The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

08 January 2005

Can a Small Number of Republicans on Beacon Hill be Noisy?

A very one-sided story appears in the Boston Globe today, essentially blaming the campaign tactics of Republicans running for legislative seats in 2004, for their poor showing. Common Cause isn't exactly a neutral organization to quote in such a story, of course they are going to stick it to Republicans.

Isn't is clear that Republicans did poorly in the November election because Kerry, the home-state boy, was on the ballot and helped create a huge Democrat vote turnout? And that Kerry voters continued to choose other Demos all the way down the ticket?

It just wasn't meant to be for the GOP, but there is always next time. Governor Romney will have an easy outlet for blame when things don't go his way, a more hostile legislature than ever for Republicans.

(Boston Globe)

The numbers this session are even more lopsided than before. Democrats are easily able to lose a few of their own and still override any Romney veto. With only six of the 40 Senate seats, Republicans can't force a roll call. In the 160-seat House, 20 votes are needed to seek a roll call vote. There are 21 Republicans.

Peterson knows that means he'll be busy this session.

"My job as whip is going to really be to make sure nobody is sick and everybody is out of the bathroom and in the chamber," Peterson said.

Rep. Richard Ross of Wrentham is one of just two new Republicans. He's undaunted by the disparity in numbers.

"I do have big, rose-colored glasses," he said, "and they haven't been knocked from my face yet."

DiMasi, who takes over the speaker's chair left vacant by Thomas Finneran, has vowed to return power to committees and make the House a more inclusive workplace.

Jones, the minority leader, says he'll believe it when he sees it.

"People talk about openness and inclusion as if there's absolute agreement about what each of those things mean," Jones said. "He can have some members in the bathroom, he can have some members sick and still do whatever he wants."

Despite the bear hug, there's already tension between the two party leaders over a change in procedure: DiMasi told Jones this week he'd no longer be allowed on the rostrum. In the past, leaders of different parties and factions would gather on the rostrum to review amendments, answer questions and work out deals and details of legislation.

DiMasi said it's all about decorum, and he's limiting all participation on the rostrum.

But Jones said the exclusion of Republicans from the rostrum is a bit of payback.

"I have absolutely no doubt that at least in part some of the pressure to get us ... is a byproduct of the election," Jones said.

DiMasi denies it. "I'm not shutting out the Republicans at all," he said. "They're elected members and I respect them and I respect the job they have to do as well."


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