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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, September 18, 2009

Who's playing politics?

There are lots of hisses about playing politics and threats of Election Day retribution as a bill to allow Gov. Deval Patrick to name an interim senator inches its way through the Massachusetts Legislature.

And the worst offenders when it comes to political gamesmanship is the tiny band of Republicans who consistently offer only rhetoric and not solutions.

Let's agree that Massachusetts Democrats played a hypocritical game of politics in 2004 when they changed the succession law when it appeared Mitt Romney might have had an opportunity to name a Republican to replace John Kerry.

It was a bald, shameless maneuver in anticipation of something that never happened.

Now let's fast forward five years. Momentous legislation on health care, reforming our financial system, maybe even dealing with climate change is working its may through the legislative mill in Washington.

The United States Constitution allows all states to have equal representation in the Senate. Whether you are from Wyoming or California, you get two votes on each of these significant measures.

Oops, not Massachusetts. We only have one.

The political gamesmanship taking place today is coming from the right side of aisle, from a tiny group of legislators representing a party that has been out of touch and out of step with Massachusetts voters for a generation.

How can I say that? Because in a 200-member body, they hold 16 seats in the House and five in the Senate. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

So with no power to speak of, political atrophy resulting from their own failings, this tiny group is attempting to hold up a piece of legislation designed to ensure that Massachusetts has equal representation with Dick Cheney's Wyoming.

A measure, I might add, modeled after their own legislative efforts earlier this decade with Republican input.

The Democratic-controlled Great and General Court is truly a target worthy of scorn: Sal DiMasi, Dianne Wilkerson and Jim Marzilli to name three. Its performance on most matters has been pitiful.

I'd love to see a sensible Republican Party divorced from the Joe Wilson GOP rise as a responsible opposition party to Democratic excess. I've been watching for a long time and it ain't happened yet.

On this issue, the majority party is attempting to do the right thing by citizens of the Commonwealth. And they are being thwarted by the 21 Republicans (and the few dozen Democrats) who choose and put their own electoral fortunes ahead of the needs of Massachusetts voters.

Isn't that the ultimate definition of playing politics?

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