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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The governor proposes...

Charlie Baker chose the middle of a water crisis to lay out proposals he says could save the Commonwealth $1 billion and accusing his opponents of not having the "political will" to get things done.

Sorry Charlie, they don't have the votes. Just ask your running mate, Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei, who can have his Scott Brown-less caucus of four meet in a phone booth if they existed anymore.

It's as old as political campaigns: candidates make promises they cannot fulfill for a variety of reasons. Take Deval Patrick's property tax cut pledge. It would have been a hard one to begin with without a worldwide economic collapse.

In Baker's case, the difficulty will come because of the age-old maxim "the governor proposes and the legislature disposes."

There's really nothing new in the litany -- eliminating rules requiring the use of union shops in public construction projects; changing state law to allow cities and towns to design their own health plans without union approval; consolidating the state agencies that award professional licenses and certification; and requiring proof of legal residency for state benefits.

What's required are votes and those simply are not there.

Nor does Baker aid his credibility or cause by opposing two of the more recent efforts at restraint: reining in spending on Quinn bill benefits for law enforcement and criticizing the move to civilian flaggers.

Unless and until the Massachusetts Republican Party fields a substantive slate of candidates, wins House and Senate seats and makes itself a legitimate voice in the Legislature, they can promise 'em anything -- and fail to deliver.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill Weld showed that a Republican governor with a minority in the Legislature can get things done if he "marries" the Senate President or the Speaker. Don't underestimate that approach.

Also, don't underestimate the extent of the financial crisis facing MA in the next couple of years. A smart Governor can position the Legislature into doing things they otherwise would not do.

In fact, a Republican is more likely to be able to do this than a Democrat. Patrick couldn't even prevent the zoo from outflanking him.

May 05, 2010 5:53 AM  
Blogger Quriltai said...

As to what Anonymous said, there's a lot of truth to it...Bill Weld gave a clinic on working with the Lege (though he didn't have a legacy of ineffective governors to live down) while Deval is giving a clinic on alienating them. I submit this says a lot more about political judgment than party -- any Democrat should work better with the Legislature, but Deval isn't any Democrat.

May 05, 2010 9:39 AM  

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