Could Charlie Baker Help America Heal?

By Jim Madigan

It seems there’s one thing you can be sure of about Governor Charlie Baker. He is his own man not beholden to any particular political group or ideology.

He practices a brand of moderate, middle-of-the-road Republican politics not often seen in today’s political arena. Fiscally conservative and socially moderate. Like the previous governors he worked for – Bill Weld and Paul Cellucci – that’s a recipe for electoral success in Massachusetts.

Last year, Baker said very early on that he was bothered by many things Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump was saying and that he would not support him and he didn’t – even after Trump won the party nomination. Baker didn’t make a big show of it but he kept his word.

More recently, Baker expressed concerns about the Trump-backed plan to Repeal and Replace Obamacare – especially as it became clear that money and programs to fight the opioid addiction crisis would be negatively impacted by the Republican proposal.

Usually, opposition of any kind to the Trump Administration earns one at least a scathing Twitter attack. Not Charlie Baker. In fact, he’s now been asked to serve on the national Opioid Commission created by President Trump and headed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Charlie Baker has always said that fighting the opioid crisis is a top priority, and he does head the National Governor’s Association’s health and human services committee and helped develop an anti-addiction agreement that 46 states have signed onto. Baker also got the chance to talk about the addiction crisis with the President’s daughter and key advisor, Ivanka, when they were seated at the same table at a White House event.  I’m guessing our Governor made a very good and lasting impression on the First Daughter, helping lead to the Opioid Commission appointment.

Now, it’s just a spot on a study group that may or may not get much publicity – but with his own approval ratings among the lowest any President has ever had this early on, I’ve got to imagine Donald Trump will have an eye on the very popular Charlie Baker.  This President could learn a lot from Massachusetts’ well-informed, hard-working, generally soft-spoken and congenial Governor. Beyond helping to heal the horrible wounds of the opioid crisis, maybe the example of Charlie Baker can show Donald Trump there’s a better way to get things done.