Keller @ Large: Patrick’s Rhetoric Doesn’t Match Reality

BOSTON (CBS) – Gov. Deval Patrick is one of the best in the business at a key part of the professional politician’s craft – telling people what they want to hear.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

And he was doing his thing yesterday at a statewide conference on travel and tourism, sharing his trademark optimism with beleaguered representatives of an industry that has struggled in recent years.

Said the governor: “We are committed to supporting and advancing this huge sector of our economy.”

Sounds great, but how does the rhetoric match up with reality?

According to multiple news reports, the governor pointed to recent movies made in Massachusetts – with the help of very generous state tax breaks – as a spur to out-of-state and foreign tourism, specifically citing “The Fighter” and “The Social Network,” but I find that hard to believe.

Are tourists really flocking to Lowell to see the gym where Mark Wahlberg trained, or to Lexington to see the movie theater where he took his date?

Harvard Yard was already a tourist attraction — have significantly more tourists really been drawn there because of “The Social Network?”

I’m from Missouri on that one, and on the premise that his beloved resort casino plan will be a major spur to future tourism, if he can ever get it through the legislature.

Just think about the weather we’ve been having.

Who in their right mind is going to book a flight here from November through March to bask in the non-existent sun and play the unusable golf course at Bally’s Deval World in Middleboro or Agawam?

The tourism industry executives at the conference didn’t seem too impressed, according to the accounts I read.

They were more interested in the fact that state funds to help promote tourism have been cut by more than 70 percent in the last two years.

Maybe in this case, the governor wasn’t telling folks what they wanted to hear. He just imagines he was.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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