Most pundits agree that Charlie Baker’s “Extreme Makeover” campaign is working for him, so far. Though he’s made some missteps, he’s quickly put out the brushfires that do flare up. He also appears to have subdued the conservative wing of his Republican party in Massachusetts, in part by picking Karyn Polito as his running mate. Polito is a telegenic Tea Party darling the Baker campaign hopes will win over female voters who might be attracted to the candidacy of Martha Coakley.
The Baker camp is too slick to have missed the fact that Politio was once a lead sponsor of “Right to Know” legislation, as reported by the Springfield Republican last night. According to a State House News Service story at the time, the bill that Polito proposed would require doctors to – among other things – offer to show women ultrasound images of their fetus before terminating a pregnancy.
Politio pushed the bill late in her first term in the House and touted its wisdom before a large State House crowd in October of 2003. Perhaps this was before she had statewide ambitions that could be inhibited by vocal opposition to a woman’s right to choose, free of intimidation.
The first thing any running mate vetting process requires is a list of bills sponsored by the candidate. The Baker camp had to have known about Polito and “Right to Know.” But Baker’s campaign this year is built on trying to quietly have it both ways.
This time around, it’s not just that he backs away from past positions when forced to. All too often, he avoids taking any positions at all. It was nine days before Baker made any statement about the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, saying it “doesn’t matter.” A day later, he was backing away from his comments.
During his 2010 campaign, Charlie Baker advocated for rolling back minimum medical coverage benefits, of which contraceptive coverage is one, required under Massachusetts health insurance plans. In 2003, Karyn Polito sponsored a bill that would try to force doctors to intimidate women seeking abortions.
As they attempt to portray themselves as moderates, they‘d like us all to ignore their past conservative stances on fundamental issues.
Steve Crawford is the spokesman for Baker Facts, a project of the Massachusetts Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee that was created to provide reliable fact-checking throughout this year’s gubernatorial campaign. For additional information on Republican Charlie Baker’s record, please visit BakerFacts.com. All material is fully researched, with source material provided.