Charlie Baker’s campaign manager, Tim O’Brien, was on the Callie Crossley show on WGBH radio this afternoon. He got to say whatever he wanted pretty much without challenge or contradiction, so it was an interesting snapshot of the Baker campaign strategy. And that strategy seems quite straightforward: say stuff that is basically untrue, specifically with respect to the economy, and hope that people start to believe it. Fascinating.
Here are three talking points that O’Brien rattled off during the show (I will link to the audio when it is available; for now, I am paraphrasing):
Massachusetts is losing jobs
Wrong! MA is actually gaining jobs. Since the beginning of this year, MA has added roughly 45,000 jobs, the vast majority in the private sector. MA’s unemployment rate has dropped steadily over the same period, and remains below the national rate.
Massachusetts rated 40th in the cost of doing business
Technically true, but wildly misleading. O’Brien is presumably referring to the CNBC rankings that came out last week, in which MA does indeed rate approximately 40th (39th, to be precise) in the “cost of doing business.” With respect to Massachusetts, that metric appears to have been based primarily on high rents, high utility costs, and high wages. There’s no indication from CNBC’s reporting that it was based on high taxes – which makes sense, given that MA’s tax burden is relatively low.
Of course, what O’Brien didn’t mention is that MA was ranked 5th in the nation in the overall purpose of the CNBC ratings, namely, to determine which states are the “top states for business.” Funny that he wouldn’t bother to add that little tidbit of context.
People are leaving Massachusetts
Wrong! Actually, for the first time in two decades (a time period that notably include many years of Republican governors), more people are coming into MA than are leaving.
You know what would be awesome? If, when folks like Tim O’Brien say these things in public, they get called out. It’s fine to shill for your candidate, but you shouldn’t get to say stuff that’s not true while doing it.