The art of the Diehl
Gov. Charlie Baker and his amen chorus in the media may say otherwise today, but the reality is he’s got to be very “disappointed” yet again in what Donald J. Trump did last night.
This disappointment isn’t about the general election next November, it’s about the state Republican primary, which is now less than a year away. And the man Dementia Joe Biden calls “Charlie Parker” already had to be weighing his dimming prospects with that 9% or so of the state electorate who are registered Republicans.
The Republican wing of the Republican party still really loves Trump, and just as fervently, they really, really dislike Parker.
As Trump so aptly said in his release Tuesday night, Baker has been “bad on crime, disrespects our police, does nothing for our Veterans, has totally botched the Vaccination rollout, presided over the collapse of the MBTA … ”
POTUS has obviously been talking to the troops in Massachusetts. In his posting, he even indirectly brought up Parker’s pipe dream of raising state gas taxes from 24 to 62 cents a gallon, saying his energy policies were “fresh out of the AOC playbook.”
Baker’s coat holders today will say that Geoff Diehl hasn’t got a prayer in the general election, while Parker would be hard to beat. Maybe.
But again, before he gets to the final ballot, Baker would first have to win back the deplorables, whom he has both betrayed and disrespected over the last 18 months as he has presided over … what Trump said.
The incumbent amped up his fundraising last month — taking in $173,000, to Diehl’s $11,500. But I’m still thinking Parker’s heart isn’t in it anymore. Do you think his wife Lauren liked the hipppies chained to the pink sailboat blocking the driveway to their mansion in Swampscott last week?
Late in the summer, I heard that in Baker’s own polls, he was running neck and neck with Diehl among GOP primary voters.
And Lt. Gov. Karyn “Pay to Play” Polito has reportedly been telling people that they are also concerned about the state convention next spring — they could obviously get 15% to get on the primary ballot, but it’s doubtful that they could actually win the convention.
And now, armed with Trump’s endorsement, Diehl will be able to raise enough money to stay at least somewhat competitive.
I repeat, this is not so much about the 2022 general election as it is about GOP payback for almost eight years of back-stabbing and high-handed, imperious mismanagement of just about everything by the Baker-Polito cabal.
There are only about 415,000 registered Republicans left in the state, but according to sources, national Republican pollsters have identified another 510,000 or so registered Democrats and independents who identify as “Trumpers.”
You know how many of those voters Charlie gets in a primary? Zero.
Parker’s strategy to survive would have to be to somehow convince the independents — the “unenrolled” — to take a GOP ballot on primary day.
But now the Democrats are going to be smelling blood in the water. Attorney General Maura Healey is going to have her own decision to make rather quickly now. She has appeared too cautious to ever take on Charlie one on one. But suddenly, it may be now or never.
For Maura, this could be one of those Shakespearean moments — “a tide in the affairs of men/ Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune….”
Or, if she doesn’t jump into the Democrat fight against a bunch of nonentities, she could end up the next Bob Quinn, Frank Bellotti, Lumpy Shannon, Scott Harshbarger, Tom Reilly, Marsha Coakley … .
Baker has his own decision to make. He can get down and fight it out with the Republican base he has so obviously grown to disdain, and vice versa. He has few foot soldiers left, only his own payroll patriots.
If it becomes clear that Baker could lose the primary, the elderly, low-info voters he’s been terrifying with his panic porn over the last 18 months will probably decide to take Democrat ballots. Even the feeble-minded want to be with a winner, too.
On the other hand, if Baker decides to throw in the towel, no matter how he tries to sugarcoat it, Trump will claim his scalp. After all these years of Baker sanctimoniously expressing how disappointed he was in the disappointing disappointments of the Trump administration, it’s finally payback time for POTUS.
And Trump knows how to turn the knife, as he showed Tuesday night with his scorching denunciation of Baker.
Suddenly, everything is a lot more interesting than it was yesterday. Parker will be answering questions in Salem this morning. It’ll be the witching hour.