Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Me and Deval

I go way back with Deval Patrick. Well, back to the campaign anyway. I was impressed the first time I met him, and he rapidly got better as a campaigner. So I became a town coordinator (i.e. flunky) in his campaign, and we dramatically reversed the numbers that Mitt Romney had put up against Shannon O'Brien in 2002.

Nov. 7, 2006, was probably the headiest day I've experienced in American politics. Electoral politics, anyway - there was August 8, 1974.

Still, I knew that Gov. Patrick would never be as thrilling as candidate Patrick. Vision never translates to governance completely. As a grizzled old political veteran, I could deal with that, but I knew some of the new people in Patrick's campaign would have to learn the hard way to be happy with half a loaf. So, I switched to the digest form of the coordinators' email list, and I mostly stopped reading even that.

Now Deval has proposed a casino plan, and many of his biggest fans are devastated. I'm not thrilled, but I'm also not up in arms.

Casinos are bad public policy, but a majority of the people seem to want them. Hell, the Lottery is bad public policy, and it's wicked populah.

Deval has tried to make a case that casinos can be good policy. I don't believe it. Gambling:

  • Acts like a regressive tax - only the lower end of the economic spectrum gambles the rent money
  • Encourages something-for-nothing thinking in citizens and business people (legitimate or not) alike
  • Creates service jobs with a pretty low wage ceiling
  • Creates nothing tangible
People like it anyway, and there are limits to how far I want to go against that.

Luke warm enough? Can we just keep calling it gambling? Gaming is something you do over the net from your mom's basement.

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