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

A wistful farewell to Sal DiMasi

Many of you will miss Sal DiMasi before too long. Not me. I miss him already.

Mr. Speaker, as Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham notes while kicking him to the side of the curb, saved us from casino gambling, pushed the idea of a higher gas tax as an alternative to toll hikes, was a stalwart on preserving same-sex marriage and much more.

We are almost certainly going to get less good government with DiMasi’s successor, whoever that may be. Do you really think we’re going to get cleaner government? Please.

Look — the Globe did terrific work on exposing DiMasi’s less-than-wonderful side, and prosecutors can hardly ignore the possibility of criminal wrongdoing. I understand that. But we are going to miss him.

More: The casino forces are celebrating already, as you can see from this post at Casino Gambling Web. It begins with a falsehood — “Governor Duval [sic] Patrick ran for office in Massachusetts on a platform of expanded casino gambling” — and ends with this:

Lobbyists who have already been working hard to have casino legislation are relieved that a major roadblock is now out of their way. When DiMasi won re-election, casino proponents felt deflated, but now that door has swung wide open.

Look out below.

Still more: Jon Keller has similar thoughts.

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A terrorist fist bump from Bush


Jack Driscoll, citizen journalist


  1. bob gardner

    It would be nice if progressive politicians like Sal Dimasi, Chuck Turner and Dianne Wilkerson could be given a pass for their alleged criminal activity, but we can’t pick and choose. It doesn’t say much for the rank and file of the house that Dimasi sailed into the speakership less than a month ago, when all these allegations were mainly out there. And it won’t say much for them if they pick John Rogers to succeed him. PS: Sixty minutes did a piece on the Israel-Palestine situation. They seem to come to the same conclusion as Moamar Gaddafi.

  2. O-FISH-L

    Dan, to paraphrase Tom Petty, take back your gas tax, take back the ban on casino, take back Sal DiMasi, give them all someplace to go.More importantly, as a Red Sox fan, shame on you for defending DiMasi when it appears this is what he and his “accountant” were up to:From: “Just the ticket for brokers”By Andrea Estes and Stephen Kurkjian, Boston Globe April 27, 2008″The legislation Vitale’s clients sought to influence last year would significantly affect what agents can charge for tickets offered for resale.””Under current law, ticket resellers may charge no more than $2 above a ticket’s face value, plus a service charge, though the law is rarely enforced, observers say. Consumer advocates had been pressing for tighter price controls after receiving complaints that tickets to sporting events and concerts were being sold for many times their original price.””By late September 2007, months after the brokers hired Vitale, the measures sought by consumer advocates were dead in the House. And in their place, a broker-friendly bill lifting all pricing restrictions had emerged with a favorable recommendation from the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure. A week later, that bill passed the full House.”

  3. Dan Kennedy

    Bob: Having just read the “60 Minutes” piece, I have to say I think you misunderstood it.Both Israelis and Palestinians are saying that time is running out (or has run out) for a two-state solution. However, the only alternative that is presented is an ever-more-militaristic Israel, and no state at all for the Palestinians. (Something I definitely do not support.)If you can set me straight, please do.

  4. bob gardner

    Both the Globe op-ed by Gaddafi and the 60 minutes piece reach roughly the same conclusion–that time has run out on a two-state solution. Gaddafi says that it never had a chance; the former Mayor of Jerusalem says that it’s chances are “nil”. I’m taking what the former mayor said as something like a summing up of the whole 60 minutes segment. I can understand if you disagree. The ex-mayor went on to give three alternatives 1)ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians by the Israelis. 2) a democracy where the Palestinians take over through numbers, or 3) apartheid. Gaddafi’s proposal is pretty much the same as #2.

  5. waldorf75

    DiMasi may have done some good things, like preserving same-sex marriage, but that doesn’t mean this state can’t do better. Politics is no place for sentimentality.

  6. Dan Kennedy

    Waldorf: Have you researched the two candidates to succeed him?

  7. Nial Liszt

    **It would be nice if progressive politicians like Sal Dimasi, Chuck Turner and Dianne Wilkerson could be given a pass for their alleged criminal activity, but we can’t pick and choose.**Clubhouse leader for 2009.

  8. acf

    What is DiMasi the least of three evils? Just because DeLeo and Rogers are problems themselves, doesn’t mean that DiMasi should be given a pass on his transgressions. Besides should DiMasi be given an ‘enemy of my enemy’ pass based on his opposition to casinos?

