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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, June 26, 2009

"It wasn't him. It's us."

I have a question for Wrentham Republican state Sen. Scott Brown in his declaration of pique over Gov. Deval Patrick laying claim to action on ethics, transportation and pension reform:

“He’s going to have a press conference saying how he’s done all this wonderful work,’’ Brown said on the Senate floor before yesterday’s event. “It wasn’t him. It’s us.’’
By "us" do you mean former Speaker Sal DiMasi and former Sens. Dianne Wilkerson and Jim Marzilli? Or do you mean the miniscule band of Republicans in the House and Senate that can't even force a quorum call?

There's little doubt the passage of three landmark pieces of legislation was a strong collaborative act between the legislative and executive branches. The governor proposes and the legislature disposes, after all.

But the Great and General Court has been in a disposing mood (as is trash removal) for far too long -- the result of four consecutive Republican governors who did not have the will to stand up to lawmakers who hold an overwhelming majority over the figurehead leader.

Deval Patrick -- for all his gaffes and missteps -- stood up for what he wanted. And as the signs placed on easels at his made-for TV press conference show -- he intends to remind voters that he got it too.

Of course he could have better timing that trying to compete with the death of one of Charlie's Angels and the King of Pop.

You have to be slightly delusional not to acknowledge the rather large shadows of DiMasi and Wilkerson in all of this. Questioning the wisdom of a Cadillac over an SUV or how to refurbish an historic office fail in comparison to the accusation -- and image -- of elected officials taking cash.

Or trying to grab a larger pension after resigning from office because you've been accused of groping people in public places.

I would not disagree with Republicans who suggest that a few more of them in elected office might make a difference too. If only they would do more than talk about -- for more than 20 years -- and actually try to find some competent candidates to challenge Democrats who just hiked the sales tax by 25 percent.

Patrick is definitely gearing up to run in 2010 as the man who has brought about change. The ethics and pension pieces would never have happened without the pressure he brought to bear after the recent cases of lawmakers behaving badly. Transportation had reached such a crisis that something inevitably would have happened.

There's a lot of time between now and next November and Deval Patrick has shown time and again he has the ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. But he has a triple crown of reform to boast about now -- and a seemingly fractured field of potential challengers.

Hope he saved one of those cigars he sent to Speaker Robert DeLeo. It may never be as enjoyable as it would be today.

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