My Top 10 Reasons Why Charlie Baker's Favorability Rating Is through the Roof

Friday, April 24, 2015

Earlier this week, Suffolk University’s Political Research Center released a poll showing that 74 percent of registered voters in blue-blue Massachusetts have a favorable view of Republican Governor Charlie Baker.

Better still for our rookie guv, 70% percent of respondents in the Suffolk poll approve of the way he’s doing his job, while only 6% disapprove.
Everywhere I went the last couple of days, folks were talking about Baker’s high “favorables.” They were all pontificating on why he became so popular so fast. 

Remember, this is a guy who won election barely six months ago by just over two percentage points.   
I hate it when people insist on giving me their opinions, as this cuts down on the time needed for what really matters: my opinions. I like to be in a position where I’m honoring the rule my father laid down when we were kids.  “When I want your opinion,” he would say, “I’ll tell you what it is.”
Well, sorry, Dad, for never shutting up. 

And, sorry, David Letterman, for using (misusing!) your formula to deliver my thoughts on this particular matter.

Herewith my top 10 reasons why Charlie Baker’s favorability rating is through the roof:

10. He did not go all Patton on us at the Framingham bunker this winter.
9.   He hasn't called anybody sweetheart in public since the campaign.

8.   He has not yet gone on an overseas "trade mission."

7.   He talks Charlie to legislators and makes them like it.
6.   His relatives and close friends have so far avoided embarrassing situations.

5.   He raised a quarter of a million dollars for charity by having a buzz cut.

4.   He exhibits a manly indifference to his appearance.  (See reason #5)
3.   His Eagle Scout-like fascination with solving problems is genuine.

2.   He did not blame or criticize predecessor for leaving him a $750-million budget deficit.
1.   He's crazy enough to want to own the disaster that is the MBTA.


Weld Poked for Comforting Dems...and Other Disparate, Attention-Grabbing Items

Friday, April 17, 2015

GROUP QUESTIONS EX-GOV’S GOP BONA FIDES: An organization that bills itself as “the Republican Wing of the Republican Party” is no fan of one of the most beloved Republicans in the history of Massachusetts, former Governor Bill Weld.  This past Monday, the Massachusetts Republican Assembly (MARA) issued a press release simultaneously congratulating Caroline Colarusso on her April 7 election to the Stoneham Board of Selectmen and blasting Weld for having endorsed Colarusso’s opponent, Michael Day, in the fall of 2014 when she and Day were battling for the House seat in the 31st Middlesex District (Stoneham-Winchester).  Day won that race and now sits in the House.  MARA President Mary Lou Daxland was quoted as saying, “Bill Weld kept her (Colarusso) out of the Statehouse, for now, but he couldn’t keep her out of City Hall.”  The release went on to say that “Mrs. Daxland’s comments concerning former Mass. Republican Gov. William Weld were made to underscore how voters are fighting back against a complacent MassGOP that has taken no action against Mr. Weld, who had once again stepped across party lines.  Last fall, Mr. Weld joined the Democrat opposition against Ms. Colarusso in her razor-close state representative race.  She was edged out by approximately 1% of the vote.  Mr. Weld has a history of supporting Democrats and ultra-liberal, big-spending tax raisers, including endorsing President Barack Hussein Obama.”  (Memo to MARA: Stoneham is a town, not a city; therefore, by your logic, Weld was unable to keep Colarusso out of town hall.)  If you wish to know more about MARA, visit its web site:

ONE OPENING CAUSES MULTIPLE MOVES: As we see, the Massachusetts Republican Assembly likes to credit Bill Weld for Mike Day being in the Massachusetts House, but, from another perspective, you can more easily credit U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey, the pride of Malden’s Edgeworth neighborhood, who, incidentally, got his start in politics back in the 1970s by winning a place in the Massachusetts House. When Markey ran for and won John Kerry’s Senate seat, State Senator Katherine Clark of Melrose ran for and won Markey’s seat in the U.S. House, whereupon State Representative Jason Lewis, D-Stoneham, ran for and won Clark’s seat, creating the opening for Day, who had previously run unsuccessfully for the Massachusetts Senate against Katherine Clark.

HE GOES WALKING, THEY ALL COME TALKING: Speaking of Ed Markey, our state’s junior senator was interviewed on the run by State House News Service reporter Mike Deehan when he was spotted in the corridors of the State House on Tuesday, March 31.  Asked the reason for being at the capitol, Markey said, “Just, you know, moving around, talking to people.”  That’s a pretty good definition of politics, or lobbying for that matter -- moving around, talking to people -- although neither is really that simple, or that easy.  Markey elaborated: “I’m meeting with legislators and talking about issues that might be of concern to them.  Just kind of listening and hearing what their concerns are, and their vision is, for the state and how the federal government can be helpful to them.”  While at the State House, he made separate visits to House Speaker Bob DeLeo and Senate President Stan Rosenberg.  It’s good to see that becoming a member of the Senate, 100 of the most special and most fawned upon persons in the world, hasn’t gone to Markey’s head. At 68, he’s still Ed from Edgeworth, moving around, all humble and helpful-like.  He’ll be unbeatable as long as he remains so.

