Why Charlie Baker has succeeded (so far)

Joshua Miller, of The Boston Globe, had a nice summary of the success (so far) of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker:

“His wonky, straightforward style stands in stark contrast to that of his party’s bombastic leader, President Trump.

“What’s more, Massachusetts’ economy is strong, and unemployment is low; there’s a sense among voters that the state is generally headed in the right direction, while the nation is on the wrong track; Baker has crafted a likable media persona; he’s presented himself as a fiscal check on the Democratic Legislature; and there’s been an apparent dearth of crises in state government.

“’He’s not an ideologue, and voters here, at least in their governor’s office, prefer managers and problem solvers,’ said political science professor Peter Ubertaccio, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Stonehill College. ‘He’s like the uncle who is always glad to see you and give you good advice, even if you’re not going to take it. He strikes folks as a decent guy and a good manager, and that just fits the moment.’”

Most GOP governors (which means now most governors) govern with far more practicality and cooler rhetoric than members of Congress. They have to, in order to get anything important done. Actually governing/administering, and coming up with the compromises and solutions to do so, is a hell of a lot tougher than bloviating on Capitol Hill, where people are rarely held responsible for much of anything, as long as they’re good on TV.

Federal legislators spendremarkably little time actually legislating, as opposed to raising money and giving speeches. In recent decades they ‘ve spent less and less time working according to their constitutional job description and much less time working across the aisle to craft bipartisan bills.