Baker was a solid leader


Gov. Charlie Baker has mostly done a good job leading Massachusetts, and we’ll miss that leadership for a number of reasons. Along with a further erosion of a two-party system in the commonwealth, Gov. Baker’s departure opens up the prospect of Republicans rallying around grotesque Trump politics by giving a megaphone to Republican Geoffrey Diehl, a big blow for Massachusetts even if Democrats ultimately win.

Gov. Baker has been a steady leader for the commonwealth, and provided strong pushback to President Donald Trump, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. His decisions during the early stages of the pandemic likely saved lives. We know there are some serious issues with how his administration handled the Holyoke Soldiers Home, where neglect by the home’s leadership led to an outbreak of infections and 76 deaths there, and that is certainly a stain on what was overall a strong response to the coronavirus threat.

Gov. Baker demonstrated leadership in other areas. He’s made the opioid epidemic a priority, and embraced the development of offshore wind.

We certainly should be concerned with how much glee the Massachusetts GOP is taking in the decision by Baker not to run, and by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito not to step in and seek the nomination. Instead, the Republicans will have Trump-endorsed Diehl seeking the GOP nomination. Here’s what the Republicans said when Baker announced his decision last week:

“We’re turning a new page here in Massachusetts,” Republican Party chair Jim Lyons said. “Our party remains committed to the America First agenda advocated by President Donald J. Trump, and it’s clear to me that Charlie Baker was shaken by President Trump’s endorsement of another Republican candidate, Geoff Diehl. Our party remains committed to the strong conservative values of freedom, individual liberty, and personal responsibility. We look forward to working with President Trump as we continue to rebuild the Massachusetts Republican Party.”

Seriously? This is where the Massachusetts GOP wants to go? They want to follow a person who incited an insurrection at the Capitol? They want to support the most divisive politics of our time? Disgusting.

We always appreciated the evenhandedness of Gov. Baker at the helm. He provided the necessary checks and balances to the Democratic-dominated House and Senate on Beacon Hill, without being obstructionist just for the sake of standing in the way of a political opponent.

On his most recent trip to this part of the state, Gov. Baker was on the Cape to celebrate the groundbreaking of Vineyard Wind 1. Surrounded by Democratic leaders from the Cape and Islands, he talked about the importance of working together toward these net-zero goals and the need to pick up the pace.

Does anyone seriously believe that Diehl would support moving forward with offshore wind energy? 

Baker’s departure sets a clear path for the commonwealth to have its first Democratic governor since Deval Patrick left office. That’s not necessarily a good thing. Single-party rule is not always a good thing, though we wouldn’t mind a little more dominance for Democrats in Washington at the moment, to get things moving in the U.S. Senate, where the 50-50 deadlock combined with the filibuster is making it difficult for President Biden to set a strong path forward for the U.S.

Voters would do well to listen carefully to the candidates for Massachusetts governor, and select someone who has demonstrated a willingness to stand up to their own party. Government works best when there are checks and balances, and a willingness to compromise on issues for the greater good.

During his eight years in office, Gov. Baker often demonstrated that willingness to work across the aisle. His relationship with former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is a throwback to days when Democrats and Republicans could not only be respectful of each other, but also work with each other without the nitpicking that dominates partisan politics these days.

Baker’s leadership style wasn’t particularly flashy, but he got things done, and did it in a way that made him hugely popular among a wide array of Massachusetts voters. It’s possible that Baker is more popular with Democrats and Independent voters than he was with his own party, which has veered too much toward the politics of Donald Trump. That got Baker labeled a RINO — Republican in name only.

If there’s a negative we can see for Baker, it is that he didn’t have a succession plan, and didn’t do enough to build up the Republican Party with moderates like himself and Polito. We’d all be better off if Baker and Polito had hung in. So this is a wake-up call for Democrats: Remember Scott Brown.


  1. The Republican party has devolved into a deluded band of anti-intellectual, anti-science, anti-democracy thugs. They call themselves “patriots” while spouting authoritarian views that are antithetical to our Constitution. They worship a twice-impeached, disgraced, serial lying and cheating con-man loser. They have no interest in serving the people of our Commonwealth. They “look forward to working with President Trump”? Seriously? A year after trump’s epic loss, they’re still kissing his ring and spouting the Big Lie. Pathetic and shameful.

  2. Carla, you are wrong.
    Baker is a Republican.
    Baker did not vote for Trump, either time.
    Lots of Republicans are not kissing the ring.
    Encourage good Republicans to run for office.
    They will draw off some of the Trump supporters.
    We do not want a one party country like Russia and China.
    Never forget that Eisenhower was a Republican.
    As was his Vice-President.
    Politics makes for strange bedfellows.

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