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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, July 27, 2010

Welcome to the sausage factory

A Facebook status message from a reporter waiting for a Statehouse meeting to break up brought back a lot of memories -- none really pleasant -- about how business is done under the Golden Dome. At the end of a legislative session, you spend a lot of time sitting on the cold marble floors waiting for doors to open.

The stalemate over casinos is truly a doozy. It has brought business on everything else -- health care cost reform, economic development, criminal offender records reform -- to a grinding halt. The sands of time run out at midnight on the 31st and it's a fair bet lawmakers will be hanging out late Saturday night and into wee hours of Sunday.

And now is when we are getting to the nitty-gritty -- when not only Republicans, but rank-and-file Democrats, do the equivalent of the cold marble sit as a handful of top lawmakers and Gov. Deval Patrick meet behind close doors to thrash out a deal everyone can live with. Even one that requires them to pinch their noses from the stench.

I remain convinced a deal will emerge. It will probably be the ugly stepchild, loathed by all, but it will emerge. The political fallout for failing to act is even greater than the problems that will come from launching the casino age in Massachusetts.

Not to mention the heapings of venom for failing to act on everything else stuck in the pipeline. And woe unto anyone who declares -- as former Lt. Gov. Evelyn Murphy infamously did during a budget and taxes stalemate while Michael Dukakis was out of town -- that he or she broke "the logjam."

If I were back at the Statehouse these days, I would make sure I had a nice floor pillow -- and give thanks for an iPhone to while away the hours of hurrying up to do nothing.

And is the right time to mention that my political predictive powers have never been all that hot?

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