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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

None of the above

Massachusetts is swimming in a sea of debt: a budget gaps this year and next that registers in the billions and a transportation infrastructure that is crumbling with no real plans in place to pay for its rehabilitation. And those are only the headlines.

So how is the "leadership" of the House of Representatives, "the people's house," dealing with the crisis affecting millions of Bay State residents? Buy fighting over the job prospects of two of them while things that can affect the rest of us sit on the sidelines.

The hammer and tong war between House Ways and Means Chairman Bob DeLeo and House Majority Leader John Rogers continued it is has for seemingly forever. The people's business has taken a back seat to internecine warfare, but with the imminent departure of Sal DiMasi it has become the full-time occupation of 159 men and women.

The rest of us are just pawns in this high-stakes game -- and that is the exact wrong message our "leaders" should be sending in a crisis.

DeLeo claims he has the votes needed to replace DiMasi. Rogers cries foul -- accusing DiMasi of reneging on a succession deal and asking to delay the vote for one month so that "the people" can decide.
"It’s an important office in Massachusetts and it’s not a coronation,” Rogers, the House’s most recent majority leader, told the News Service during a telephone interview Sunday night. “It’s a public office and the citizens of Massachusetts should have a greater say ... and should have a greater opportunity to weigh in with their respective representatives.”
Guess who has the votes? And explain exactly how and why "the people" should decide what in effect is a glorified class president election when they are not members of the class?

Or what happens to the people's urgent business while the House goes without a leader and without a Ways and Means Chair to work on a budget that really is far more important than the name of the door of either of these guy's office.

The worst thing is the reality that this is the best the House has to offer. No, not the best leaders, just the two who have risen to the top of the leadership fight. And they are not good leaders because they have continually put their own personal careers ahead of the people's business.

Do you really think everyone will just kiss and make up when this is over?

Both DeLeo and Rogers start with ethical skeletons in their closets -- meaning the departure under a cloud of a fourth successive speaker is the only sure result here.

We deserve better than this in a time of crisis. Maybe Rogers is right. Maybe it is time to call your representative and tell him or her that they need to put aside this foolish power game and get onto the real business they were elected to do.

Or they could be looking for a job in 2010.

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Anonymous Boston Knucklehead said...

Hopefully we don't end up like California.

January 27, 2009 6:53 AM  

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