Thursday, April 12, 2007

Cock of the Walk

Censorship Giggle: I was going to use this heading on our next Left Ahead! podcast show, but the host would not allow it, reporting that there was a word there that might offend some listeners.

What's this, The Sopranos on Beacon Street? Salvatore DiMasi is playing thug with our governor and our wellbeing. The house speaker is trying to teach Gov. Deval Patrick has his budget is bigger and better. Here's hoping for all of us that Sal get smacked down.

On many subjects, DiMasi is progressive and a lefty leader. Yet, he makes it plain he's a real cheap date for business interests. He appears to be on a permanent job interview for when he gets tired of playing big shot in Beantown.

For background on the budget chest thumping, start with David's first cut at BMG. He also points to DiMasi's BUR interview.

Our speaker seems to have forgotten that we voted overwhelming for change. His backroom snuggling with business has moved into the front parlor with the budget process. The Boston Globe also breaks down the big issues.

Key concepts include:
  • DiMasi still wants business to pay shamefully low taxes, and no tightening of tax exemptions for them.
  • As a result, the budget balances instead on cuts that affect citizens across the board.
  • Patrick's initiatives and innovations get pushed aside.
Here and elsewhere, we'll discuss some of these in detail as this progresses. Meanwhile, we are still reeling from DiMasi being cool, humane and liberal on civil rights issues, but a real ass on others.

As background and reasons why many of us like him, DiMasi has solid records on many important positions. Bay Windows adores him, as do many GLBT groups. For example, the overview by the Stonewall Democrats when he was coming into his current position, recapped things nicely:
Representative Salvatore DiMasi is a pro-family, pro-gay Democrat who strongly opposes amending the state constitution. The Democratic Majority Leader helped lead the effort in the Massachusetts State House to prevent the passage of the discriminatory anti-marriage amendment. DiMasi also enthusiastically supported the Supreme Judicial Court's extension of marriage equality to same-sex couples. Representative DiMasi was a chief champion of Massachusetts' 1989 gay rights bill, which barred discrimination based on sexual orientation.

DiMasi voted against the proposed amendment that would take away marriage equality pushed by Finneran. It is believed that the show of support for him by House Democrats is the strongest signal yet that the amendment will not make it to voters in 2006.
Groups as diverse as the AFL/CIO and Mass. Audubon Society rate his votes and positions the highest. His only low marks come from conservative groups and Citizens for Limited Taxation.

It looks like when corporate money gets involved, Sal is out for Sal and not for us, though. Unfortunately, his protection of his biz buddies crushes such pressing, long-ignored needs as more police, expanded early childhood education and better public health services.

The Boston Herald reports that Patrick is willing to take on the legislature and claim the cock of the walk spot. We're certainly with him. His positions are so much more progressive and so much more defensible.

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3 comments:

Ryan Adams said...

Excellent summation of Sal DiMasi. He's got great positions when it's convienant, but when businesses knock on his doors he opens them readily.

His chief constituent appears to be Verizon, not the voters of Massachusetts.

Capital D said...

How quickcly we forget taht it was Sal DiMasi who forced the business community to come to the table and stay at the table during health care reform...and his positions on gay marriage, stem cell, clean needles and funding for homeless and the needy has not wavered BUT you are ready to dump him because he belives that it is not the right time to vote for new taxes....what a shame!!!!!

Mass Marrier said...

Our erstwhile friend Sal has had a spotty record for a long time. I have taken him to task repeatedly for seeming like a pro-equality leader, but deferring to Travaglini by not forcing issues. He is progressive here and regressive there.

The health care may not be his best example either. That is a rudimentary step to where we need to go. Businesses got in at the bare minimum and many fought even that. If this ends up largely shifting the payments from the state to the poorest of the working poor, how progressive will that have been?

Likewise with taxes, it's easy to prove that for many sectors, the business taxes here are near the bottom of the nation. He has to step up on that, for people, not for the largest corporations.

Sal can do better and we expect him to do so. In his position and with this administration, it's not like there's a place where he can hide.

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