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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, August 03, 2010

The spotlight shifts

An anonymous senior House leader said it best in describing the detritus left by Speaker Robert DeLeo's high-stakes gamble on slots:
"It's a lose-lose situation."
After going all or nothing on slots at two of the state's four race tracks (the other two joining forces for a casino), DeLeo finds himself left holding an empty bag after Deval Patrick called his bluff and sent lawmakers back a bill that includes only casinos.

Patrick, who seemed to waver a bit throughout the process, found his voice when he was placed in the driver's seat by the Legislature's slow-motion process. Repeating his contention that the "compromise" was nothing more than a "no-bid contract" to track owners, he declared:
“We do this over and over again in the Commonwealth: We yield to the short-term interests of a few powerful people, and we set aside the long-term, best economic and social interests of the Commonwealth.’’
And expect to see that quote again in a campaign commercial near you.

Even staunch casino supporters -- and Patrick loathers -- acknowledge DeLeo may have gone too far. In the words of Tom Menino:
“You need to call the Legislature back into session. It’s too important.”
That's because both DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray have closed the door on taking up the amended bill that would allow three casinos. Murray is saying no because she doesn't have the votes to override. DeLeo is nursing a political hangover:
“This decision has the same practical effect as a veto.’’ The governor, said a statement from DeLeo, “is killing major legislation over 1,000 slot machines. With today’s amendment, he has backed away from even that gesture of working together.’’
That, to put it mildly, is a pile of something left behind at race tracks.

The "compromise" that emerged from the conference committee looked far more like the House version than the Senate, particularly since the upper chamber's bill had no racinos. And DeLeo held up action on important Senate priorities to apply the pressure to get his way.

Working together?

Patrick, who offered one competitively bid racino in exchange for action on all his priorities -- which he did not get -- showed leadership here, despite the inevitable carping from political foes who were forced to stand idly by on the sidelines.

DeLeo, on the other hand, put the interests of his district and his personal loyalties ahead of the needs of his members and the entire Commonwealth.

Hardly the mark of a leader.

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Blogger Nat Blair said...

I'm happy that Patrick showed the stones to call De Leo's bluff.

(and thanks for covering this; love following your blog)

August 03, 2010 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a member of DeLeo's constituency, let me guarantee to you that Mr. Speaker is not representing our interests- only his own.

August 03, 2010 11:40 AM  
Blogger Judy Meredith said...

This Diary is so full of smart, savvy and pointed commentary, I don't know where to start commenting. So I'll read it again and refer it to friends and colleagues.

August 03, 2010 12:17 PM  

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