June 30, 2005
So, why did we elect him Governor... ?
Sco at .08 Acres points to this bullet-pointed litany of failure (have I mentioned how I love bullet points?) and accompanying report card in the Herald. It takes Mitt to the woodshed for his lack of accomplishment on a number of issues: a still-shrinking labor force, people leaving the state (especially from the city of Boston: 19,000 over the last four years, a 3.4% exodus).
But the fascinating thing was to read the supposedly conservative Herald criticizing Mitt on underfunding education, home health care, and affordable housing. Gosh, isn't that why you elect a conservative Republican: slash spending, cut taxes, and otherwise tough luck, you're on your own? You know, encourage the "ownership society"?
I think there's a dirty little secret about politics: People actually really like big government, especially entitlements. Don't get me wrong, we don't like paying taxes -- especially not for outrages like the Big Dig and Iraq. But Social Security is still showing considerable amperage as the third rail, and people still generally like Medicare and Medicaid. Newt Gingrich knew that it was going to be 40 more years in the desert for the Republicans if ClintonCare passed in '94. (Cf. "The System" by Broder and Johnson, pg. 11). In our conference call a few months back, Teddy Kennedy bemoaned that Congress used to take up issues that actually matter to people. Not coincidentally, that was when Democrats were in power.
But all politics is still local: When we get away from the bluster and chest-thumping individualism of Washington Republicans (that's for you, OW), it turns out that people really do want teachers in the schools, good care for Grandma and Grandpa, and potholes filled. That takes tough decision-making and some elbow-grease administrative talents -- a bit more than Mitt's management-consulting-style PowerPoint shows. (See our Guv's latest résumé-padding exercise here. Too funny.)
So, it goes back to Deval Patrick's line: What do you want government to do for you?
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