Bumped, for glory. - promoted by david
In a thoroughly unsurprising move, the Globe endorsed a Republican – Charlie Baker – for Governor. Lots of people saw this coming a mile away. I was one of them. At the end of August, I wrote this, on the occasion of the Globe endorsing Steve Grossman in the primary:
Endorsing a guy who probably won’t win the primary, and in the process setting out all the reasons why Coakley isn’t a good candidate, sets them up perfectly to endorse Baker in the general. I’d say the odds are better than even that they’ll do just that, if Coakley wins the primary.
Two days later, on Sept. 2, I was more emphatic:
My prediction is that if Coakley wins the primary, the Globe endorses Charlie Baker.
And so it came to pass. And, really, the Globe has always liked Baker. In 2010, despite his disqualifyingly godawful campaign, the Globe said this in the course of endorsing Deval Patrick for reelection:
Baker is a very intelligent administrator who would be a forceful and capable governor…. [H]is managerial skills are stellar. Over 15 months on the campaign trail, he’s sought to speak for private-sector workers who’ve suffered from pay cuts and benefit changes and want their state government to share their pain. In important ways, it already has. But Baker, a former state administration and finance secretary and Harvard-Pilgrim CEO, is justified in criticizing Patrick’s reluctance to force municipal retirees to join Medicare or to give cities and towns the power to design less-expensive health plans without union approval. Whatever the state’s economic climate, voters deserve the most efficient government possible, and Patrick must continue to fight for reform even after tax revenues bounce back.
That’s pretty much the line in today’s endorsement: Baker’s an awesome manager, and we need a manager more than anything else.
Effective activist government isn’t built on good intentions. To provide consistently good results, especially for the state’s most vulnerable and troubled residents, agencies need to focus on outcomes, learn from their errors, and preserve and replicate approaches that succeed. Baker, a former health care executive, has made a career of doing just that. During this campaign, he has focused principally on making state government work better. The emphasis is warranted.
One interesting point in all of this is that today’s endorsement makes almost no mention of what the Globe said back in August was most needed from Baker (in the course of endorsing him in the GOP primary over joke candidate Mark Fisher): a vision for governing that goes beyond management expertise.
Charlie Baker has shown himself to have the skills Massachusetts voters often look for in a Republican gubernatorial nominee: He’s a creative manager, committed to rooting out waste and finding new ways to solve problems…. Baker offers nothing like a competing vision [to Deval Patrick's], only a nuts-and-bolts fix to the bureaucratic machine. But after all the cracks are mended, and the leaks plugged, which way does the ship sail? Mapping out a larger agenda for the state’s success will be a key challenge for Baker, if and when he secures the GOP nomination.
Did Baker rise to the “key challenge” of “mapping out a larger agenda”? You wouldn’t think so to read today’s endorsement, which other than the obligatory nod to Baker’s “full-throated support” for charter schools, is startlingly devoid of policy discussion. Instead, the Globe contents itself by saying that “one needn’t agree with every last one of Baker’s views,” whatever they are, to vote for him, and concludes with this:
At a difficult inflection point in state government, Massachusetts needs a governor who’s focused on steady management and demonstrable results.
In other words, we were kidding when we said back in August that Baker needed to show a vision, or even to talk much about what he actually wants to do other than improve efficiency. We really just want a manager.
Anyway, this is all very interesting, but almost certainly irrelevant to the outcome next Tuesday. As we’ve discussed several times in recent elections, newspaper endorsements have a pretty poor track record recently – just ask Senator Dan Winslow, Governor nominee Steve Grossman, Lt. Gov. nominee Leland Cheung, Treasurer nominee Tom Conroy, Mayor of Boston John Connolly, and any number of other endorsees who have failed to convert a Globe editorial board endorsement into actual votes.
No, what wins is getting your supporters to the polls on election day. You know how to help do that.