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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, September 21, 2007

Can't we all just get along?

I've been taking a little good-natured grief over my firmly non-committal stand over the Patrick casino proposal -- and receiving some helpful advice on how to characterize my position: so here goes:

I have friends on both sides of the issue. I stand with my friends.

While it's obvious the one group who will hit the jackpot in this debate is lobbyists, ultimately we will all win because people may finally start to care about the direction is state is heading. And folks, after 16 years of indifference in the Corner Office, that direction is clearly down.

Actually, the negativity and indifference to the state's slide started earlier, when the Massachusetts Miracle unraveled while Michael Dukakis ran for president. That national embarrassment was aided and abetted by talk radio (that era's answers to blogs), in particular by The Governors -- as Jerry Williams, Howie Carr and Barbara Anderson became known.

We are still living in the swamp of that cynicism -- as taxes rise, schools decline and the jobs and the people who fill them depart over crumbling roads.

Deval Patrick is the man charged with fixing all those problems -- and facing all that emotion. I'm not shedding a tear for him, he asked for it. But I am willing to hold my fire because -- unlike his immediate predecessor, Myth Romney -- he seems genuinely committed to doing something to find solutions. He hasn't repudiated what he has done and he isn't running around bad-mouthing the people who elected him.

And I find some solid comfort in the Associated Press' Ken Maguire's solid effort to cut through the noise and examine the positions of Patrick and House Speaker Sal DiMasi, among others. While DiMasi didn't talk to Maguire, he found this quote that I had not seen before, summing up his stand on Patrick's casino plan.
"I want to know why he came to the conclusion he did, what rationale did he use and is it going to be good for Massachusetts?" DiMasi said. "That has to do with the image of Massachusetts and what we stand for here, and whether or not we want to accept this kind of casino culture and casino economy here in Massachusetts."
That about sums it. I stand with my friends Patrick and DiMasi in trying to make Massachusetts a better and friendlier place to be. If I didn't, I could always move to New Hampshire -- which relies on tolls, booze and butts (and the nation's oldest state-run lottery) to keep its economy running.

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