Mass pols will get no more favors from Dig on COVID response
The presidential election is over. The broad left is generally excited and the broad right is stewing in their juices. And that’s all fine for now. The national political circus will work itself out in the months to come. But the pandemic is far from over. And we’re not a national publication. We’re a Boston newspaper that covers, among many other things, Massachusetts politics.
A politics that is now far more messed up than usual because of the pandemic. In the early months of this epochal crisis, we consciously decided to go easy on the Baker administration and the legislature. State government was forced to tackle the swift spread of coronavirus essentially with one hand behind its back given the nonresponse of Trump and his cronies.
And we thought “OK, we’ll back off a little. We won’t hammer Baker and legislative leadership as much. Running a state is hard at the best of times and these are worse times than most Mass residents have ever experienced. Let’s try to be helpful by covering the effects of the crisis from as many angles as we can—and by doing our part to spread the best public health information out there. And we’ll draw blood with our usual investigations when things have improved a bit.”
That was alright for a while. We’re all just one big happy Masshole family, yes? But over the months since the pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization in March, we saw that our current political leadership was doing what it does best with the situation—making it worse.
We saw state leaders rush to “reopen” the state as soon as it started getting warm. Before shutting down many businesses and institutions had gone on long enough to really stop the first wave of coronavirus infections and deaths. Thus, like the rest of the US, the Commonwealth is still in the first wave of the pandemic, as Dr. Anthony Fauci explained last week. In fact, we have had more cases and deaths in this one small state than entire countries—and now our numbers are spiking again as the weather gets colder.
We could run down the list of many related screwups by state government in the last eight months—failing to maintain or enforce mask wearing, allowing families and friends to gather in large numbers without masks, allowing schools and colleges to reopen, and on and on. But perhaps the worst violation of the public trust has gotten the least coverage in the local press: millions of dollars in ostensibly COVID-related no-bid contracts that are not subject to anything like the oversight they should be.
So we’re just putting the governor and the legislature on notice that the gloves are off again here at DigBoston. We know what’s up. And we’ll make sure everyone else does too.