“Overall, it has been interesting to see who will take a stand against what is now clear evil at the top, and shocking to see who won’t.” – NY Times columnist Paul Krugman
There are now only two types of people in the country: Those who are willing to stand up to Trump’s autocratic rule, inhumane immigration policies – and Supreme Court nominees – and those who won’t.
While we are fortunate here in Massachusetts to have a slate of Democratic federal legislators – Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, and all our Congressmen and women – who oppose Trump at every turn, it’s disheartening to note that our supposedly “moderate Republican” Governor, Charles Duane Baker Jr., falls into the second category. In fact, his lack of outrage at Trump’s lying, bigotry, vulgarity, economic and international recklessness, and lack of regard for what truly made America great is separating him from Republicans who actually believe in American values.
Indeed, the anti-American actions of Trump, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, and House Speaker Ryan have driven a number of other prominent Republicans from their party. These include: “Morning Joe” Scarborough, one of Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America” boys; Steve Schmidt, a senior adviser to Sen. John McCain’s 2008 campaign and a former George W. Bush staffer; and even conservative columnist George Will, who is urging Republicans to “Vote against the GOP this November.”
Meanwhile, back in his Boston Bubble the best that Gov. Charles Duane Baker Jr. can do is occasionally write a letter – a letter, for Pete’s sake! – expressing how terribly “disappointed” he is with some of Trump’s most heinous actions.
To be fair, Baker has managed to mumble a few syllables on:
- The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, which said “closely held” for-profit corporations run on religious principles do not have to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act – Baker said it “didn’t matter.”
- Trump’s Muslim ban – Baker said he was “concerned.”
- Trump’s efforts to rescind LGBTQ rights. Baker was again “disappointed.”
No, Churchill he’s not, but if we look at his actions, and not just what he says – as Nixon’s AG John Mitchell advised us to do with Republican administrations – we get clearer picture of the real Charles Duane Baker Jr., and it isn’t pretty. A couple examples:
- In early June Baker issued orders to send a Mass. National Guard unit to support Trump’s effort to curb illegal border crossings. Then with his forefinger firmly planted in the wind, Baker rescinded the order when public outrage grew to the point it couldn’t be ignored.
- Earlier, the state Supreme Court struck down a Baker initiative that would have made Massachusetts police a cog in Trump’s deportation machinery.
In short, Baker makes nice when the camera is on, but when we’re distracted, he hires the head of the Massachusetts NRA and backs a state senate candidate running on Trump’s agenda. Of course, we’ve seen this movie before: Back in 2010, Baker’s hard-right Tea Party campaign put Gov. Deval Patrick’s face on welfare cards.
There is only one response to Baker’s con – his complicity in furthering Trump’s hateful agenda while smiling nicely for the cameras and suburban voters. We need to follow George Will’s advice and “Vote against the GOP this November” at every level of government – state and federal – and that includes voting against Charles Duane Baker Jr.
If we carry through at the federal level, and manage to “Flip the House,” Congressman Richie Neal will, in all likelihood, become Chair of the powerful Ways & Means Committee with direct responsibility, not only for repairing the damage Trump’s wealthy-friendly tax bill has done to Massachusetts, but also for protecting our Social Security and Medicare from pillaging by Trump and Congressional Republicans eager to pay for their egregious bill.
Congressman Jim McGovern will also, in all likelihood, become Chair of the House Rules Committee, the “traffic cop” for all House legislation, determining which bills (including Impeachment?) get to the floor for a vote and when that vote will occur.
The same goes for Elizabeth Warren. By re-electing her, we will be sending a champion of women’s rights and consumer rights back to the Senate, and who knows where she might go from there.
Overall, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of supporting our Democratic Home Team this fall – while simultaneous reaching out to help Democrats across the border in New York state defeat Republican Congressman John Faso, who voted to kill the Affordable Care Act and supports Trump 85% of the time. In fact, given the state of the nation, it’s become our moral obligation to do so.
At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 a woman asked Ben Franklin, “Well, have we got a republic or a monarchy?” “A republic,” replied Franklin, “if you can keep it.”
We should ask ourselves this very question every morning when we rise to face the day.