Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sen. Murray's prescience

It was about a month ago that Senator Therese Murray stated during the budget fight that "Unfortunately [Deval Patrick] is kind of making himself irrelevant". Through accidental or purposeful incompetence, Deval's increasingly shrill corps of backers reported that Murray called him irrelevant. This remains, of course, an outright lie, but a useful one for that small, vocal crew.

Well, today we find that yes indeed, Deval Patrick is dedicated to making himself irrelevant. Patrick set out three conditions that would have to be met in order for him to save the Legislature the trouble of overriding his budget on the veto:

  • Pension reform (written by the Lege, as Deval did not more than issue a press release): done.
  • Transportation reform (minus the sinecure Deval attempted to procure for his friend Marian Walsh): done.
  • Ethics reform: in process.

People who've spent 30 or more months in elected politics would probably say that whipping out two major bills, and being deep into a third is a pretty good spring record. However, that's not good enough for Obama's crew of political advisors who have been loaned out once again to Deval Patrick, so in an email today he has announced his intention to veto the budget.

He got most of what he wanted already, and is in a fair shape to get the rest with a little patience. That is apparently not good enough for the governor.

In the world of governing, getting most of what you want even though you have a smaller power base than your partner is seen as a strong victory. It makes for a step toward the policy goals you want overall.

In the world of politics, getting most of what you want even though you have a smaller power base keeps you from using your partner as a foil for a campaign of indignation. It makes for a step backward toward your personal goals.

With this veto, Deval is making clear which goals he prioritizes. He is also making clear what position he must have in order to run against the Legislature next year.

That position? Irrelevant. When Deval gets his wish, I don't want to hear his backers whining about it.


Daniel said...

So pass a good, strong ethics bill, and we can all put away our swords for a bit. Do you think ethics are irrelevant, quiriltai? The new rules will apply to Patrick as well, I'd imagine.
P.s. "Ka-ching, baby!"- there's a slogan we can all rally behind, Patrick and Murray supporters alike! (or not)

Quriltai said...

Oy. I don't think ethics are irrelevant at all. I just don't think grown-ups work together by threatening to take their ball and go home if they don't absolutely everything they want to right now or else.

The rules Deval wants are focused almost entirely on legilsative candidates, and one of the best parts of this debate is watching his backers throw a tantrum because the Senate proposal closes the semi-legal loophole Deval uses to evade campaign finance laws.

And this ongoing effort to convert "ka-ching" (you added the "baby") into a useful personal attack on Murray is pretty sad.