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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Be careful what you wish for (II)

House Speaker Sal DiMasi is profiled in this month's Boston Magazine, where he makes it clear that while governors may come and go, the Legislature goes on forever and governors better get used to it.

DiMasi offers faint praise to Deval Patrick, similiar to slaps along the campaign trail where he suggested we don't need a president with a learning curve. As reporter Paul McMorrow writes:
The sooner Patrick resigns himself to this, DiMasi would have him believe, the easier things will get for him. If he tries to buck the speaker, well, things will just get harder.

"There are people," says a source close to the administration, "who believe [DiMasi] would not be unhappy if the governor were not successful, and everything returned to the way it was. The governor believes he has gone out of his way to be deferential to the speaker; I don't think the speaker can say the same."

A second administration insider is even more succinct. The speaker's single biggest point of contention with the governor, says this person, is that "he doesn't ‘get it.' Which means: He doesn't do it Sal's way."
Well, according to the Herald's Scott Van Voorhis, Patrick is learning his lessons:
Gov. Deval Patrick’s personal push to get a casino bill passed has resulted in more than a dozen lawmakers switching their votes on the issue despite powerful House Speaker Sal DiMasi’s opposition.

As many as 15 House members have changed their positions and now plan to support the governor’s proposal, said state Rep. Brian Wallace (D-South Boston), a Patrick ally on the casino issue.
DiMasi is simply the latest in a long line of string powerful legislative leaders, including Speakers Tommy McGee and Tom Finneran and Senate President Billy Bulger. Spitting contests are inevitable and lessons usually get learned. Who would ever think that Bulger and Bill Weld could have found common ground?

But the lesson for DiMasi is obvious: if the Speaker was hoping to be Patrick's tutor, he should be aware that his pupil is a lot faster learner than he may have thought. And the roles of tutor and pupil may be flexible.

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