BTW, CHUCK, ED’S TOTALLY WITH YOU: Notably, Ed Markey veered from local matters to the question of future U.S. Senate leadership during his impromptu conference with the State House News Service on March 31, and I wouldn’t say that was accidental.  As Deehan reported it: “Markey told the News Service he supports New York Sen. Chuck Schumer’s bid to become the next Democratic leader in the Senate after the retirement of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) next year.”  Markey effused, “I’m a big Chuck Schumer fan.  He and I were elected to the House years ago and we’re very good friends.  And he’s going to be a truly great majority leader of the Senate when he takes over in January, 2017.”  That’s a twofer.  Schumer, who holds undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard, gets a puff of wind in his mainsail from a loyal friend and the loyal friend gets to show the folks back home he’s tight with the man who could replace Mitch McConnell at the top of the Senate heap.  Schumer holds the Number 3 spot in Senate Democratic leadership as vice chair of the Democratic Conference, behind Minority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois. Interestingly, Schumer’s embroiled in a dispute with Durbin over a supposed commitment Schumer made to Durbin to keep him as whip when he takes over.  Politico reports that Schumer has angered Durbin by hinting he may favor Washington Senator Patty Murray as his putative second-in-command.  Markey no doubt is steering clear of that unpleasantness.
WORTHY FOOTSTEPS FOR FOLLOWING: Newly elected Lynn State Representative Brendan Crighton has a good head on his shoulders.  He aims to walk in the footsteps of his mentor, Lynn state senator Tom McGee.  Crighton, who served most recently as McGee’s chief of staff, told the Lynn Item, “I was with him (McGee) for nine years and he’s a person who has always done it for all the right reasons.  I’ve learned a lot from him, and I hope to model my career after him.”  Since Senator McGee learned at the elbow of his late father, legendary House Speaker Tom McGee, it can be said that young Crighton is treading in the footsteps of Speaker McGee.  The Speaker was renowned for his devotion to constituent services and for declaring any day a good day when he was able to help at least one person in need.

State GOP Can't Wait to Audit Auditor's Emails with Former First Deputy

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Given the number of public officials who have been hurt by something they wrote in an email, it only makes sense for Republicans to try to get their hands on any emails State Auditor Suzanne Bump, a Democrat, may have exchanged with a disgruntled former underling. 

With the casualness of everyday conversation and the permanence of a legal record, emails are almost always a disaster waiting to happen.
This past August, you may recall, Bump was sued by Laura Marlin, who had been her First Deputy Auditor and before that her campaign manager.

In early 2014 or thereabouts, the duo had some kind of falling out, which turned acrimonious, and Bump gave Marlin an ultimatum: resign or be fired.  Marlin resigned.  Shortly thereafter, she filed a wrongful termination lawsuit.
In the lawsuit, Marlin claimed, among other things, that Bump had pulled her punches during an audit of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) because many of the department’s employees are members of the Service Employees International Union and she hoped the union would endorse her re-election bid.  Bump denied it unequivocally.  “…I have never allowed any organization or individual to influence the conduct or independence of an audit,” she said.

On March 10 of this year, it was learned that Bump had settled the Marlin lawsuit out of court.  The State House News Service reported that Bump had agreed to a $115,000 payment to Marlin (one-third of which will go to her lawyers) and that the money would be taken from a state government account set up to cover such settlements.  The public is paying for this deal.
Asked if she was admitting any fault, Bump said, “No, absolutely not.”

The Republican Party promptly said it was “outrageous that Massachusetts taxpayers are being forced to foot the bill” for the settlement. Bump “needs to pay this settlement with her own funds,” it demanded.
With the Marlin lawsuit put to bed, there seems to be only one possible way now for the public to find out if there’s any substance to Marlin’s claim that Bump took it easy on the DCF to court favor with a politically powerful union: a public information request by the Massachusetts Republican Party to obtain copies of all messages via email between Bump and Marlin. The GOP filed the request last fall, shortly after Marlin sued. 

Even if Republicans find nothing that proves problematic, ethically or legally, for Bump, chances are they’ll find something that turns her face red and puts her in an uncomfortable media spotlight for a day or two.
Bump and Marlin were once very close.  Their alliance was sealed in the intensity of the political arena.  For a time, their futures were intertwined.  When relationships like that go bad, emotions tend to overflow and the principals tend to say things they later wish they hadn’t.