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?