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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Textbook political expediency

So Mitt Romney decides to take "the pledge" the minute he walks out the door? I'm shocked, just shocked that he would take descend into such blatant "political gimmickry."

But while we've become used to Romney flip-flops, the decision by Tom Finneran to cop a plea to obstruction of justice is a but more surprising. But it also seems Tommy has cut a few other deals as well.

I can't agree with the Dan Kennedy that the perjury charges against the former House Speaker "faintly ridiculous." Difficult to prove? Maybe. Uncalled for? Hardly.

Finneran ruled the House (and the Statehouse) with an iron fist. What was faintly ridiculous was his insistence that he knew nothing about the details of redistricting plan that included changes in the borders of his own district.

To continue that sham on the witness stand -- and to have federal judges specifically question his truthfulness -- demanded action. Even if the charges were difficult to prove.

In the end, Finneran realized the stakes were high and opted to find a way out of the mess. Plead guilty, lose his pension, but serve no jail time and keep a $400,000 a year job certainly seems like an expedient flip flop from protesting his innocence.

And why not? The perks, including retirement benefits, from his current job will certainly outweigh the loss of the $30,000 annual pension. And his job requires to work in an environment, the Massachusetts Legislature, where he will always be one of the boys -- someone who took a hit for them.

Expediency is also the operative word for the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council in allowing him to stay on board. The benefits they reap from his lobbying clout will far outweigh the day or two of bad headlines they receive for employing a convicted felon.

Let's hope change really is in the air.

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