In this week's issue of the Boston Phoenix, out tomorrow, I take a look at the House Democrats under the leadership of Speaker Sal DiMasi. I suggest that there is a remarkable absence of dissent and debate, which I blame on several factors, including the leadership style of DiMasi and his core team; the willing acquiescence of most members; and the timidity of other members.
One of my findings is that heading into the casino vote, House Democrats had cast a TOTAL of just 567 votes in opposition to DiMasi on floor votes in the 2007-'08 legislative session. That's an average of four dissenting votes apiece over the course of some 15 months.
Nearly 3000 such dissenting votes were cast by Democrats in the '05-'06 session -- the first under DiMasi -- and more than 5000 in Tom Finneran's last session as Speaker, in '03-'04. That's only one way to judge these things, but it's pretty telling.
The article is online now:
DiMasi's Sheep: How Stepford Politics rule Beacon Hill