Will Massachusetts voters rescue their state from Deval Patrick’s gambling law? Oct 6, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 04 • By CHRISTOPHER CALDWELL
When Massachusetts voters go to the polls in November to pick their next governor, they will also define the legacy of their last one. You might think that legacy had something to do with liberation. When Deval Patrick came to power in 2006, all the talk was of his being the first black this and the first black that. A product of Harvard, the Clinton Justice Department’s civil rights division, the corporate suites of Texaco and Coca-Cola, and the boardrooms of America’s biggest subprime lender, he somehow satisfied a lot of his voters that they were striking a blow for outsiders. Funny. In his first days as governor, Patrick intervened with Citigroup’s Robert Rubin on behalf of his former company Ameriquest. He replaced his predecessor Mitt Romney’s Ford limousine with a Cadillac Escalade. More recently he appointed his chief of staff to John Kerry’s vacant Senate seat. Last week he fired the head of the Massachusetts sex offender registry in part because of her handling of his brother-in-law’s sex-offender status. His only claim to be an outsider is that he had just moved to the commonwealth when he ran in 2006.
One issue alone obsessed Patrick throughout his eight years as Massachusetts governor: giving international gambling corporations a foothold in the state. Question 3 on November’s ballot calls for overturning the “Expanded Gaming Act” Patrick pushed through in 2011. That bill called for three “destination” casinos and one slots parlor. The state would claim a quarter of the take in taxes (half in the case of the slots parlor), producing around $400 million in annual revenues.
Although Massachusetts is overwhelmingly Democratic, it is not as liberal as it looks. Patrick’s legislation pitted certain key constituencies of the Obama-era Democratic party (billionaires, slum mayors, and non-workingmen who claim to speak for the defunct labor movement) against those the Democratic party has traditionally represented. Now, just as construction was about to begin on the MGM casino in Springfield, and just as Steve Wynn was being awarded a casino contract worth billions outside Boston, a grassroots movement among those traditional constituencies is bidding—against all-out opposition from the governor’s allies—to do away with casino gambling altogether.
A generation ago, Nevada and Atlantic City were the only places in the country people could gamble. There are now casinos in 38 states. They hold close to a million slot machines. Americans lose $119 billion a year gambling, which is more than they spend on watching and playing sports. Casinos have spread rapidly since the 1990s. They allow politicians to raise money not through taxation but through tax-farming. Instead of forthrightly asking overburdened citizens for more in taxes, state governments can, in the style of moribund autocracies, protect a monopoly for gambling moguls and prosper from their predation.
State-sponsored gambling is a bit like health care reform—when people first hear the vague outlines of a cost-free reform, they like it. Patrick’s plan for casinos was popular when he initially broached it shortly after his election. Gambling creates jobs, and not just for prostitutes and drug couriers. What is more, Connecticut, which shares a long border with Massachusetts, has two huge Indian casinos. Once neighboring states have gambling facilities that your citizens are using anyway, better to share in the profits along with the public expenses for addiction counseling and suicide hotlines. Or so the reasoning goes.
11:01 AM, May 18, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick refused to endorse Hillary Clinton this morning on CNN, and called the notion that she's inevitable "off putting to the average voter."
The CNN host asked, "When you look at 2016, is this Hillary all the way, do you think?"
9:32 AM, Jan 30, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Barney Frank publicly asked the Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick for the Senate seat held by John Kerry. (Kerry, of course, is stepping down to run the State Department.) But today it appears that Frank has been passed over.
CBS Boston is reporting that "Gov. Patrick announces Mo Cowan as interim Mass. Senator."
Cowan is Patrick's former chief of staff.
The official announcement is expected later today, at 11 a.m. in Massachusetts.
"I’ve told the governor I would now like, frankly, to" be senator, Frank admitted earlier this month on MSNBC:
1:22 PM, Nov 9, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
The office Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts, confirms to the White House press corps that he'll be dining with President Obama tonight at the White House.
Meet the new Massachusetts senator.12:21 PM, Nov 9, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat who defeated Scott Brown for the U.S. Senate, held what the Boston Herald reports as an "awkward" first press conference in Boston with Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick.
9:50 AM, May 31, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The Boston Globe reports that Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren admitted in a prepared statement that she told two of her employers that she was a Native American--after she was hired. From the Globe:
10:20 AM, Sep 2, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
In this episode of "Better Know Your Democratic Governor," longtime Obama ally (and speech donor) Deval Patrick seems to commit a Kinsleyan gaffe when asked about the Glenn Beck rally held on the Mall August 28.
Don’t be so smooth.7:29 AM, Aug 16, 2010 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Here’s an e-mail from Alex Vuckovic, a TWS reader from Massachusetts who was way ahead of the curve last December when he wrote to say that, yes, Scott Brown could win. He has some advice for the Republican gubernatorial candidate in his state, and it seemed worth passing on:
Kennedy's seat has been returned to the people. 10:25 AM, Jan 21, 2010 • By ROSS TERRILL
To the Boston left, "anger" and "Washington" explain Scott Brown's victory in the Massachusetts senate race, but the win was also a shaft of common sense hitting Bay State's echo chamber of liberal self-righteousness. "Voter anger caught fire in final days," said Wednesday's Boston Globe. "Massachusetts voters sent Washington a ringing message." Yet it wasn't anger, the final days, or just Washington, as the Globe suggested.
Martha Coakley Answers The Weekly Standard's Questions3:53 PM, Jan 5, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Democratic attorney general Martha Coakley's campaign strategy is pretty simple: If she can run out the clock and deny Republican state senator Scott Brown the chance to make any big plays, she wins the January 19 special election to fill Ted Kennedy's seat. That's why she's agreed to "just one live, televised debate [on January 11] in Boston, the state’s major media market," has declined any debate that doesn't include libertarian candidate Joseph Kennedy, and has been avoiding the media.
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