To Shape His Message This Time, Baker Took the Talent from the Opposing Bench

Friday, February 7, 2014

You keep hearing from Republicans that Charlie Baker doesn’t need to be “packaged” in his campaign for governor this year.  “He just needs to be himself,” they say.

“It’s just a question of letting Charlie be Charlie,” opined Richard Tisei, who ran for lieutenant governor in 2010 on the ticket with Baker.

I would never put my judgment on a political matter above Richard’s.

So I add my voice to those who would say:

Get out of the way, you well-intentioned Republicans who somehow prevented or discouraged Charlie from being Charlie on the campaign trail four years ago.

Get out of the way and make room for the big guy’s new messaging guru, Will Keyser, President of Keyser Public Strategies, 18 Tremont St., Boston. 

This Keyser knows his stuff.  Otherwise, Marty Meehan and Ted Kennedy never would have hired him. 

And Mike Sheehan never would have made him a senior vice president at the renowned advertising agency of Hill Holiday.

You Grand Old Partiers want to win, right?  So listen to what this young (44) Democratic gunslinger has to say.

That Will Keyser made his bones working for the late liberal lion of the U.S. Senate and the tribune of the Lowell working class should not trouble you at all.

Who better to save your butts in a lopsidedly Democratic state than a former (and potentially future) Democratic mastermind?

Keyser graduated from George Washington University in 1991, served as Meehan’s chief of staff for a good part of the Nineties, then went to work as communications director for Senator Kennedy.  Hill Holiday snatched him from the political world in 2002. 

Keyser rose quickly in the agency and could have stayed there beyond the six-year run he had. Sheehan, Hill Holiday’s former chairman and the newly anointed president of John Henry’s Boston Globe, loves the guy.  On Keyser’s web site, there’s a blurb from him saying he trusts Keyser “implicitly.”

That should make Baker’s mandatory pilgrimages to Morrissey Boulevard a little easier.

Keyser went into business for himself in 2008 and has enjoyed a level of success that would make anyone in a creative field who ever dreamed of commanding his world from the comfort of a home office jealous.

Keyser’s a good fit in Baker’s inner circle -- a super-smart and tough-minded manager, like the man he answers to, and a non-doctrinaire moderate who knows how to craft a message that appeals to the largest possible audience.

There are roughly 700,000 more Independent voters in Massachusetts than Democrats.  And Democrats outnumber Republicans three to one.  One can see where Keyser’s ad agency experience will be of greater use to him in capturing Independent votes than his work with Democratic pooh-bahs.  But, any way you look at Keyser's resume, Charlie Baker benefits.

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