Sunday, April 18, 2010

MA GOP Headed for a Fall Fall?

Apparently the beer poured, if your pardon, liberally in Worcester and certainly the happy hormones flowed even among the sober at the MA GOP convention. While it may be a bit ghoulish to whisper a what-if here, it's not too early to wonder how this manic-depressive routine will play out if Charles D. Baker Jr. concedes to Gov. Deval Patrick on Nov. 2nd.

Yes, yes, understandably, our elephants are gleeful, spiteful and looking forward to more than snagging the gubernatorial office back. They also want to manifest what the Boston Herald described in convention coverage as a "newly resurgent Republican Party."

Pic note: The image is an adaptation from the Herald's Kelvin Ma, for which I claim fair use.

We've had a lot of Republican governors here, roughly half holding the office in modern times. So, were Baker to best Patrick, that by itself would not be news or even that remarkable. No, the local GOP is drooling and wildly hopeful because one of theirs, Scott Brown, won the special election to replace U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy. From that material, they have built a splendid political ship to sail them from the backwaters of power in Massachusetts.

And if that ship sinks? What if Brown's win was an anomaly based on a lame Dem opponent and not as he describes it "an overwhelming people's movement — at one of he most important times in American politics"?

Indeed, we have a widespread MA GOP felt sense of a good future about to become great for them. As GOP nominee for commonwealth treasurer, Karyn Polito told the Herald, 'The whole pulse of the party is in the freshness of the new faces you see here today, young people energized. It’s very obvious to me the whole complexion of the party has changed.” Likewise, they quoted Delegate Adam D. Waitkunas as, "All the energy is behind Charlie."

We can say they are overdue for getting to feel that positive. While like national Republicans, the locals have never had a problem bragging, running down the Dems, or making impossible predictions of victory, I have to wonder what the letdown will feel like if Baker comes up short.

Dumb claims

Unfortunately for the GOP, both Brown and Baker are playing the same weak hand, if their speeches are an indication. In Baker's, for example, he cites easily refutable misinformation and disinformation about current and past governors' budgets and taxes.

That is doubly unfortunate in his having been secretary of administration and finance for two Republican governors in a row. Not only does he know better about the deficits, surpluses and expenditures, he carries a lot of baggage here. For example, he was the leading adviser on the Big Dig finances; he likes to pretend now that no one listened to him. That won't fly. Likewise, bragging about Governors Weld and Cellucci balancing budgets by cutting taxes, he exposes himself as proponent of hidden taxes in terms of outrageous, unwise inflation for deferred infrastructure maintenance and building. We are still paying our way out of the Big Dig and tax-cut scams.

Then in his last job as head of Harvard Pilgrim, Baker led a turnaround...but at enormous cost to citizens. His health-care giant fired employees left and right and jacked up premiums non-stop for a decade. He should be on the voters' wanted poster for health-care profiteers. As CEO, he set the pace for unaffordable health care.

We have a lot of debates, a lot of campaigning, a lot of advertising and a lot of spin to come. Maybe it'll be like Tinkerbell and if enough people keep believing, Baker will fly. I predict not.

So back to the question, if our local elephants have vested all in Baker, how low will they fall if he fails, how hard their landing? Well, I wouldn't want to see it or hear the whining.

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