“I’m too busy with Really Important Stuff to ride the #mbta; but I am sending a high-level delegation of orange cones” — Gov. Baker, probably.
— Jackie Geilfuss (@OrangeJackius) July 17, 2019
When there’s a disaster, what do high-level elected officials do? They tour the area. They see the damage. They have a personal, in situ experience. They see what people who live there are experiencing. This is not exceptional; it’s normal.
And after all, the Red Line is half a block from the Governor’s office. Would it kill him to stroll down there and take a ride?
Baker has decried taking the T as just politics; it’s not the real work of reforming the agency and implementing a plan; so that in 5 years we’ll have a T that runs again. The lack of urgency has been noted far and wide. The timeframe for reform and rebuilding is unacceptably long. The investment is piddling. The Governor won’t deign to take the T. Yes, these things are related.
Just for kicks, let’s review a few very important, totally not-just-politics ceremonial duties for which Governor Baker has carved out time in his busy schedule:
- A parking garage opening in Newburyport! (This is rather on the nose, isn’t it?)
- The unveiling of new Red Line trains! (Note: Prototypes only. Not trains that are actually running on the tracks.)
- A new VocEd building at Nashoba Tech. Check out the enormous scissors!
- A new building at Pfizer. Taking credit for jobs!
- A youth treatment-detention-revocation center in Middleton.
In each of these things, the Governor is highlighting — and naturally, taking credit for — aspects of state policy. That is true with touring disaster sites as well: It says, “We’re on it; we’re with you; you’re not alone; we’re going to help.” That’s state policy. And you darn well know he’ll be there to cut ribbons on the new trains — if they ever get here.
Thank you for your interest in submitting an invitation to Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito. We ask that all invitations be submitted in writing via this website. An email will be sent to acknowledge that we have received your request. The Governor’s and Lt. Governor’s schedules are fluid and can change at any time. We appreciate your patience and understanding.
“… Schedules are fluid and can change at any time.” Surely any MBTA rider can relate.
We keep hearing that this is just about optics. But optics is kind of the whole game of politics. When Baker shows up, there’s visibility for whatever’s happening. And Baker’s pointed and stubborn refusal says that he’d rather not grant visibility to one of his more egregious failures.