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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Beacon Hill Big Top

Ladies and gentlemen, step right up and see the the biggest show in town. No, not the circus taking up residence on City Hall Plaza, the continuous one that's underway on Beacon Hill.

See the human cannonball -- the Republican Governors Association is launching an ad campaign against Tim Cahill.

Watch the twisted logic -- Charlie Baker calls for cutting taxes and 5,000 jobs while also supporting the Quinn bill and police unions angry over civilian flaggers.

Amaze yourself as the upstart treasurer rails against the Baker "dog and pony show" while the embattled incumbent snaps about "the lack of integrity out of that campaign."

And some people were wondering the source of the fireworks heard around town last night!

Where to begin? A national Republican group seeing a need to put down an unspecified amount of cash to attack an independent and not a Democrat?

That should certainly stick a few barbs in Cahill's side but will it substantially change the dynamic where Cahill's over-the-top tactics -- like courting the Tea Party -- give him polling strength while Baker is unknown to more than 60 percent of the electorate?

Going negative so early in a campaign is always dangerous, particularly before the public gets to know the players. And while this may be an independent source of funding the public will hear "paid for by the REPUBLICAN Governors Association."

That announcement certainly overshadowed the press conference held by Baker and running mate Richard Tisei prior to the start of the House budget debate where they called for cutting 5,000 unspecified executive branch jobs and ripped Patrick for signing the sales tax increase into law.

Of course they also didn't say where the additional cuts would have come from in the current, already-tight spending plan. Nor did it stop them from backing two of the police unions most prized boondoggles -- the Quinn bill and paid details at construction projects.

That contradiction no doubt prompted Patrick's return fire. While initial returns show the use of civilian flaggers has actually raised costs, the elimination of police details had been a GOP talking point as far back as Baker's old boss Bill Weld. And Big Red ultimately blinked at making any change, while Patrick has taken serious union heat for it.

The response for Patrick was a no-brainer:
“Until they propose what . . . the public will do without, then we’re not going to have a serious conversation.’’
Cahill was quick to slam Tisei for voting an proposed income tax reduction in 2000, but has been proud to proclaim his lack of knowledge about specific budgets issues claiming he needs to actually get in there and see how things work. After serving as treasurer for seven-plus years.

The budget under debate in the House was already a rewrite of Patrick's specific proposal. Baker (and Cahill) seem to be unburdened by the need to offer specifics, their right as politicians but a problematic stance if they want to be serious parts of the solution.

The only thing wrong about the day from this political junkie's viewpoint? Too much good stuff condensed into such a small window. Spread it out!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Cahill is is the race at the behest of the Democratic machine. Divide some of Bakers possible support. Police union activists would vote against Deval, but if only some vote for Cahill it will dilute Bakers support. There will always be the base Democratic support that would vote for Deval no matter what.

April 27, 2010 6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The RGA's comparison to the Christie/Corzine/Dagget dynamic in New Jersey is interesting, but fallacious for one key reason.

The RGA started their negative ad blitz in the Garden State close to the end of the campaign, long after Christie had very high name recognition and familiarity with voters.

The decision to go after the independent candidate this early in the game, before - as you indicated - a vast majority of voters even know who Baker is, is not analogous to what happened in New Jersey. I would be surprised if it worked out the way the RGA suspects it will.

April 27, 2010 8:27 AM  
Anonymous Doug Rubin said...

Just read your post - very interesting as always. I wanted to point out that, according to DOT, the flagger program has actually saved the state $10M already, with more savings on the way. Thanks.

April 27, 2010 8:46 AM  

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