Looking at the Globe’s previous Republican endorsements

Despite The Boston Globe’s reputation as a Democratic paper, its editorial pages have endorsed Republican candidates for governor more often than you might think. Still, today’s editorial endorsing Charlie Baker over Martha Coakley is notable because it is only the second time in recent history that the paper has gone with a Republican over a more liberal Democrat.

Let’s look at the history of Republicans the Globe has endorsed starting in 1970.

  • 1970: The Globe did not endorse in the race between Gov. Frank Sargent, a Republican, and his Democratic opponent, Boston Mayor Kevin White. Winner: Sargent.
  • 1974: Sargent got the nod over a former state representative named Michael Dukakis. Sargent may have been the state’s most liberal governor until Deval Patrick; Dukakis campaigned as that year’s no-new-taxes candidate. Winner: Dukakis, who turned around and imposed a huge tax increase to cover the deficit left behind by the free-spending Sargent.
  • 1978: Dukakis lost the Democratic primary to a conservative, Ed King, whom he had removed as head of Massport. The Globe endorsed Republican Frank Hatch, a moderate who was the minority leader in the Massachusetts House. Winner: King.
  • 1990: The Globe endorsed moderate Republican Bill Weld, a former U.S. attorney, over conservative Democrat John Silber, the president of Boston University. Winner: Weld.
  • 1994: For the only time until now, the Globe chose the more conservative candidate — Weld, a moderate running for re-election, over then-state representative Mark Roosevelt, a liberal Democrat. Winner: Weld.
  • 2014: The Globe endorses Republican Charlie Baker, a moderate Republican, over state Attorney General Martha Coakley, a liberal. Winner: TBD.

A memorable remembrance of Kevin White

Kevin White (left), John Silber and John Kenneth Galbraith in 1977

My friend and former editor Peter Kadzis has written a remembrance of the late Boston mayor Kevin White for the Boston Phoenix that is striking in its depth and nuance. Phoenix publisher Stephen Mindich, a White admirer, makes a cameo as well.

Peter grew up in Dorchester and continues to live in the city. His intricate knowledge of Boston’s tribalism helps him negotiate the city’s complexities in a way that few others can match. For instance:

For most of his mayoral career, White was the candidate of middle-class aspiration. White was more than a politician; he was a symbol.

To those already in the middle class and to the far larger number of blue-collar families aspiring to that status, White validated the idea that social and economic mobility was real. A vote for White was a subliminal endorsement of the idea that each generation could expect to better itself.

In contrast, White’s mayoral rivals, School Committeewoman Louise Day Hicks and City Councilor Joseph Timilty essentially defined themselves by not being Kevin White. Hicks and Timilty offered no vision.

Kadzis reminds us that it was the Harvard economist (and Kennedy family intimate) John Kenneth Galbraith who stuck the shiv in White’s aspirations for the vice presidential nomination in 1972 — which, if it had become reality, might have led to a White presidential campaign four years later.

So I was thrilled to find the photo I’ve included here of White and Galbraith making small talk in front of a scowling John Silber five years later. (The occasion was Boston Pops conductor Arthur Fiedler’s birthday.) Clearly White believed in keeping his friends close and his enemies closer.

Photo (cc) by City of Boston Archives and reprinted here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.