Charlie Baker for Governor

( – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)

I endorse Charlie Baker and Richard Tisei for Governor and Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

As you all know, up until now I have been a vocal, passionate and aggressive supporter of Tim Cahill (who I met through my longtime friend, Paul Loscocco).  So let me start off by saying that I have nothing but respect and admiration for Tim.  He is a warm, personable man who has been friendly and appreciative towards all of those who, like me, have worked hard on his behalf.  Over the course of this year, I’ve developed a great deal of affection for Tim, his family, his staff and supporters.  Which makes this doubly hard for me.  Politics is a tough, hard business, but, to cite a recent theme of the campaign, there are always real people that are affected by every decision.  And I know that many of my former Cahill political associates are hurt, angry and confused now.  The thought of the many fractured personal relationships – both mine and those of the other Loscocco supporters – that have resulted has broken my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

But this is an election to elect the next Governor of Massachusetts.

Even independent of Paul Loscocco’s decision to withdraw from the ticket, over the past month or so, I began to have serious doubts about the continued viability of the Cahill campaign.  Despite all the hard work and all the money spent, the numbers continued to get worse and worse with each new poll. (It became pointless to continue to argue about the Rasmussen “leaner” methodology, when winning that argument would only mean that Cahill’s true number – a month from election day – was 11% rather than 5%.)   I realize that poll numbers should not be the exclusive barometer of a campaign, but there were other indications too.  As Loscocco stated, the message was just not resonating with the public.  I got better responses talking to people about Cahill in February than I did in September.  Lately, it’s been almost exclusively questions about spoiling for Baker, or secret deals with Deval.

And to be honest, I’ve always had issues with the Cahill campaign message.  I kept waiting for policy proposals relating to the structural deficit, taxes, and the economy, and none came.  While proposals about independent redistricting, maternity leave etc. may be nice, let’s be honest – these are not the issues that are paramount to the people of Massachusetts in this year, in this election.  Like most voters, I want to see spending cut, taxes lowered, and jobs created.  Period.  The rest is noise.

While I believe Cahill did a tremendous job as Treasurer, and that he managed the Lottery and the School Building Authority in a fiscally prudent manner, it became increasingly difficult to remain enthusiastic about a campaign that was woefully short on vision and policy.  I even expressed my frustration to those at the top of both the Cahill and Loscocco camps multiple times.  

One moment stands out in my memory as the point in which my thoughts about this election started to slowly shift:  I was in attendance at the Dan Rea radio debate (a debate, incidentally, where I thought Cahill did a great job).  During certain portions of the debate, Rea asked the four candidates a series of “yes or no” and multiple choice questions.  On most (if not all) of these, Governor Patrick gave one answer, and Baker and Cahill gave the same, opposite answer.  The Treasurer and the former Secretary of Administration and Finance were fighting over the same economically conservative/socially moderate ground.  I started to wonder whether it was acceptable if, at a certain point, Cahill was nothing but a spoiler for Baker?  Should Deval Patrick be the primary beneficiary of all the hard work being done by Paul Loscocco and his staff and supporters?

I began to take a second look at Charlie Baker.  Obviously I had spent months trying to attack his record.  But here’s the truth: there’s not much there to hang on Baker.  Believe me, I read all of the opposition material on Charlie Baker (multiple times), and posted a lot of what I found here at RMG.  Mike Rossettie was exactly right when, at one point, he wrote that my arguments against Baker were becoming more and more weak.  Yes, I got some mileage arguing social conservative issues, but those issues truly do not matter in this election, and personally, I agree with Baker (and Cahill) on most of them.  I spent many hours reviewing the Harvard Pilgrim “bailout” issue, the Big Dig, and health care, and again, there just wasn’t much there to convince me that Charlie Baker would not be a better Governor than Deval Patrick.  Charlie Baker, meanwhile, was making focused policy proposals, most of which were astute and on point.

So, as time passed, I found less and less with which to attack Baker, and even less with which to praise Cahill.  This is evidenced by the fact that lately I haven’t posted much here on RMG.  And this is why I was not totally surprised when Loscocco decided to leave the ticket.  (As the old Billy Joel song goes, “For all our mutual experience, our separate conclusions are the same.”)  I’ve spent quite a bit of time with Paul over the course of the campaign, and I know he did not make this decision lightly, or out of any sort of self-interest, or just to jump off a sinking ship at the last minute.  That’s not Paul.  The treatment of him by some here has been grossly unfair.  (I also suspect that there were other, unstated, internal issues that factored in to Paul’s decision in addition to those that he stated at his press conference.  I cannot speak for Paul, but I will say that once the RGA attacked Cahill, the Cahill brain trust never seemed to trust the “Republican” side of the ticket, and made a concerted effort to shut that side of the ticket out of discussions; indeed, as the campaign wore on, it did not seem to me that Paul and his supporters even had a “seat at the table” — literally or figuratively.  Perhaps the Cahill camp should look in the mirror.)

Barring a miracle (as Cahill’s own ad analogizing his chances of victory to various sports miracles implies), Cahill will not win this race, and will not come close to doing so.  Paul Loscocco did not want to be a party to an effort that increasingly looks like it is aimed solely at re-electing Patrick-Murray, and neither do I.  I found Paul’s concept of a virtual “primary” between Cahill and Baker to challenge Patrick to be apt.  That primary is now over.  We are left with a choice of Charlie Baker or Deval Patrick.

As I see it:

We need a Governor who is serious about cutting spending rather than throwing more money at every problem.  We need a Governor who will reduce, not raise, income, sales and corporate taxes.  We need a Governor who will actively work with the cities and towns across the state, and not ignore them while cutting local aid.  We need a Governor who will create jobs in Massachusetts, not sit idly by as they are shipped out of state.  We need a Governor who will foster small business growth, not pick and choose winners.  We need a Governor who will not say “It could be worse” but instead “Let’s do better.”

We need Charlie Baker.

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