NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

February 1, 2014

The state of the speeches

It has become fashionable in some circles not to watch the State of the State or State of the Union (SOTU) performances by the governor and president.

It’s true that the typical “low-information voters” don’t benefit from watching, since they aren’t prepared to distinguish between reality and fantasy. However, this description doesn’t apply to us newspaper readers. We high-information voters can recognize the issues, note the nuances of expression, the confidence or uncertainty in the presentation, response from the audience and then from the opposition party — and this year, after SOTU, responses from various factions of the opposition party — what could be more fun?

OK, guys, never mind the root-canal analogy. Modern dentistry has made root canals painless. I figured all it took for me to get through the evening was popcorn and a few Cadbury Creme eggs. I’d planned to eat the first egg when Patrick referenced his proposed candy tax, but he never mentioned it. Did the Legislature already tell him his new taxes are dead on arrival this election year?

I did notice that his popular 2006 campaign promise of “property tax relief” is now merely “hold the line on property taxes.”

It would have been fun if he’d mentioned his new $100,000 climate-change czar, expressing his concern about global warming on another freezing Boston night. But this was another thing from his budget that didn’t make the speech.

However, I did get a kick out of the juxtaposition of his two demands: to the Legislature, “raise the minimum wage,” and to the business community, “hire someone.” He doesn’t seem to understand the contradiction.

That’s the thing with Patrick. As much as I disagree with his $1 billion in tax increases, as well as those that the Legislature had sense enough not to do, like his proposed income tax rate hike, and to repeal, like his tax on computer services, he still strikes me as a pleasant person. I think that like most liberals, he’s generally clueless rather than dangerous.

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