Romney’s Out

You surprised? Hah.

Update: OK, so what does this mean? Does this change anything, since this was (will be) just confirmation of what we all expected?

Well, maybe. Apparently Romney wanted to hover over the health care proceedings as long as possible. That’s why he stuck it out into mid-December. But whatever clout he imagined he had is gone now; he’ll be in a position to sign or veto something that someone else wrote. I find it extremely unlikely that, after painting himself into a corner with the personal mandate and lack of budget or policy detail, he’s going to get something that he really likes from the lege — or more importantly, something that Republican primary voters will find acceptable. Really, health care reform was his chance to make nice with a relatively liberal electorate, one not so much inclined to buy into free-market/corporate idolatry.

Other than that, who are the obvious winners?

Kerry Healey?: Well, I’m becoming more and more convinced that no amount of money can get her a governorship. If she were any more brittle she’d be peanutty.

Tom Reilly? Maybe: He’s got nine months to start acting like a governor, since all eyes are on him now. He can probably take a punch, but his tendency towards equivocating, bland stewardship instead of vision will get old real fast. Where would you take us, Tom? What do you want?

Deval Patrick? Also mixed news: He’s still standing, and now raking in bucks. Even yet still more help for his profile as the anti-Reilly; Romney and Galvin gone within three days makes it a good week for Patrick. The only thing he loses in Romney is a schlubby, out-of-touch conservative foil to his more liberal vision. Healey seems less inclined to offer that target to him.

Christy Mihos? Does he have traction and a constituency in the Republican party? Will make Healey sharpen up her game, in any event.

Charlie Baker? Is pissed.

Other implications, off the top of my head:

Wind farm: More likely. Reilly can change his mind, especially since a good part of his potential constituency seems more likely to favor it.

Gay Marriage: Now even more likely to stay, without the Governor’s bully pulpit against it. Watch for out-of-state $$$ to push for the complete ban, says Fred Clarkson.

Local aid/Property taxes: Watch for some movement on this in the legislature, but Romney will not be inclined to help out. Menino is trying to exploit the leadership vacuum on this issue.

Tax cuts: Less likely, even with Reilly supporting them. Again, he could change his mind.

Legislature: Could possibly turn more conservative after the recent liberal victories, if only because with Mitt on the sidelines, people won’t be reminded how lousy Republicans are for their quality of life. That will depend upon organization, including the Progressive Groups and the Mass. Dem Party.

What do you think?

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15 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Question

    Was he ever in?  By the way, can't wait to see the flip/flop adds groups like Focus on the Family, and the American Family Association run against Willard.  He'll be wishing he was back in the plush corner office.

  2. Don't forget -

    that convenience store magnate Christy Mihos is now almost certain to announce a challenge to Kerry Healey for the Republican nomination.  That ought to be good for some hilarity - he's an interesting guy but a total loose cannon who can be expected to say some truly jaw-dropping things over the next few months.

    Then there's the Republican Lt. Gov. race, which suddenly is reasonably important.  There's a note tucked into the bottom of the Globe AP piece noting rumors of a Healey - Sen. Scott Brown (R-Wrentham) alliance.  I don't know much about Brown - anybody?  Who are the other likely players in that race?

    One thing I think this does is force Reilly and Patrick to run against each other, rather than against an easy Republican target.  Romney is gone, and Healey is a non-entity to most people (and maybe in general).  Patrick, in particular, must get voters jazzed up about him in comparison to Reilly.  Is that a bad thing?  Hard to say at this stage. 

  3. Baker

    I don't think Charlie Baker has much reason to be pissed.  He knew as well as anyone else that Romney wasn't going to run.  He was intimidated - and rightly so - by Kerry Healey's bulging wallet, not by the incredibly unlikely prospect of Romney on the '06 ballot.

  4. The Race

    As if our state wasn't already a rudderless ship. It's sad that we've had a series of Republican governors who are in such a rush to their next job, they don't bother finishing the one they have. My bet is Romney hands the reins over to Healy by June.

    I guess this is good for Deval, in that the "viability" question becomes less of an issue probably. People will be more likely to pick the best candidate, rather than the one going up against a tough incumbent. But I barely even buy that. Romney wasn't such a great governor, so I have a hard time believing he'd make a good candidate again.

    It is time for Reilly to show something. Will he say anything on urban and gang violence? What about the pathetic murder conviction rate? What about our state being overwhelmed by guns? Who's in charge? Where's our AG? I'll tell you where he is. He's off running on a lower-tax pledge in the suburbs. He'll destroy Boston which is already devastated financially and is being forced to increase the regressive property tax just to survive. We don't have enough police, our schools are crumbling, and we have the worst homicide conviction rate in the NATION!!! But Reilly will cut our taxes. Whoopie.

    It's time for real leadership.

    I am definitely looking forward to this race. I only hope the media will give the Democratic race the kind of real attention it deserves, talking about real issues, and not this ridiculous continuing focus on money, Peter Arnall, and other things that really affect nobody but the "inside baseball" self-fulfilling conventional wisdom punditry.

  5. Memo to Sal and Trav; Re: Winning Governorship

    Romney outlined how you two can deliver the Governorship to the Democrats next year: Play ball with him (well to an extent).  Give him (and the citizens of the state) a quality health care insurance plan and, at the very least, be polite the rest of the year. 

    With that you take away the foundation of the Republican strategy to capture the corner office for the last 4 elections: running against the legislature.  But now we all heard tonight from Romney himself how wonderful you two are and how much he’s been able to accomplish working in partnership with the Legislature and your leadership.  Now let’s make the Republicans eat those words in the general election.  Without being able to run against the Legislature, the Republicans (Healy or Mihos) have got nothing.  Period. 

    So let’s play nice enough this year (like have folks check in with vacation schedules) and the Democrats can start addressing the problems created by Republican neglect.

    As for helping Romney run for President…forgetaboutit…even if you helped him cure cancer, he’ll never make it past the Republican primaries. 

    • forgetaboutit indeed

      I never, ever understood people who thought Trav or Sal would be concerned with keeping Mitt out of the White House. That's not just the cart before the horse, that's the whole freakin' caravan. Pure Vennochitude.

      Earth to pundits: WE DON'T CARE IF MITT RUNS FOR PRESIDENT. We'll burn that bridge when we come to it.

  6. the legislature

    You write, Could possibly turn more conservative after the recent liberal victories, if only because with Mitt on the sidelines, people won't be reminded how lousy Republicans are for their quality of life.

    The legislature's turn to the left has next to nothing to do with Romney, and isn't going to be affected.  It has a lot to do with progressives winning upset victories, or coming much closer to winning than anyone thought possible, or winning by impressive margins.  Carl Sciortino, Avi Green, Peter Vickery, Tim Schofield, Linda Dorcena Forry, Pat Jehlen...

    The political climate for the legislature has turned around by at least 150% (perhaps not quite 180) on so many things, because they know progressives can deliver the vote in primaries and special elections.  Whether it continues depends mainly on whether we can continue to deliver the vote.

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Sun 23 Nov 8:05 AM