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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Saturday, November 01, 2008

What a mess

While ending a campaign is not the same thing as leaving office (in disgrace), Dianne Wilkerson has taken an important step in recognizing the problems she has -- and the ones she has caused.

But as Paul McMorrow points out, the Wilkerson fiasco finally brings into perspective the broader problems awash on Beacon Hill. Until she got caught on tape stuffing her campaign chest, no one really put together all the ill tidings on Beacon Hill into one smelly mess.

I've spent a lot of time on the friends of Sal DiMasi, less on the underground battle to replace him that has involved budget deals from Bob DeLeo and hazy real estate deals focusing on John Rogers. I was going to say I totally ignore Jim Marzilli, but that is not quite true.

Put it all together and it really does smell foul.

Deval Patrick (the Cadillac, furniture and drapes were more tin political ear than sleaze, but must be mentioned) has take an a symbolic step to correcting the mess -- creating a special panel with noted clean government types Scott Harshbarger and Pam Wilmot to find ways to shore up the ethics front.

But Patrick's move may be more representative of an improved political ear than a way to clean up the swamp. After all, anything the panel does would need to be approved by, wait for it, the Massachusetts Legislature.

And this is a body that doesn't feel the need to include itself under such good government efforts such as the Open Meeting Law. Not to mention it was the body that did away with the Clean Elections Law approved by the voters.

The looming financial problems facing this state -- and the expected disappearance of Wilkerson and Marzilli -- will take the spotlight off. But it won't end the problems.

Not unless the organization that is part of the problem is willing to be part of the solution.

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