Why Can't We All Just Get Along?
Sat April 14, 2007 2:12 pm

I appreciate the time and length Senator Patrick took to reply to my post about his actions on the state budget. The point of my original post, which I think Patrick missed, is that you cannot legislate by press release. It appears that Senator Patrick and his staff took a great deal of time to comb the budget for savings. If he really wanted to have an impact on the process, he should have gone to a member of the Finance Committee with his suggestions and had that member offer amendments to realize the cuts. Or he could have offered his cuts as amendments during debate on the bill. By waiting to speak up until after the budget had been voted on, his work was for naught.

Reflecting on the debate, I think a revealing moment occurred in the Patrick/Whitmire exchange about the press. Whitmire exclaimed, "The press doesn't vote!" And Patrick replied, "This member of the press does!" Patrick is trying to serve two masters. You can't act as a member of the press while serving as a state senator. In the realm of journalism, Patrick's commentary on suggested savings would probably get good marks. But as a state senator, he should have worked within the legislative process if he really wanted to accomplish anything. Until he does, he will be an outcast among his colleagues.

Senator Patrick wrote that I incorrectly reported that he was the sole senator missing from the floor during the Dallas Imam's prayer. I never reported such a thing. My posts (see here and here) are saved in our March archives and I invite anyone interested to read for themselves. I simply described the events of the day, using several senators as sources. Perhaps he misread I quote I used from Sen. Shapiro, in which she mentioned that 28 of her fellow senators joined her in welcoming the Imam to the Senate.

On a different matter, I was too quick and too glib when I concluded my "Post Mortem" item with the remark that the press was still waiting to see Patrick's list of cuts. I was unaware that they had been released. Clearly, I could have gone to his office and asked for a copy. The proposed cuts and a response to them will be posted on this Web site today.

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