By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Casino bill defeated by — well, a lot

Whether it was 106-48, as Casey Ross reports in the Herald, or 108-46, as Matt Viser and Andrew Ryan write in the Globe, the House defeated Gov. Deval Patrick’s three-casino proposal by an overwhelming margin today. Technically, the bill was sent to a study committee, but we all know what that means.

Ross’ is by far the more colorful of the two accounts, as he describes angry losers jeering and booing as the proposal went down to defeat. It is true that the casino opponents, led by House Speaker Sal DiMasi, had an unfair advantage — they had the facts on their side, as well as the moral high ground. All that and arm-twisting, too.

In retrospect, it seems clear that DiMasi knew he was going to win all along, and that whatever pressure he put on lawmakers was designed to run up the score in order to make sure that Patrick doesn’t try this again. Patrick can still be a successful governor. But he’s got to walk away from this terrible mistake.

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13 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Dan, my only quibble is with your last point. This is such a blow to Deval Patrick. He has risked so much and has expended so much political capital on this immoral, unethical, dishonest, atavistic, regressive, short-sighted, pie-in-the-sky, something-for-nothing plan, and has further wounded himself by refusing to back down gracefully when it was clear the opposition was insurmountable.I see no way he can do enough to recover in time to win re-election. The task facing Mass. Democrats now is finding the right person to oppose him so we don’t lose the office again.

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Who’s “we,” Kemo Sabe? I’m a registered independent. 😉

  3. Anonymous

    Dan, what has Deval done at all in a year to lead you believe he will be a successful governor. I am still waiting for my propery tax relief or him to do anything at all.

  4. Rich

    “Moral high ground”. Who knew you were such a comedian, Dan? Yes, we know you don’t want a casino in your old stomping ground — lord knows you’ve harped on that enough. But people like DiMaisi who oppose casinos (while, I note, being fully in favor of the state lottery) have zero claim to any “moral high ground”.As for Mr. Anonymous, I can’t say I’m surprised about Patrick. I never understood the Cult of St. Deval in the first place. I’d love to know where people got off thinking he was anything special. Though I’m amused to see that the same people who didn’t learn from the Cult of St. Deval are now dues-paying members of the Cult of St. Barack. Who’s also nothing different than the usual politician, either.

  5. O-FISH-L

    Dan, what are the chances that Patrick will come back with a binding referendum allowing we the people to decide? Is there any reliable polling data on how the voters feel? I would like a shorter ride to the blackjack table, but I haven’t followed this as closely as you. While Patrick has been an unmitigated disaster, House Speakers around here are about as popular as the plague. I think Patrick would win a one-on-one battle with DiMasi, especially if Patrick was perceived as being on the side of jobs and tax relief.I realize those benefits are far from certain, but obviously Patrick, the unions and the casino backers would be throwing them out there.Also, Rep. Wallace (D-SB) and Rep. Calter (D-Kingston) seem to be convinced that the defeat of Patrick’s bill opens the door for the Wampanoags to go the federal route with fewer benefits accruing to the state. Rep. Bosley even tells the Globe it’s possible. How can you be so sure it isn’t?

  6. Anonymous

    Dan, I’d like to use my time and this space to let everyone out there know that they can write a letter to the Dept. of the Interior opposing land into trust in Middleboro. It’s not the “MIDDLEBORO” casino, it will effect the region and the state IF it comes. You don’t have to be from Middleboro or the area to write a letter. You just have to state your opposition. Go to casinofacts.org for info. Lets kill this thing for good! Thank you Dan. NO CASINO!

  7. Dan Kennedy

    Fish: I pointed out yesterday — you’ll find the link there — that a new poll says two-thirds of Massachusetts residents don’t want a casino in their community. That’s the kind of poll that matters, although it also showed that a plurality are against casinos in Massachusetts, period.Anon 7:57: Patrick stood tall on same-sex marriage. I think his instincts are generally good and decent. He has wasted an enormous amount of energy and political capital on casinos, but now that we’re past this (and he has to realize that we are), we’ll see what he can do. I’m not saying he’s done much of anything yet.Rich: I understand that DiMasi is also pro-alcohol while continuing to oppose the legalization of cocaine. God, what a hypocrite.

  8. Anonymous

    First of all, it’s the Mashpees not the Wampanoags. The door is closing fast, if slots are illegal in the state, the tribes cannot have them, IGRA of 1988. The defeat of Patrick’s bill sets them back more than giving them a boost. 11 of 11 tribes have been DENIED land into trust, this what the Mashpees need and are hoping for, just hoping, not garaunteed.

  9. Anonymous

    I’m still waiting for a binding referendum on gay marriage. Eventhough I’d sooner support dogs marrying cats, than casino’s.

  10. O-FISH-L

    Thanks for the info Dan and a belated congratulations on the victory. After looking at those poll numbers –42% opposed to the governor’s proposal to build three resort casinos, 41% in favor– I think the Governor needs to throw this on the ballot.Also, is this comment referring to DiMasi true? On March 13, 2008 9:22:00 PM EDT, Anonymous said… “Sal’s CFRs are littered with contributions from Conn casino interests and the law firm advisor of the New York Racing Association, who are about to install slot machines at their major racetracks.”With the Speakership already terribly tainted by prior holders of the gavel, if Anon 9:22’s comments are true and came out during the lead-up to a binding referendum, people would be lining up in droves to defeat the DiMasi side. Not to mention, as Howie Carr likes to report, Mafia Soldier “Vinny the Animal” Ferrara running around with DiMasi’s phone number in his wallet.”Together we can” put this on the ballot.

  11. Anonymous

    Fish – Please. It’s over.

  12. mike_b1

    Referenda are vastly overrated. If every controversial decision is to be put to public vote, what’s the point of electing officials?The public’s process is to hold their legislators accountable for their decisions. If you don’t like the vote, throw ’em out. But don’t waste the taxpayers money with these otherwise endless redundancies.

  13. Lynne

    Referenda equals mob micro-management. I didn’t vote for people to go the the state house and be on committees and study issues so I could make the (uninformed) decision for them.In the last (2006) election, we had three ballot questions. As a blogger, I extensively looked at all three, covered the debates on them, and even almost figured out how I stood on them. But by election day, I MAYBE thought I knew how I felt about ONE of those issues. None of those issues were really compelling for me one way or the other. I left, if I recall, two of the three questions blank, because I didn’t feel qualified to make those decisions.All three, even wine in grocery stores, failed, of course.

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