Thursday, January 16, 2014

MA Dems for Gov. Already a Good Crop


MA Gov. Deval Patrick has to step down after this second, four-year term. One of the usual buffoons, Charlie Baker, is certain to be the GOP nominee. On the Dem side though, there are some really good people running.
Disclaimer: I am well aware MA has elected numerous Republican governors. The prevailing, if you pardon, wisdom by polled voters is that there are so many Democrats in the State House that somehow it's only fair to elect a Republican to counterbalance them. Picking by party rather than policies and performance is pretty dumb and self-destructive. Yet, that mythology gives Baker a chance.
That aside, progressive sorts have a wealth of options this campaign. We'll invite many of them to chat with us at Left Ahead. We just had Steve Grossman; you can catch his show here. Next up will be Juliette Kayyem; you can hear her live at 2:30 PM Eastern on Tuesday, 1/28, here, or afterward at Left Ahead.

As I can, I'll also trot down to Suffolk Law for their Rappaport Center's lunchtime shows of candidates. This week was Don Berwick. He'll be on Left Ahead's show Tuesday, 2/11 at 2:30 here.

Kayyem has a solutions-to-big-problems platform and bills herself as a proven progressive. Well, so do Grossman and Berwick.

Grossman is someone Stephen Colbert would call a friend of the show. He's come on Left Ahead numerous times and we like him. He's very straight-ahead and presents well thought out progressive positions — replete with his solutions to problems.

Berwick has been new to me. I was impressed yesterday at Suffolk. If you drill into his issues, you'll find he offers detailed definitions of problem areas and presents how he'd better the condition, and even how he'd pay for doing that.

I wondered how he would cover his platform. Each plank could have taken the whole hour he had.

He spent about eight or ten minutes introducing himself and took questions from all comers. There was only one that stumped him, an arcane legal point about land frontage. He admitted he didn't know about the topic and asked the questioner to educate him after the session. He'll know next time.

If you see him in action, be prepared to be charmed. He is the son of a rural Connecticut (Moodus, population about 1400) GP. He likewise became a physician. He has that avuncular manner. He can also sling metaphors effectively.

One that I suspect will characterize his campaign referred to his upbringing. He drew the image of a small town where when a car is pulled over beside the road, the locals don't drive by. Rather they stop to ask whether they can help.

He riffed on that to say that government should be in the helping...together...business. He went into his favorite Hubert Humphrey quote to tie the car into his philosophy. That would be:
It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.
By the bye, the Rappaport Center has made the video of Berwick's appearance available. They were as good as their word yesterday. You can see and hear it here.

He is the sort of very bright, extremely accomplished fellow who could be a jerk but isn't. He goes far beyond health care into such areas as a very detailed transportation-infrastructure plan (specified on his site). without bragging or condescension.

I left the session aware that he'll be a player in this election.



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