I was out with some friends last night talking about the state of Massachusetts, and we all agreed that we need more Republicans in the State legislature. The problem is that the lack of Republicans has taken away any system of checks and balances and has weakened the governor (all of them at least back to Dukakis) so much because he can't play sides. As a result we have an obstructionist and opportunist Legislature. One of the reasons I like a strong federal government is because state's are so politically f-cked up, and they get away with it. I remember when I was in New York State, a young lobbyist for a statewide student group. A large proportion (maybe 50%) of the legislators I met were really ordinary guys -- guys who know less than any of us, but who had a lot of friends and connections and weren't particularly bright. One guy, who later went onto become a Congressman, I visited with a bunch of college students even young than I was. He was drunk, and we were startled. When we told him we thought students should have the right to vote where the attend college, he said something like, "If you don't own property, you shouldn't be allowed to vote." When I told him that was unconstitutional, he said, "Then the Constitution be damned." Without checks and balances, the fools take over the asylum. Making matters worse is the fact that Patrick seems too laid back. He's not taking the Legislature to task. He's sort of another Weld. Though I don't want a Republican majority, I would welcome a 55-45% split that would make a handful of individual votes that much more powerful, and would create some true checks and balances.