You were supposed to be the white knight who would lead us through the remnants of the recession, the well-spoken turnaround specialist who understood not only the essence of the state budget, but the nuance of the human condition.
You were supposed to be the forward-thinking candidate who would make a weary electorate upbeat about the possibilities of the future. You were going to elevate the dialogue and be, as you alluded to early on, the adult in the race.
Here’s what’s happened instead: You’re the most negative presence in a stunningly nasty gubernatorial campaign. You’ve tried to take a bottle of Wite-Out to your résumé and your life. You’re emerging not as a serious candidate with serious ideas, but as another politician who will say anything for a vote.
McGrory dispenses some solid advice:
anyone giving you political advice right now – get rid of them.
McGrory goes on to recite the impressive litany of Baker’s recent bouts of truthiness, forgetfulness, and other candidacy-related diseases — which, I am constrained to point out, we have dutifully chronicled here on BMG. He sums up their net effect thusly:
Many months into your long-awaited race, there’s precious little that’s authentic about you or your campaign…. All over town, the sounds of silence you’re hearing are the sounds of disappointment. All those prominent people cheering you in December and January are scratching their heads about you in May.
His bottom line: try being yourself.
Voters like politicians to be true to themselves, and you don’t seem to be comfortable with what you’ve done – surprising, because you’ve done a lot…. Be more honest about yourself and your opponents. Be the candidate so many people thought they were getting before you seemed desperate for the job.
I cannot resist noting that I gave Baker the same advice a few weeks back when he proclaimed that his $1.7 million take-home pay was a “middle class” salary:
This is exactly why Charlie Baker is such a surprisingly lousy candidate. He is desperately trying to pretend to be something he isn’t: a regular, middle-class guy. He should run as what he is: a wealthy, Harvard-educated, elite insider who knows a lot about state government and the health care industry (having spent years working for both) and (the story goes) has the tools to fix it.
The electorate is not stupid, despite what wannabe politicians like Baker apparently think. Voters rapidly sniff out phonies and punish them, as Mitt Romney learned in 2008. The more Baker pretends to be just like the regular folks he wants to represent, the further he’s going to fall in the polls.