie – all of whom use some of the most strident and hateful terms to describe Democrats and anyone who doesn’t drink their Kool-Aid, to get your panties in a bunch about this “chilly” exchange is beyond laughable. I think it’s time for you to grow a pair.

  8. Sean Roche

    A single word doesn’t cover the exchange. His first comment did seem a bit snappish and impatient, though not problematically so. His comment at the end, “you can make your face now,” did seem light-hearted and collegial, and perhaps even a bit self-depracating. Enough to undo the earlier impatience.

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