Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Different Perspectives on Charlie Baker

Here's what a former member of the Board of Education, who served during Charlie Baker's BoE days, thinks about Charlie Baker:
This moment has been years in coming.

One of my biggest fears about a Charlie Baker candidacy is the fact that his resume boasts extensive experience in these social service fields that are deeply cared about. HPHC CEO, HHS Secretary, Board of Education member, these are all roles Baker can use to market himself as caring deeply about people to counteract a cold businessman image.

One of my biggest fears about a Baker governship is the scorn he has shown to the people that use these services and the issues that affect their lives. As a Board of Education member, Charlie would frequently arrive late if at all and remain disengaged from conversations, even though he served during a period when the Board was deciding how to implement key pieces of education reform. In health care, he has occasionally been a voice of reason on cost control and quality improvement issues. But, when it comes to access to care Baker is every bit what you'd expect an insurance CEO to be.

Baker is a talented business executive. He is intelligent and charasmatic. He is tall, and he loves playing basketball even more than you'd expect. On face, he has excellent moderate credentials. At heart, he belives government is a business and fundamentally fails to understand the daily struggles faced by ordinary people. Baker is dangerously ambitious, as we all know from the years and years of plotting leading to this announcement.

I for one will work like crazy to re-elect Deval. It will be a hell of a battle.
Here's what I think of Charlie Baker, from when he was a member of my town's Board of Selectman:

The truth of the matter is that Charlie Baker was not a very good Selectman. Our town was very low on his totem pole of importance. None of this is to say Charlie Baker is a bad person. After all, he had the decency to step down.

But he didn't come in and save us. He didn't solve all our problems. He had a rather ordinary and somewhat vacant term on the Board of Selectmen. After his term was up, he stopped even trying to solve those problems -- problems that have become much worse as the years have gone by.

In the grand scheme of things, the only good thing he did was help secure matching funds for our town at the very period Mitt Romney shut them down. We were the last town to get those funds for several years, but it wasn't because of the folksy hero Charlie Baker, arguing the merits on the phone and taking the fight to the state, as the Boston Globe tried to spin put it, it was because Charlie Baker knew the right people at the right time. He was on the Board of Education, after all, to say nothing about his connections from his A&F and CoS days.

Anyone sensing any common themes?

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