  9. Ryan

    Dan makes a simple point… we’ll miss Sal in a few years. He’s right. DeLeo’s already had stories come out that show he’s no cleaner than DiMasi (and will likely get tangled up in the Vitale mess, too). Rogers has had just as many stories about corruption pop up as DiMasi, just not as much coverage. That would change if he can somehow eat at DeLeo’s supposed advantage. I wish there were a third, cleaner, progressive option – but there isn’t. Sometimes, we’ve got to be pragmatic. The House will revert with DeLeo in charge, though only time will tell how badly. Thankfully, there’s a huge bloc of progressive votes in DeLeo’s coalition from what I’ve looked at in the Globe. So, who knows? Maybe DeLeo will be forced to govern from his left.

  10. O-FISH-L

    Wistful is being thrown around an awful lot lately, huh Dan? Twice in three days on the headlines?

  11. Ani

    Bob and Dan,While I’ve never been a big Hillary Rodham Clinton fan, I’m hoping that she’s so motivated to make a really big name in history for herself (and I have no doubt she’s smart, hardworking, and knows her way around) that she pulls a rabbit out of a hat in the middle east.

  12. Ani

    And, Fish, it occurred to me the other day, that if you want to be a model for Caroline Kennedy, you could change the spelling of your moniker to “O’Fischel.”

  13. mike_b1

    The way I read it, there’s no real career advantage to standing out within the Mass. House or Senate. No matter your political leanings, you keep your mouth shut, vote the way the leader says to, and hope that when the guy ahead of you keels over or gets busted, it’s when you’re still young enough to take advantage of it.For all we know, DiMasi’s ideological equivalent (but without the reckless corruption) is sitting idly somewhere on Beacon Hill, awaiting this moment.

  14. NewsHound

    We have to proudly take the high road of ethics which means our civilization is too sacred to sacrifice values for wrong doing. Unfortunately, though, this speaker was our hero, especially in his stance against gambling.

  15. O-FISH-L

    Ani, hilarious! Thanks. I think O-Fishman might work, too. —It just occurred to me, thanks to DiMasi, I have to travel 90 miles over two hours, across three states to legally play blackjack, but two gays can legally play “marriage” at my city hall, five minutes from my house. And DiMasi is probably wondering what went wrong?

  16. NewsHound

    FISH – you don’t have to play blackjack, you choose. I’m not in favor of gambling and don’t want it legalized in Massachusetts. That is not to say I very much admire the decisions of Justice Harry Blackman who I suspect would rule in your favor so that you don’t have to cross state lines to pursue your happiness.

  17. O-FISH-L

    NewsHound, I would argue, much like the homosexuals have to mixed success, that the desire for blackjack is an orientation not a choice.

  18. NewsHound

    O-FISH – thanks for the update. I’m just one of those who doesn’t believe that a gambling casino owned by anybody is good for a place like Middleboro or New Bedford. Middleboro is a beautiful town. New Bedford has a historic waterfront, but it also has problems that make a casino very unappealing. But I can also understand that we are all not alike, and if you want to play blackjack, whether I like it or not, you should be able to pursue your happiness without unwarranted long distance travel. I think the city clerk five minutes from where you live who issues marriage licenses should accommodate blackjack at his or her office one night a week and once in a while on Saturdays. You are entitled to your rights, too.

  19. Peter Porcupine

    DK – FWIW – DeLeo is more intelligent than Rogers. That should count for something.In addition to his W&M tenure, he spent MANY years as chair of House Third Reading, working with every member to ensure that bills filed were actually LEGAL and all – and letting many problematic bills die quietly.Rogers was a prom queen, given status by Finneran. Some day, I can tell you funny stories about that.I am less than impressed with the choices offered – but at least there are some brains on the table. And at the end of the day, in such unprecedented times, shouldn't that count for something – at least as much as ideology?

  20. Dan Kennedy

    PP: Isn’t DeLeo pro-casino? What good are brains if he destroys the state?

  21. Peter Porcupine

    DK – they both are. A Hobson’s choice for we who oppose casinos.

  22. Nial Liszt

    No fewer than 28 states have casinos, including NY and Cal. Hardly the cause of their destruction.

  23. mike_b1

    Nail, that’s a silly argument. “Hardly the cause of their destruction” can be offered as argument in defense of almost any social or economic policy. All states allow abortion. Many states limit capital punishment. Some states generate revenue through income tax. “Hardly the cause of their destruction,” eh.

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