Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Life after Finneran. The Boston Globe's Joan Vennochi has a good column today on state representative Harriett Stanley, who was stripped of her leadership position earlier this year after crossing House Speaker Tom Finneran. Stanley went from being a Somebody to a shunned backbencher who can't even get a trash can delivered to her office.

What's ironic about all this is that Stanley really has something to contribute. The evidence: a recent award she won from the Pioneer Institute for what is described as an innovative health-care-reform idea. I'll take Vennochi's and the institute's word for it, since the idea isn't actually described, although it has something to do with "re-engineer[ing] Medicaid."

As Vennochi observes, Finneran's love of power has grown so intense that he now routinely puts politics over policy -- something that would have been a surprise to anyone who was following his career 10 years ago.

And Finneran is still pushing for even more power, as the Globe's Rick Klein explains.

Meanwhile, Boston Herald columnist Wayne Woodlief (registration required) takes on the sorry state of the Democrats, noting that by booing state attorney general Tom Reilly at last Saturday's issues convention, they were booing one of their strongest potential candidates for governor in 2006. All because Reilly wants (gasp!) UMass president Bill Bulger to resign.

Woodlief compares the rude reception Reilly received to Finneran's characterization of 1998 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Scott Harshbarger as part of the "loony left," an outburst that contributed to Harshbarger's defeat.

At least state Democratic chairman Phil Johnston has a grasp on reality, telling Woodlief: "If Reilly decides to run he'd be very strong. He's viewed as a straight-shooter and a suburban reformer, not a captive of Beacon Hill politics. That's the type we need to beat Romney."

Reilly is also pretty conservative -- maybe too much so for a party that needs to distinguish itself from the Republicans. But at least he's got a backbone.

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