By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Charlie Baker’s missed opportunity

Walt Whitman in 1863. Photo via the Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images.

I thought Gov. Charlie Baker missed an important opportunity at the end of his State of the Commonwealth speech Tuesday night. Instead of calling out those among his fellow Republicans who’ve decided to support Donald Trump’s deadly insurrection, or announcing that he’s leaving the Republican Party to become an independent or to start something new, he — what?

Besides putting COVID in the rear-view mirror once and for all, my biggest wish for 2021 is for all of us to take Walt Whitman’s charge to heart. Be curious — not judgmental.

This was preceded by “Before I close, I want to offer some thought on the mood of the nation and the events of the past year.” And then he went into a long spiel about “Saturday Night Live,” social media and Walt Whitman. To put it mildly, he failed to deliver on the expectations he had raised. And it’s OK to be judgmental about a failed coup attempt.

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  1. Paul Sweeney

    It’s also OK to be judgmental about a failed (almost non-existent?) COVID pandemic response!

  2. Marcus J Breen

    It confirms a truth about politics in Massachusetts: the public like limp, weak, conservative, Republican, fiscally constrained leadership. Why does this happen when there is so much energy about major progressive change locally and in the State House?

  3. Deborah Nam-Krane

    Wonder if that will be enough to make people fall out of love with him? Before Trump, I thought Baker was a great example of someone people *want* to like, even if they don’t have great reasons to. But maybe I’m just prejudiced by all of the pleas I get from child anti-poverty advocates who frequently ask for help preventing him from cutting essential programs.

  4. Why would we expect him to be better than this.? It gets my standard reply when RINOs act. If you identify as a Republican then sometimes you will behave like a Republican. His abortion limiting attempt in late December is unforgiveable.(and his media references Ted Lasso and Walt Whitman are no so diverse.)

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