Here’s One Example Of Why Charlie Baker Could Win

The gubernatorial candidate's response to Deval Patrick's big speech wasn't typical Massachusetts Republican.

The Massachusetts Republican Party’s official response to Deval Patrick’s State of the Commonwealth address was absolutely typical of what Republicans always do around here: act snarly, nasty, negative, and bitter while being completely out of touch with the mood of most of the state’s voters. Voters who, in this case, are known to have positive opinions of Patrick and almost certainly liked his speech, as they always do.

Four years ago, Charlie Baker got sucked into that type of mistake all too often. Not so this time around—at least so far.

Below is Baker’s response to Patrick’s speech. It is agreeable. It joins in the commonly shared policy goals. It suggests respectfully that he can do a better job achieving those goals.

The potential flip-side to this approach, as conservatives might put it, is that if you give voters a choice of two Democrats, they’ll pick the actual Democrat every time. But I would argue that in Massachusetts, for this particular office, many voters want someone with generally similar policy goals, but someone who can stand outside the Democratic party and serve as a check to it.

In any event, here’s that statement from Baker:

“I agree with Governor Patrick that Massachusetts is a remarkable state with limitless potential, but also a place where far too many are struggling and others are falling behind.

But I believe we can grow our economy, improve our education system, and strengthen our communities without raising taxes again and depleting the Rainy Day fund. We did it during the Weld-Cellucci Administration, and it can be done again.

I also believe we should make work pay for struggling families by raising the minimum wage while also enacting pro-growth reforms like unemployment insurance reforms, and by expanding the earned income tax credit for Massachusetts workers.

Lastly, I think we need real focus on fixing our healthcare problems.  Too many Massachusetts families are stuck in healthcare limbo – having been dropped from their health plan and unable to sign up because of a bungled transition to an inadequate federal law.  We had a great state system that was working, and we should fight to preserve and protect it.”