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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, April 02, 2010

Rolling craps

The phrase "what we have learned from Scott Brown's election" may be the most overused political meme in the United States. But it seems clear that House Speaker Robert DeLeo hasn't heard the term or thought through the meaning.

How else to explain one of the most politically boneheaded ideas I have ever heard: declaring there will be no public hearing on his proposals for casinos and slots because “everything has been studied thoroughly, and we’re ready to go."

And saying it will standing in front of an endless seas of suits lining a Statehouse staircase. On a day that Deval Patrick entered the lion's den and sat down to take verbal abuse from Howie Carr.

Perhaps we need to refresh the speaker's memory that a few short years ago a very different gambling bill -- one that did not call for slot machines at two race tracks in his district -- went down to defeat in the very same House of Representatives.

The political tin ear undoubtedly has a lot to with the fact that both Patrick and Senate President Therese Murray have concerns about slots. And that DeLeo has concerns about mustering a two-thirds, veto-proof majority to secure his own personal political victory.

But back to my point. If there is indeed a single lesson to be learned from Brown's victory it would be that people are angry and suspicious about government and its motives. They feel shut out of a process dominated by men and women in suits who proclaim they represent "the people" while actually standing for select special interests.

While the public's elected representatives will have a voice in the floor debate, the public will not. Shutting them out of a traditional part of the process makes Brown's lesson with a resounding amen.

Is the racino proposal really so shaky it cannot stand a public discussion? Or because the bill's new provisions really only affect your own district and a couple of others, do you think no one else need bother themselves with the details?

Let the sunshine in Mr. Speaker. That's the lesson from Scott Brown's election.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Billy Bulger would be proud.

April 02, 2010 2:06 PM  

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