I should have seen the Senate President’s comments for what they are: Beacon Hill politics. Billy Bulger may be gone, but who says Travaglini is any better? Sharing the same Democratic base, the Governor-Elect may be a greater threat to the Senate President than a Republican governor. Democrats voted overwhelmingly for Patrick. His over-ride of a Senate bill can’t be passed off as partisan politics.
I think Travaglini’s comments two days ago were a line in the sand:
“I told the gov.-elect, if you’re willing to share and you care and you prepare and are ready to deliver, then everything will work out. If not, I have senators across the state who share my vision and my approach and if forced to choose, I’m comfortable with whom they’ll choose.”
In the legislature, state representatives “have also been concerned that Patrick may move to cut earmarks, money that is directed by legislators to local projects.”
Earmarks, according to the Wikipedia, “require that all or a portion of a certain source of revenue (such as a tax) must be devoted towards spending on a specific public expenditure…. Governments are often fond of earmarking, while public finance experts often criticize earmarking since it provides an avenue for corruption including kickbacks and because it reduces the discretion and flexibility of the government, which may lead to a loss in economic efficiency.”
Earmarks came to the public’s attention in the last federal budget when Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) was heavily criticized this year for an earmark which would have financed a multi-million dollar “bridge to nowhere.”
“They are not pork,” House speaker Sal DiMasi said about earmarks earlier this week. “They are legislators’ priorities.”
Money is power in politics. Aside from actual corruption or plain, old sleaziness, many of our elected representatives need to deliver money in the form of projects and relief to those who support them. Very often their elections depend on it.
If Deval Patrick is the reformer I think he is going to be, Beacon Hill power brokers may have a lot more to worry about than if Kerry Healey were elected.
The Republican talking point before (and the day after) the election was that electing Patrick would increase taxes. Matt Margolis, a Republican blogger for Hub Politics, saw Patrick as part of an axis of, if not, evil, at least Dems Gone Wild:
Make no mistake about it, Trav and DiMasi look at Deval Patrick as the next governor and see an ally… a rubber stamp. Deval may tell the TV cameras that he won’t be a rubber stamp, but we all know better. Deval may on occasion veto a piece of legislation to give the appearance of not being a rubber stamp, but most of us will see through the act. When Romney vetoed legislation it was mostly a symbolic gesture. When and if Deval Patrick vetoes legislation, it will be an act of deception.
It’s going to be a long and expensive four years.
I never bought the argument that a Republican governor would provide a better check on government spending. What the hell’s the difference between a symbol and a rubber stamp if the outcome is the same?
It may turn out that a Democratic governor can exert more control over the state government than a Republican figurehead. Travaglini’s angry comments two days ago may be just the beginning of a curb on his power. At least, I think we have reason to hope so.