How many people actually know there’s a governor’s race in Massachusetts this year? Probably a lot more people than the number who can name any of the Democratic candidates. In my humble, that’s a huge fault of local media, which can’t stop talking about Baker like he’s the smartest man in the room, even though it’s pretty evident at this point that he’s much more of an empty suit—and more corrupt—than they want to admit. There are so many reasons to oust Baker, besides his very questionable appointments and scandals in various departments under the executive branch. There are his union-busting privatization schemes, starting with the MBTA. (A smart man would know that privatization will not fix the MBTA…ask riders on the commuter rail about Keolis…only increased revenue and investment in the ailing public transit system will yield results. But Baker has used the ire riders have for the T to push his ideological union-busting, despite that fact.) There was his reluctance to get his tush off the fence ahead of the trans public accommodations rights bill—activists pressed him to answer where he stood, and worried he wouldn’t sign the legislation once it passed. He did, but in the dark of night (so to speak). And I have seen zero evidence of even a statement, never mind leadership, on trying to fight the repeal of the trans public accommodation bill which will be on the ballot in the fall.
But for some reason, none of this has added up to erode his poll numbers. Granted, many activists think his support may be wide, but not deep. The state police scandal might take a toll, as it happened far into his watch, especially since every week new information seems to come out, worse than the previous. So far though it has not.
Basically, Baker is popular because he is a milquetoast, fence sitting, nominal moderate (except when it comes to giving far right appointments in the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, or putting fossil fuel advocates in charge of energy policy, or failing to signal support for trans rights…) who the media fawns over. But he’s not a strong leader, he’s not a person with vision, and he’s damned lucky to be coasting on the strong national and regional economy Obama and Governor Deval Patrick created for him.
There were once three people running in the Democratic primary to replace him, but as of this morning, there is only two. Former mayor Setti Warren, citing money fundraising woes, has dropped out of the race, leaving activist Bob Massie and former member of the Patrick administration Jay Gonzales vying for the September 4th primary win. None of the three candidates were well known in recent polls, a fact that I think the media has to take some fault for…the race has been scandal free and relatively congenial among the candidates, and you know, if it bleeds it leads, and if it’s important but not exciting forget about it.
Given how important the governor’s office is to our state, and how much I honestly cannot stand Baker…for starters, as a rider of the T and commuter rail…and for slashing the budget affecting the most vulnerable…it’s time for everyone to start paying attention to this race. All three Dems were smart and have something to recommend them, and the two that are left would both make far better governors than Baker.
To that end, watch this space. As I mull over my indecision, I am hoping to be able to put that process here on this blog. Also, if you already support a candidate in this primary…please open your wallets. I plan to as soon as I decide who to support. A good candidate should not have to drop out due to lack of funds. Our democracy is the poorer for Setti Warren leaving the race.