Use this search box to find articles that have run in our newspapers over the last several years.

Gov should get criticism he deserves

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

There are many things in life that I do not understand.

For instance, I've noticed of late that everything has to be some sort of food flavor. Billboards on I-91 for Yankee Candle have proclaimed new scents that are actually food flavors, such as honeydew melon.

We're in the midst of the "flavorization" of America.

My wife recently bought toasted vanilla shampoo and a pink grapefruit body wash. When I was a kid, there was one flavor of lip balm wax with undertones of petroleum jelly. Now, there are dozens of flavors.

There's even flavored floss for cleaning your teeth.

No wonder I have trouble losing weight there are food reminders all around me!

For the life of me I don't know why women want to wear sweatpants with slogans across the seat. Why is Paris Hilton still famous? Why do some people pay for O.J. Simpson's autograph? Why don't people like Shemp?

And I don't understand why people are up in arms about Governor Patrick's declaration of wanting to take care of his wife during her treatment for depression and exhaustion.

The issue is so polarizing that my friends Brad Shepard and Bo Sullivan on WHYN sounded as if they were about to go at one another the other morning. Thank goodness, John "Binky" Baibak was there to stand between them. Whew!

The issue with any elected official who suffers a health emergency, either personally or within his or her family, is whether or not the duties of the office can still be performed.

As far as I can tell, Patrick has simply expressed concern for his wife's health and well being as any concerned spouse would. He has not said that he is taking a less active role in government or that he is turning over duties to others such as Lt. Governor Tim Murray.

He just wants to have some time, evenings and weekends, for his wife.

Of course that doesn't stop the hate-mongers such as Howie Carr from using this issue as fodder on his radio show. According to Carr's web site, the question is whether or not a governor should have "flex time."

I thought Carr was supposed to be a smart big city media guy just oozing wisdom. All mayors, governors and presidents are on flextime Howie. How could you miss this one?

Did Carr and other critics count how many days their boy Romney was out of the state on his own agenda during his term?

The interesting thing is the people who hate Patrick are using his wife's illness as a means to bash him.

It's not fair.

If they want to bash him, they have too many real issues, the most recent being his misstep over making an inappropriate political phone call supporting ACC Capital Holdings' efforts to a loan from Citigroup.

I'm not pleased that a lawyer as smart as he is couldn't tell this was none of his business.

I still believe that Patrick was a good choice for governor and that he still has the potential to effectively lead the state. He has to get his act together, though, to build the political capital needed to make meaningful change.

This column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments to or to 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, Mass. 01028.