A Recess Shun
Senate President Robert Traviglini, Boston Globe, Nov. 3, 2006
It’s always noteworthy to see somebody you know on television, and on the Eleven O’clock News on Channel 7, Porcupine was interested to see the spectacle of Rep. Cleon Turner, Democrat of Dennis, standing on the marble balustrade inside the State House, waving and pointing in rock star fashion, somewhat reminiscent of Madonna as Eva Peron, smiling down on hundred of cheering same sex marriage groupies, acting for all the world as if he were Paul or Ringo. It was especially surprising, as the newly re-elected Representative Turner had just spent weeks stumping in the district, gravely intoning that he was a conservative and responsible Democrat, not a wild-eyed radical like that Dick Neitz claimed he was. What a difference two days make.
With his fellow legislators, Rep. Turner had just voted to recess, rather than adjourn, the Constitutional Convention which was postponed in July until two days after the elections. Now, the ‘recess’ will last until January 2nd. You see, if they had adjourned, the Governor could – and would – have called them back into Session for a vote. By ‘recessing’, no such action can be taken. Ah, these clever lads! There are so many options open to them on the last day of this legislative Session – a quick roll call and adjournment with no vote, or perhaps a lack of quorum.
The latest polls showed that the residents of Massachusetts had begun to adjust to gay marriage, and that 56% of them would vote against an amendment to the constitution banning it, but that a full 75% DID want to have the chance to vote as their citizen petition stated. Only fifty legislators were needed to advance this petition, and the leadership knew that there were fifty votes to allow the electorate to decide as they have in over 30 other states. So, quick! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!
At the end of the day, Sen. Traviglini had only promised that he would hold the Constitutional Convention and would allow debate on the issue. He did fulfill that. He never said he would permit an up or down vote by the legislators. With the election of Deval Patrick, it is clear that Clintonian literal truth telling has found a new home in Massachusetts.
So, wave and smile, Rep. Turner. If your shenanigans are successful, the opponents will just go out and get the thousands of signatures again. Really, it’s getting easier each time they do – this is the third time. And that 56% willing to vote against a ban on gay marriage erodes a little more with every lie you tell us.
Just for you, Rep. Turner - a link to a ditty about you and your boss, Sal DiMasi - The Weasel Dance.