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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Not-so Fabulous Baker Boy

I don't think this is the way Charlie Baker thought he would introduce himself to Massachusetts voters.

The Republican gubernatorial nominee has hit a rough patch in his run for the Corner Office. A recent poll showed Baker running third behind Deval Patrick and Tim Cahill -- with more than 60 percent of respondents having no opinion of him.

The Republican Governors Association responded to the poll by running negative ads against Cahill -- hardly the best way to introduce yourself to the public, even if someone else is paying for it and you have no control over them.

And now, you find yourself making headlines for tossing out an acerbic campaign manager while having your reputation for fiscal management dissected in the news pages and skewered on the editorial page.

Little wonder he took to Facebook to like himself. Friends seem a bit scarce these days.

A lot of this is the normal ebb and flow of the campaign. How many people have declared Deval Patrick dead and buried as a candidate? But the Frank Phillips look at Baker's track record of relying on revenue increases -- while touting himself a tax cutter -- has the most potential to hurt.

It's widely recognized but little remembered that Bill Weld's initial success in making over the budget after the Massachusetts Malaise came courtesy of a whopping tax increase backed by Mike Dukakis and approved by lawmakers.

And Baker may be able to walk a tight rope about Swampscott tax increases during the his tenure as selectman coming in the form of Proposition 2 1/2 overrides.

But he is on very dangerous ground in saying that higher premiums didn't play a significant part of his efforts to change the direction of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. And it's even worse when he suggests that people have an option to paying higher premiums.

As Alan Sager of Boston University’s School of Public Health told Phillips, the only option to higher premiums is going without coverage.
“Health insurance premiums are essentially privately raised taxes.’’
With health insurance a potential third rail issue this election season, Baker can easily be portrayed as today's Marie Antoinette saying "let them eat cake."

And we all know what happened to her.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What can be said about the fact that a poll shows that 60% of the electorate doesn't know Baker. Does it say where have they been living, or does it say that at this point in time, it's too early for voters to be engaged in this race? Also, with an estimated 60% not knowing Baker, what will happen as the race progresses? Will his percentages remain the same, will he begin to gain a larger part of those votes as he becomes better known, or will voters realize his complicity in the rise in health insurance rates, and in Big Dig financing issues, and punish him for it?

April 28, 2010 9:50 AM  

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