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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Life goes on

Massachusetts residents apparently love a few other things besides their Red Sox -- including the thought of gambling. And most of all, they love a good political fight. Well get ready for a gem.

Deval Patrick and the Massachusetts Legislature are heading for a showdown. Patrick doesn't like the pace of business, and lawmakers are not enamored of his pushing and prodding for action. Throw in a potential battle between pro- and anti-casino members and it has a chance to be quite entertaining.

Patrick is held apparently held in higher esteem by the general public than we know-it-alls in the blogosphere and local punditocracy. His approval rating has worked its way back up to 56 percent after his winter missteps. As Jon Keller notes, without any major victories on his plate, Patrick's rise may well be tied to his casino proposal.

Patrick and House Speaker Sal DiMasi have been nipping at each other's heels all year and Patrick leveled a shot across lawmakers' bow at a recent level legislative hearing. (Brian McGrory's team couldn't find room for a story about Kevin Burke's statement of frustration (subscription required) but Renee Loth's team could. Bizarre to read an editorial about a story that didn't run.)

And while Senate President Terry Murray is doing her best to play Switzerland, there is clearly rising tensions over DiMasi's decision to assign oversight on Patrick's casino bill to staunch anti-gambling foe Daniel Bosley's committee.

I've said it before, but what the heck, I'll say it again. While Patrick hasn't established speed records in turning proposals into legislation, our lawmakers have not been burning the midnight oil either. There are only a few weeks before they break for the end of the first year of the session and while we are up to Ch. 140, an awful lot of those bills seem to deal with sick banks and police and firefighters skirting age requirements.

Let's hope for a Sox sweep, if for no other reason than getting our elected officials attention back on their -- and our -- business. Besides, it could be better than a Red Sox-Yankees brawl for entertainment value.

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