Friday, February 21, 2003

Romney: reforms or rhetoric? A year from now, we'll know whether Governor Mitt Romney has genuinely reformed state government, or if he's just spitting into the wind. He's already proposed doing away with the MDC, a long-overdue step. Today, the papers report on his plan to streamline the court system, including doing away with the Boston Municipal Court. (Globe coverage here; Herald coverage here, here, and here.)

The problem, of course, is that there's absolutely no need for the overwhelmingly Democratic legislature to do anything with Romney's proposals. The legislators can make paper airplanes out of them and toss them out the window: the Republicans are so outnumbered that they can't even force a roll-call vote.

It doesn't help matters that Romney has overpromised and underdelivered. His court plan was supposed to save $100 million a year; the preliminary reports are that it will save just $9 million. Legislators, of course, will look at any such cynicism as evidence of weakness, as a sign that Romney is really no different from them (read this stink bomb on the piles-o-cash former Senate president Tom Birmingham handed to his top aides on the way out the door), and thus may be safely ignored.

Will Romney take his case to the public? Please. The public doesn't care. The public is more concerned about being able to play Keno every four minutes than it is about the future of this state.

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