I wasn't able to attend the "Town Meeting" Saturday, and I haven't had a chance to poke around the new web site much, but here are some quick initial thoughts on the Gov's Civic Engagement launch.

--This is a kick in Speaker Sal DiMasi's crotch, whether intended that way or not (and I suspect it is). Patrick is framing "civic engagement" as me-against-them: join me in my battle against the intransigent, special-interest-beholden legislature. If you want to lower your property taxes, help me ram these corporate taxes down DiMasi's gullet, etc. Patrick is free to do that, but Saturday's event ensured a very cold meeting with DiMasi and new senate president Therese Murray this afternoon.

--I'm not so sure that a guy who recently announced, rather controversially, that he had to scale back his schedule should be embarking on an eight-city string of appearances, paid for by his campaign committee, for purposes extraneous to governing. From a purely public-perception standpoint, if Deval has a few hours to duck away from state business tomorrow, shouldn't he be spending it with his aililng wife rather than at a rally in Worcester?

--I don't think we can complain about Patrick running all this through his campaign committee (as my esteemed former colleague Dan Kennedy and others have done). If there's one lesson that Patrick's been hit on the head with, it's to use his own funds, rather than the state's, for anything that might be anywhere close to questionable. (Would Herald readers think that fancy web design is like a nice set of drapes? If I was Deval, I wouldn't risk it.)

--Another crotch being kicked here is that of Frank Phillips, political reporter for the Globe. (Phillips is standing in here for the local media at large, as I used DiMasi as a stand-in for the legislators.) The Town Meetings and the web site -- not to mention the sit-down chat Patrick had with select bloggers Saturday -- are just more ways of going around the media who he won't engage with. Again, Patrick can feel free to do it, but don't think local journalists aren't noticing.

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