Sunday, August 01, 2010

MA Casinos and Honorable Men

Our pork-master pouts today. MA House Speaker Robert DeLeo did not get to be the boss of him. Instead, Gov. Deval Patrick irritated the crap out of the big guy by doing exactly what he said all along — scuttling the gambling bill if it overreached.

DeLeo's best quotes were in the Herald coverage. He pretends that this is larger than his self-interest and re-election guarantee by siting two gambling venues in his district. For example,"Anything short of Gov. Patrick signing this bill represents a decision to kill the prospects of 15,000 jobs...He can sign it into law, veto it, or he can let it become law. Should the governor do anything else it will be the people of the commonwealth who will suffer."

Even casual readers here and listeners at Left Ahead! know I'm not a fan of what I see as the destructive fantasy of economic salvation through casinos. Even Patrick's clever twist — expanded gambling would be a secondary or tertiary business development strategy — when the legislator presented the idea nearly four years ago doesn't cut it for me.

Yet it is understandable and predictable that the lawmakers would grasp even this flimsy life preserver. Our Great Recession and high unemployment rate have muddled reason.

Instead, the drama is the familiar one. The lawmakers want to be the boss of the executive. In this case, Patrick continues to stare them down and keep his course and counsel.

We see this regularly here, as with previous big-shot legislators and mayors. Patrick doesn't respond with the same foot-stomping, chest-thumping hyperbole as DeLeo and others. Yet he's just as firm.

This current situation took me back to Patrick's last words with Left Ahead! I was my usual pushy and impatient self on the show, asking why this or that wasn't happening and saying it appeared the legislature was denying every funding avenue along which Patrick wanted to take the commonwealth. He said quietly but confidently that they end up doing what he wants almost every time.

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