^ brothers forever, solid love : as it should be :Charlie Baker and Alex Baker
—- —- —-
Charlie Baker, Republican nominee for Governor, yesterday released a vidclip of him meeting with his brother Alex at Alex’s South Boston home. Much comment has been generated, starting with a thread of my facebook page wall, a thread that quickly went viral.
Why all the fuss ? it’s because Alex Baker is gay, and married to his husband, and Charlie Baker has now made this side of his family’s life a flash point in the campaign. As he said in the quote that made this column’s header, the vid gives voters a sense of who Baker is.
Why did he do it ? Or perhaps I should ask, why did he feel he had to do it ? Why did a veteran of the Weld/Cellucci governorships — in which gay citizens were brought fully and openly into into public life – feel the need to prove his civil rights bona fides ? After all, support for one’s gay family member should no longer be any issue at all. In Massachusetts, full civil rights for gay people is a settled matter. Even for transgendered people, full civil rights is settled, at least among ordinary people. But when one is a Massachusetts Republican, these are issues indeed. The national GOP’s blatant bigotry against so many sorts of people who don’t fit its fanciful picture leaves serious politicians like baker almost no choice. Even here in progressive Massachusetts this had to be done, because, as almost everybody now knows, the Massachusetts Republican state Committee infamously revised its party platform to express solidarity with “traditional marriage.”
This, in the state that was first to recognise marriage equality.
The move by the Republican state committee was especially shameful because the republican state committees of other states — far less progressive than we -=- are moving to drop opposition to marriage equality from their platforms.
Immediately after the state committee platform vote, there was outcry and push back. The state party’s own chairperson, Kirsten Hughes, rejected the platform. This was good; but as Baker’s vidclip shows, it wasn’t enough. Massachusetts voters have made it very clear that the national GOP’s toxic views are extremely unwelcome, and Baker felt — correctly — that he needs to make the clearest possible break between him and it. and with the Massachusetts GOP state committee if he hopes to be seen by Massachusetts voters as free of all that toxin.
All of that said, I disagree with Charlie Baker that a campaign is an opportunity to show voters who you are. It’s only an issue when voters fear that who you are might be something quite unlikable.
A campaign — the Charlie Baker campaign too — should be about what your policy plans are and how you intend to implement them, how you’ll work with the legislature, all that stuff. The five Democrats running all have their plans and all of them talk about their plaws and priorities at every Forum and in almost every event. They are serious candidates and they take the job seriously.
Which means that I also disagree with Charlie Baker’s first premise too. Running for office IS a “job interview.” it is that, and it is set up to be that. And Baker has his plans and priorities and has spoken about them at length and continues to. It’s only because the national GOP, and its local state committee division, have imposed a disgraceful burden on his back that he has needed to take this vidclip trip into giving voters “a sense of who (he is).”
—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere