Charlie Baker and the Small Republican Tent

By: Brian Genest – July, 2018

Broken promises. Broken partnerships. Broken party. Charlie Baker is a broken politician and he’s fractured the MassGOP, too.

Remember when Charlie Baker used to be a Republican? It was way back in 2010, the first time he ran and lost the governor’s race. At the time, he was pro-life, pro-reform and pro-Republican.

In 2014, however, during his second run, the MassGOP (ahem) cleaned up the party platform, getting rid of references about supporting life and traditional marriage. Suddenly, Charlie Baker was pro-choice and celebrating diversity.
That year, the MassGOP Convention was a total embarrassment, exposing an organization riddled with either dimwitted chaos, deliberate corruption or both. As a result of trying to (ahem) clean up the balloting by breaking its own rules, the party paid $275,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by Charlie Baker’s opponent, conservative Mark Fisher.

Remember when Charlie Baker promised the MassGOP had a “big tent?” After winning the election, he led the charge to (ahem) clean up the state committee, trying to purge conservatives and replace them with a herd of RINOs. In the process, he ignited a battle with the grassroots activists who helped propel him to victory. It was Charlie Baker and the MassGOP who picked the fight, burned the bridges and caused the bad blood with conservatives, not the other way around.

Here in Dracut, Republicans beat back the challenge from Charlie Baker’s hand-picked candidate. Instead, GOP voters handily elected conservative Ruth Chou to represent our town on the state committee (along with Tewksbury, Andover and Lawrence). It was the beginning of the end with Charlie Baker for many conservatives in our state and our town, including me.

Fast forward to 2018. This year, Charlie Baker and his not-so-big-tent party (ahem) cleaned up the party rules again. This time, it was to ensure his opponent, Dr. Scott Lively, would not receive any party funds for his campaign. (What Dr. Scott Lively did get was 27% of the vote from convention delegates — nearly double the amount needed to force a primary election!)

Nothing scares Charlie Baker and the MassGOP more than a pro-life, pro-gun and pro-Trump conservative like Dr. Scott Lively. Charlie Baker never even mentioned the Second Amendment during his convention speech this year, in a state where Attorney General Maura Healey is doing everything she can to take away our right to possess a firearm. He didn’t mention President Trump, either, but he delivered his dud of an oration to a sea of delegates wearing red Make America Great Again hats.

Speaking of which, Charlie Baker is the ultimate Never Trumper. He didn’t vote for our party’s nominee for president in 2016 and he hasn’t stopped quivering and whining ever since, either. Everything from stopping would-be terrorists from entering our country to dismantling Obamacare offends Charlie Baker’s squishy sensibilities. So did a visit from the Vice President, which Charlie Baker ducked.

Since the MassGOP Convention, conservatives across the state, including members of the Dracut Republican Town Committee, have been under fire from GOP establishment RINOs. One angry, bald, rumpswab — from Peabody, of all places — accused our group of being racist and said we don’t belong in the GOP. But Charlie Baker belongs? (We aren’t the only RTC dealing with these false accusations. But Charlie Baker and the MassGOP have stayed silent, failing to condemn these baseless attacks on those of us who do the work for the party.) Our crime? We hosted Dr. Scott Lively at one of our monthly meetings, just like we do for any and all GOP candidates, as well as local candidates running for office in non-partisan races.

We’re not racists, bigots or anything else. We’re Republicans. We believe in increasing voter participation through candidate meetings and discussions of the issues. We believe the process is strongest and healthiest when there are multiple candidates running for a seat, especially Republican candidates. We believe in letting the candidates articulate their views and letting the voters make educated decisions. Unlike Charlie Baker and the MassGOP.

Meanwhile, Charlie Baker’s holding hands with House Speaker Robert DeLeo and the Democrat supermajority in the Massachusetts legislature so tightly that it has apparently cut off the blood flow to that huge-but-useless rock above his neck. His accomplishments are razor thin and super sad. A record-high $43 billion state budget. Huge pay raises for do-nothing-but-tax-and-spend legislators. A state police force with the types of scandals you’d expect in Tijuana. The “most popular governor in America” couldn’t even get his charter school expansion passed by voters at the ballot box here at home! (It was defeated by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.) And, now, he signs the “Grand Bargain” into law.

Of course, it was a great deal for the Beacon Hill power brokers and special interests. But it’s going to cost taxpayers a small fortune: $775 million in new taxes, to be exact. Employers and workers will be footing the bill via a new payroll tax. As a result, more small businesses and jobs will be heading up to NH. (Be sure to thank State Rep. Colleen Garry for voting to screw us, again; she’s busy patting herself on the back on social media for doing so!)
Speaking of job-killing legislation, this allegedly grand bargain will also raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. More economic stimulation — for the Granite State.

Last, but certainly not least, this back-room deal makes sure the voters won’t have a say at the ballot box on important financial issues this fall. The Boston Herald described the situation this way: “The ultimate goal? Making sure voters didn’t get the chance to weigh in on a raft of proposed ballot questions in November, including a question that would have lowered the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 5 percent.”

Remember Charlie Baker’s plan to cut the corporate, income and sales taxes to 5%? He’d probably like you to forget. But Republicans won’t, here in Dracut and across our state. Just like we didn’t forget to overwhelmingly vote for Donald Trump.

BTW, mention Donald Trump, and Republicans in Dracut smile from ear to ear. Mention Charlie Baker and watch their eyes roll. For those of us who aren’t RINOs, Charlie Baker and the MassGOP ain’t so grand. Somebody fold up the tent.

Brian Genest is a member of the Dracut Republican Town Committee. A marketing and communications expert with 20 years of success driving growth, maximizing ROI and boosting profits for consumer and high-tech brands; he has developed and executed strategic initiatives for a range of disruptive technologies, including robots, mobile commerce solutions and SaaS products. Earlier in his career, Genest worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for the Dracut Dispatch, Derry News and Billerica Minuteman.