Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick doesn’t like the messy business of actual democracy. No, he’d rather see the finely tuned engine of autocracy managing the affairs of all citizens.
That’s the message behind his warning that if the constitutional amendment to define marriage gets on the ballot it will create a “political circus” and preventing legislators from focusing on the really important business of hack cronyism, everyday corruption, and Nanny statism.
The Democratic governor, speaking to reporters a day after lawmakers delayed a vote on the proposed amendment, said he was actively lobbying legislators to kill it.
“If this does get to a popular ballot, there is very little other business that will get done in Massachusetts politics and policy making while that is pending,” Patrick said.
“Rather than turn Massachusetts into a political circus for a national debate over something which is largely settled here, my own view is that we ought to resolve this on the merits so that it stays off the ballot, and to do so at the constitutional convention,” Patrick said.
So this is how a constitutional representative democracy is supposed to work? The chief executive decides for us which issues are “settled” and which are not and thus circumvents the rule of law on his say so.
Rule of law or rule of Patrick?
The Massachusetts Constitution gives the voters of the state the right to petition their legislators for a referendum on amending said constitution. There is a process to follow. But Deval Patrick wants to undermine the constitution and the will of the people because he has other priorities.
Frankly, apart from the amending the constitution to protect marriage, I think gridlock on Beacon Hill is an admirable goal in and of itself. The fewer opportunities for them to take our money for political pork and mess with the foundations of society the better.
Meanwhile, Patrick denies offering lucrative state jobs to lawmakers in exchange for dropping their support for the amendment. Why would a lawmaker accept such an offer? The state pension laws cap pensions at 80 percent of your last salary as a state employee. A lot of these jobs make $100,000, much more than the legislator’s salary, leaving them with an $80,000 pension payout for their “retirement.” While Patrick denies making the offers, the Boston Herald says sources told them otherwise.
Advocates on both sides of the issue believe the ban would currently receive about 57 favorable votes – seven more than it needs to advance to a statewide vote in 2008.
With the national Democrats also putting pressure on legislators to avoid putting this on the ballot in a presidential election year, giving Republicans an opportunity to make this a national issue, that 7-vote margin is looking razor thin.