Baker’s fade speeds up

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It’s fascinating to watch a politician go from Teflon to Velcro before your very eyes.

Just ask Gov. Charlie Baker – Tall Deval. Maybe he’s still at the top of those polls that measure the popularity of all 50 governors nationwide, but that’s not the vibe I get around here.

Certainly not among riders of the Red Line, or the Green Line, or commuter rail. Or among customers of the Registry of Motor Vehicles, or members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, or home sellers facing the prospect of a doubled deeds tax, or people wondering about the disposition of his son’s alleged groping case, or pro-life activists worrying about the latest abortion legislation at the State House….

I could go on, but you can see his base ebbing away. As the J. Geils Band once put it, “It’s hard to see love coming, but you sure can see it go.” In “A Sun Also Rises,” one of Ernest Hemingway’s characters was asked how he went bankrupt.

“Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

Tall Deval’s administration appears to be moving from step one to step two.

The Baker administration did its customary weekly dump of bad news late Friday afternoon – the Registry has now upped the number of drivers’ licenses it neglected to suspend for years to above 1600. And, by the way, the RMV also been neglecting to inform other states of driving suspensions.

Hmm, how long do you suppose it’s going to be before some media outlet FOIA’s the emails of all the RMV hacks in Quincy who were in charge of the 70-plus mail bins where they were dumping the notices from the other states? Do you suppose some… higher-ups were informed of the problem before the seven fatalities last month?

I mean, other than Erin Devaney, the now-fired registrar.

These are the sorts of problems that derail so many second terms. Even the most routine of hack chores abruptly become insurmountable problems. For instance, you might want to reward a loyal political ally with a lifetime sinecure, but then that person’s spouse gets bagged for OUI – second offense!

But it gets worse – and understand, this is just a hypothetical – because the court where the spouse’s OUI case is supposed to heard is where the same place you were planning on interring your liegeman. Plus, there’s already been an embarrassing drunk-driving scandal out there in that same hackerama that dragged on for months, and so the case of the hack’s spouse has to shipped west, as opposed to the first one, which had to be moved east….

As the second term drags on, you begin to fall out even with your old friends, like, say, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. It wasn’t so much that you passed over his buddy Brian Golden to run Massport, it was that you made Golden a “finalist,” when you knew the job was going to your fellow RINO, a coat holder plucked from one of Mitt Romney’s old binders full of women.

Golden’s a political ally of Marty’s, they served together in the legislature, he comes from a big family in Allston/Brighton, he’s got a bunch of kids – and you embarrassed him, and more importantly, Marty.

Politically, Tall Deval seems to have gone tone deaf.

The decline started almost imperceptibly, when he lost control of the Republican State Committee. All those hundreds of thousands – or was it millions? – he spent to win a bunch of obscure races during the 2016 primary, and once they had a chance to vote for a new chairman on a secret ballot, they nixed Charlie’s guy and voted for a pro-life Trump loyalist.

That was the first canary in the coal mine, Tall Deval.

Would it have hurt you to be a little less publicly “disappointed” in the new president every time he did something the Globe and Maura Healey were tut-tutting about? Why did you feel the need to add your voice to the amen chorus?

Tall Deval, how many of the people who put your signs in their front yards in 2010 and 2014 do you suppose you’ve disappointed with all your public disappointment of the president?

Then there was the 2018 GOP primary, another early-warning signal. A storefront preacher made the ballot at the Republican convention – this time you really had to let the delegates’ votes be counted. Your underfunded Republican opponent then got the same percentage of votes against you in the primary – 32 percent – as the Democrat got in the general election.

Shouldn’t you be a bit more popular among your own party members than you are among the larger electorate? Just asking….

Look on the bright side, though, Tall Deval. The tide’s been running against you lately, but no one’s yet described you with those two most cruel words in politics:

Lame duck.

(Check out Howie’s new 20-minute podcast on the 50th anniversary of Chappaquiddick at howiecarrshow.com)

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