Meaningless Things That Matter

Jon Keller has sussed out that Deval Patrick was on a book-pitch trip to NYC on the day of the casino vote -- and in retrospect, couldn't we have guessed that from the clues?

I don't think it means much of anything. But the story may matter nevertheless.

It's absolutely legitimate for Mass. residents to be wary of gubernatorial absenteeism, even to the point of hypersensitivity, after Romney, Cellucci, Weld, Dukakis.

Patrick's Obama-promotion travels have already helped fuel rumors that the gov has got things other than the Bay State on his mind. An autobiography will of course be seen by many as another piece of evidence toward that. So, as symbolism, a trip out of state, during a high-profile vote, to shop that book deal is pretty potent.

And the reason this all actually matters is that right now, the strongest weapon Deval Patrick has going for him is the perception that he's going to be around longer than Sal DiMasi.

True or not, there is a widespread perception on Beacon Hill that DiMasi is a short-timer at this point, and his move to follow Trav (and so many others before them) into the lucrative world of lobbying is only a matter of time.

If folks think that Patrick will stick around, fully engaged, for a good long while -- long after Sal is calling his golfing partners clients rather than contributors -- they'll be far more likely to see the benefit of helping move his agenda. Anything that works against that perception -- real or symbolic -- can only hurt him.

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