A story this past week on the eve of Gov. Charlie Baker’s State of the State address in the Boston Globe stated that although Gov. Charlie Baker is the most popular governor in the country (he has an approval rating of close to 70 percent among Massachusetts residents), he remains “an enigma.”
The central theme of the story boiled down to this: What makes Charlie Baker do what he does — and why does he not have political ambitions beyond the governorship?
No doubt the writer of the article had in mind every Massachusetts governor of the past three decades: Michael Dukakis ran for president; Bill Weld ran for U.S. senator, was a candidate for ambassador to Mexico, and most recently was a candidate for vice-president on the Libertarian Party ticket; Paul Cellucci became ambassador to Canada; Mitt. Romney ran for president; and Deval Patrick is rumored to be a possible presidential candidate.
By contrast, Charlie Baker long ago said he has no designs on higher office beyond governor. To the political pundits, Baker’s lack of higher aspirations no doubt is confounding, as is his attention to the minutiae of state government.
We are not personal friends with Charlie Baker, so we have no special insight into his personality, but we think it is clear what it is that makes Charlie Baker who he is and do what he does: He loves his wife, his children, his parents, his native hometown (Needham), his adopted hometown (Swampscott, where he served as a selectman), his state, and America.
He clearly wants to do the right thing for all of them — so what’s so strange about that?
We would note that Charlie Baker’s devotion to his job is in stark contrast to so many of the politicians in Washington. Thankfully, he has recognized that politics is the art of compromise and it is thanks to Gov. Baker’s ability and desire to work with the Democrats at the State House, most notably House Speaker Bob DeLeo, that Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in education, financial stability, and in so many other areas that have improved the lives of our citizens.
Beacon Hill is indeed a shining beacon for the rest of our nation and Charlie Baker unquestionably has been instrumental in our state’s continued achievements and progress — and there is nothing enigmatic about that.