Campaigning with Charlie

My new favorite Charlie Baker story (especially after his people criticized Cahill for cancelling a Worcester event because of a severe storm and power failure):

On the drive to Worcester, a campaign worker had explained that the job of everyone on the bus was to be as vocal and excited as possible at the rallies today. “So we’re all going to say how great Charlie is,” she instructed, “how he’s going to be the savior of the commonwealth!” Now the savior is ready to begin his speech outside Worcester City Hall, and he’s going to need all the help he can get.

Baker is standing at a lectern with his supporters lined up behind him on tiers of cement steps. But because the turnout is so dreadful, there’s almost no one left for him to address. As he begins his speech, he’s talking to just a handful of staffers and journalists. There are 13 people sitting at the tables and chairs that occupy the square behind City Hall, but their curious looks make it clear they haven’t come for the speech. “These are all his people,” a photographer from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette keeps saying. “There’s no public here.”

Baker is going on and on about Patrick’s local-aid promise, about how the high cost of doing business in Massachusetts is costing the state jobs. He seems to be under the impression that, rather than stirring up the base with a few standard-issue fighting words, the purpose of this rally is to tackle the big, important issues of the day. “Think about it for a minute,” he’s saying, looking out at the small group in front of him but apparently addressing the supporters behind him. “Do you believe that Deval Patrick and Tim Cahill, both of whom have supported all kinds of tax increases over the past few years, are gonna deal with the impending budget disaster without going back to the taxpayers in the cities and towns for more money to balance the budget?”

No one seems to be sure if they’re supposed to holler Yes! or No! So no one says anything at all. Turning his head to the group behind him, Baker snaps, “That’s a question!” Half of his supporters then roar Yes! before realizing they’ve got it backward. Anxious to give him what he needs, they quickly correct themselves, but by now the whole thing has dissolved into a half-hearted no. Charlie Baker is somehow losing an audience the campaign bused to the event specifically to cheer for him.

Baker presses on. “We are gonna cut spending and reform state government, period,” he declares. “That’s the only way that makes any sense for Massachusetts. We’re too expensive, too complicated, and too inefficient to do it any other way.” A lone person responds with a “Hoo!” and three sad claps. Baker stops, mid-sentence, nods at the man, and says, “Thank you.”

Bold mine.…

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  • Republican Ram Rod Radio

    EaBo – Oh why Ram Rod?  Why Why?

    RRRR – Well it’s just that, Baker showed up to the Worcester City Hall, to address the public but no one showed.  And that makes me feel bad : (

    EaBo – That’s OK Ram Rod ….. I know what will cheer you up.  How would you like it if I made you a moderator on this site?  You can disable accounts and front page anything you want……

  • I almost wish our campaign lacked the scruples to send oppo research guys to their events to film and shout inappropriate comments/questions at the candidate.

    On a side note the Baker team does exactly this…I don’t have his name (yet), but I know that this young gentleman gets his eyebrows waxed and drives a gold late model Toyota SUV MA plate 45M D23.

  •  I can’t afford to spend $100 to hear Charlie Baker speak. One of the major details Mr. Baker and his interns and or fans need to realize is that Republucans have jobs. Most people with jobs just can’t afford to take time off from their jobs to hear the so-called “great one” dispense his ungrammatical pearls of wisdom. Ok, I work my own hours, so I possibly could. I’m not interested. I will potentially vote for him, but I’ll have a barf bag at the ready.

  • Or is that Boston mag hit piece on its way? Back in the spring, when there wasn’t a whole lot going on, it’s understandable that a series of press conferences held during the day time on a weekday would not attract huge crowds.

    But how does Tim Cahill explain why no one showed up for a Town Hall meeting less than two weeks ago, on a week NIGHT when the bad weather didn’t start until AFTER the event was supposed to begin?

    And as for Deval, where the heck has he been? When that campaign has even bothered to attend events, it’s usually Tim Murray who shows up. The Governor has not exactly been campaigning his heart out!

    Give Charlie credit for being the only candidate in this race who actually seems like he wants to win. The other candidates have been silent about proposals for what they would actually do as governor, about opening up regional offices, about putting the infrastructure together to mobilize and get out the vote, and last but certainly not least, about raising money– Cahill’s OCPF filings are PATHETIC!!!  And Deval’s aren’t much better.

  • I think we have some misty-eyed view of events with cheeting supporters, interested independents listening to get information to make up their mind, beaming local officials, etc. The truth is that those days are behind us.

    I have been to a couple of these Charlie events and they went pretty much as described, meaning attendance below expectations. But-

    My own events, despite strong efforts to get people, have been below expectations.

    All the other events I attend seem to be below expectations.

    Word is that the Dems have trouble getting turnout also.

    The reason (in my opinion) is that the nature of life today is different than then. If you talk to politicos who have been around, a lot of rally people were union. Another set were public employees who were expected to be there. There were family of those two groups.  Add to this some regular folks and you’ve got a crowd.

    The bigger trend is that people don’t go to meetings- of any sort. Tons of groups (of all stripes) are reporting this.I think in MA in particular, there has been so little political (R) activity in the past, no one is in tune with politics at all, let alone going to rallys or meetings. I speak with people who are 4/4 Republicans and have no clue what is going on in the local races. You expect this of the unenrolled, but we are supposed to be engaged. No wonder campaigns can’t get more people to show up.

    I think the showing up at a typically non-political event (like the one descibed in New Bedford) is best. People are already massed for some entertainment, and enjoy a little politics on the side.

    PS Good thing there are a lot of people running for office. Candidates, by my estimation, are 25-50% of any political crowd.

    PPS One expection to the meeting observation is the Tea Party. The Merrimack Valley Tea Party, over it’s first three meetings, is averaging 85-100 people, and it worried about exceeding its 150 capacity room for its upcoming candidadtes’ night August 11th.