Hiller Instinct: Gov. Patrick\'s flexible schedule
The Hiller Instinct: Hiller Instinct: Gov. Patrick's flexible schedule
Instead of talking about the bravery of his decision to publicly reveal his wife's mental illness, we've spent a weekend wondering how much time he'll take off.
And you can blame that all on one word in a press release.
Here's the statement issued Saturday, and here's the very wrong word: "flexible," as in, "The governor will work a flexible schedule."
With Patrick unavailable for comment and no one from his staff authorized to fill in the blanks, all there was was speculation:
Would he become a part-time official?
Didn't he understand politicians aren't elected to work part-time?
And, would Tim Murray drop the lieutenant from his title and replace the Governor?
Unfortunately for Patrick, history isn't on his side, either:
Ann Romney, wife of former Governor Mitt Romney, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998 -- two years before he was elected here.
She was rarely seen while he was on Beacon Hill, but Romney never said anything about a flexible schedule.
In August of 2004, Ann Romney said, "We’ve really learned to live within the disease and live a pretty normal life."
Similarly, when Kitty Dukakis, the wife of former Governor Michael Dukakis, suffered from addiction and depression, while he was running for president in 1988. There was no mention of a flexible schedule, but you can be sure the governor, who is devoted to his wife, made time for her.
And, finally, there's Ted Kennedy, whose family has been struck by a series of tragedies while he's been in the Senate. Everyone knows of the strong Kennedy family ties, but no one has ever heard of him talk about flex-time.
So consider this: if Governor Patrick had simply said he'd be missing a few weekend and night events to be with his ill wife, would anyone be probing his schedule with a stop-watch?
My answer is absolutely not.
Like his wife, the Governor has two health issues, but his are political: he's inexperienced and so is his staff.
Like his wife, he needs a skilled doctor -- a spin doctor -- to help him understand his illness and to put a cast on the foot that keeps getting in his mouth.
I'm Andy Hiller, and that's my instinct.
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