Snow kidding: The current issue of The Atlantic features this piece by Molly Ball.
The Bluest Republican
Why staunchly Democratic Massachusetts loves its new GOP governor
“Mark Wahlberg is asking me for a pardon?,” Charlie Baker said as he folded his lengthy frame into the backseat of a black SUV one evening in December. Until his election as governor of Massachusetts the month before, the only elected office achieved by Baker, a Republican, had been selectman of Swampscott (population 13,800), a position he held for a single term. He had also spent nearly eight years as a state-cabinet official in the 1990s. But some responsibilities, Baker was discovering, accrue only to the chief executive. Informed by an aide that the actor was seeking to have a decades-old assault conviction expunged from his record, Baker turned to me and said drily, “He seems to have overcome that” . . .
As I followed Baker around Boston, I kept coming across Democrats who raved about their governor-to-be. Early in the evening—before Baker was presented with Mark Wahlberg’s pardon request—I watched as he was interviewed onstage at a business forum sponsored by The Boston Globe, before a crowd of Boston’s movers and shakers. Vivien Li, a nonprofit administrator who had worked under Governor Michael Dukakis, told me she believed Baker had exceptional expertise in state government.
Uh-huh. Tell that to these folks, pictured under the MassLive headline, “Massachusetts Senate reluctantly passes Gov. Charlie Baker’s transportation funding cuts.”
(To be fair graf goes here.)
To be fair, Baker can’t be held accountable for the MBTA’s mismanagement over the past 20 years. But he’s certainly mismanaged the past 20 days. And for that, Massachusetts certainly does not love its new GOP governor.
(To be sure graf goes here.)
To be sure, Bay Staters are willing to give Baker a bit of breathing room. From the new WBUR poll:
While only 5 percent of Boston area residents say Gov. Charlie Baker is most responsible for the troubles with the MBTA this winter, 81 percent of those polled say addressing the T’s problems ought to be a “major priority” for his administration going forward.
“When you have an issue that is sort of stirring up this much passion and so many people saying it should be a major priority, it’s something that you can’t afford to ignore for very long,” said Steve Koczela, president of The MassINC Polling Group, which conducted this survey of 505 Boston area voters for WBUR between Feb. 12 and Feb 15.
But at a press conference last week, the governor dodged responsibility.
“I don’t have any direct authority over the MBTA at all,” Baker said. “I have one seat on the board.”
That’s one more seat than most people have on the T, Charlie. Better get movin’.