Saturday, July 11, 2009

Republican policy wonk

No, not Newt Gingrich. Newt's strength is marketing the same old right-wing nostrums as if they might be something new. He's not going to move off of tax cuts as the be-all and end-all of the conservative movement. He's just going to dress that particular limp dick in edible underwear.

Charlie Baker (R-Swampscott) is the policy wonk of the hour, and he's going to get a lot less anonymous now that he has announced for governor of Massachusetts. There are a lot of idiots in the Republican Party (and in politics in general). He's not one of them.

I haven't talked to Charlie in a full thirty years - and if memory serves, we were probably talking about intramural volleyball. I didn't agree with his politics then and I don't now, but it's not stupid.

So, who loses from Baker jumping into the governor's race? Not Deval Patrick. He was already in trouble, and this doesn't make it worse.

The big loser is Tim Cahill. His political career is over. He split from the Democratic Party, aiming for a coalition of conservative Dems, independents, and centrist Republicans that are Baker's natural constituency. Cahill's best option now is to offer Baker his statewide network in exchange for ... what? I don't know. In any case, Cahill's network of conservative Democrats (by Massachusetts standards) might go independent, but GOP is an ideological bridge too far.

Christy Mihos loses, too. He still has money, so he can still run, but the GOP apparatus, such as it is, will rally behind Baker, since his pedigree is unassailable. If Mihos really has a jones to run again, he may be back in the independent column.

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