Hiller Instinct: Gov. Baker takes the helm

This inauguration was like time travel. There were former Governors Mitt Romney and Bill Weld, who was elected in the 1990’s.

But as I watched, my mind went all the way back to 1988, when another Massachusetts Governor–Mike Dukakis–was running for president, and said:

“This election isn’t about ideology, it’s about competence.”

Dukakis was proven wrong, when he was beaten by George H.W. Bush.  But–if he said it today–I think he’d be exactly right about the biggest change coming to Beacon Hill.

Gov. Deval Patrick–who left the corner office yesterday–was a man of words.   Charlie Baker–who took over today– is a numbers guy.

For Patrick, politics was about ideology; for Baker; it’s about competence.  

On the way in, he took a shot at Patrick’s effectiveness:

“Some of our toughest challenges have been ignored and lost among the successes,” said Gov. Baker.  “Or have become the equivalent of kicking a can down the road because they’re not politically convenient or easy to fix.”

Baker doesn’t have time to kick the can down the road. He says the state has a budget deficit of more than half a billion dollars, and he has until July to make it balance.

He minced no words describing what’s gone wrong on beacon hill.

“We have to recognize that this is a spending problem,” said Gov. Baker.

Today, Democrats are cheering Charlie Baker, but their cheers won’t be as loud as the impact of his numbers on their ideology becomes clear.

Because Baker’s ideology is competence.