It has been interesting to watch the debate back and forth between those obsessed with the purity of the process and those more concerned with achieving a just outcome on the issue of same-sex marriage. I count myself firmly among the latter – I applaud the legislators who were willing to stand up for equality and civil rights against prejudice. I do not believe we are obligated to blindly apply a process that leads to an unjust result. It’s worth recalling the ideas of the political philospher John Rawls in this context. Rawls was concerned about the way historical critique has undermined social contract theories. In practice, constitutions have tended to protect the social position and property rights of entrenched elites. Rawls sought to restore the idea of the social contract as the foundation of a just society through introducing the notion of an “original position”. Rawls envisioned parties who did not know who they would be or what status they would occupy in society. The social contract would be established by rational beings in this “original position” – and the rights and framework they would establish would be fair for all. I have only caricatured Rawls’ philosophy in these [...]
Just wanted to let everyone know how happy I am that we have a Democratic Governor and Lt. Governor here in Massachusetts.
The State GOP said I placed my bets in the Fourth Quarter and I was a Democartic political mole. I am glad when I placed my bets two years ago when I ran for the Republican State Committe in a reform ticket against Romney and they were working against me. I was a write in and won by 24 votes.
The governor told me at Kerry Healey’s birthday party that he was too busy to meet with me and did not know when he would have time. At that time I was a Councilman and needed to help some families in Everett.He really did not care. I told him I would pay him back and took my 250.00 check back.
After a shocker national election that has led to surprisingly few “here’s-the-way-the-story-happened” deconstructions, the Boston Globe has a must-read on the Dems’ two-year strategy for recovery and dominance. Starts back at the crack of ’05, when we were all shaking off our feelings of armageddon and saying, huh, what’s Bush doing with Social Security? …and when many of us, including yours truly, were fretting about those Dems in Congress, who didn’t seem to have anything to say about the issue. Well according to the article, that was the plan…and it worked. So three cheers for Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, and let’s not forget Howard Dean. And, let it be said, kudos to the Globe for a nice piece of journalism!
Small to moderate efforts can bring huge paybacks. Deval Patrick has some opportunities in January to show what a directed and moral governor can make happen.
Note: Cross-posted at Marry in Massachusetts.
That’s something many of us have forgotten over the past years of stagnation.
Patrick made repeated promise of fundamental change to governance and infrastructure. If you have not read and reread his promises, do try his campaign policy book.
We propose three biggies he and the legislature can knock off quickly and we’ll all be much, much better for their accomplishment. They’ll also set the tone of the possible and the right.
Let’s not forget that with a rudderless government — both in the executive branch and the legislature, particularly the senate — lawmakers seem to think their only job is pork for their districts, so they will get re-elected. They need kicks in their collective butt to get back to the business of the commonwealth.
Deval, listen up. We strongly suggest:
1. Fully legislate gender-neutral marriage
2. Return initiative petitions to their original purpose
3. Revise MBTA loan structure and forward funding to reality
Many people defending the (apparent) killing by parliamentary means of the anti-marriage amendment, including many BMG readers, have argued something like the title of this post in defending their views. I understand that position, and it carries a lot of rhetorical force.
But ultimately, I don’t think it works. And the reason is this: any change to the state Constitution, whether proposed via the initiative or by a legislator, must survive a popular vote in order to be effective. So if you say there are certain subjects that should never be voted on, you are saying that there are certain subjects that should never be the subject of a constitutional amendment. To me, that’s not a tenable position.
Note to readers: I’m posting this in response to all the crazy President-Bush-esque “up or down” vote talk people have been making – and the front page treatment they’ve been given.
No, Massachusetts, the legislature isn’t refusing to vote on gay marriage as pundits, reporters and rabid rightwingers alike would have people believe. The truth is the state legislature is employing the rules at hand. The truth is the state legislature voted, just not the vote Team Homophobia and Company wanted.
Click to go below the fold.
I heard it on NPR this afternoon, and Mass for Feingold has the statement he sent to his supporters. I want you to know that Ive decided to continue my role as Wisconsins Junior Senator in the U.S. Senate and not to seek the Democratic nomination for President in 2008…. Im sure a campaign for President would have been a great adventure and helpful in advancing a progressive agenda. At this time, however, I believe I can best advance that progressive agenda as a Senator with significant seniority in the new Senate serving on the Foreign Relations, Intelligence, Judiciary and Budget Committees. Although I have given it a lot of thought, I cannot muster the same enthusiasm for a race for President while I am trying simultaneously to advance our agenda in the Senate. No Warner. No Feingold. What’s going on here — is everyone clearing the decks for Hillary Clinton? Is she that much of a shoo-in?
For real political junkies, here’s a must read account from the Chicago Tribune.
During the past year, the Tribune had exclusive access to the strategy sessions, private fundraisers and other moments that shaped this victory. The newspaper agreed not to print any of the details until after the election. Now that the votes have been counted, the story of how Emanuel helped end an era of Republican rule can be told.
He did it, in large measure, by remaking the Democratic Party in his own image.
Why even bother with petitions, and initiative petitions anymore? Most of the Legislature seems content to thoroughly undermine this part of the democratic process, and most citizens seem content to let them get away with it.
Clean Elections and the income tax rollback were clearly favored by the people of Massachusetts, and the Legislature decided to ignore them on both issues. They’ve been enabled by short-sighted activists more interested in getting what they want than preserving the integrity of our democracy. Now, amusingly, the same folks want two different things — respect for the procedure when it makes them happy (health care) and no respect when it makes them sad (marriage equality). Instead, the Legislature is reading the clear knowledge that nobody cares about the integrity of the process, so our opinions on a given matter are really irrelevant.
We’re in a liberal, Democratic state, so the initiative process should be a great tool in our arsenal to effect liberal policy. So why try so hard to throw out that tool? With conservatives and liberals advocating for its irrelevance, the initiative process won’t mean much when we could really use it. Are you ready to lose it?
Boston Herald…November 12th, 2006 “Post-election hiatus Posted by Kimberly Atkins at 8:26 am The Daily Breifing [sic] will be on a weeklong, post-election hiatus. Back Monday, Nov. 20.”… WOW! And I thought she had been on hiatus for the whole campaign! Did any reporter put less effort into covering Mass. politics? And how many lawyer/reporters err when spelling a word like “brief”? The “spoon-feeders” are going to miss her…do you suppose she and Matt Viser will be hiatusing at the same “rest for the rested” stop?