The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

22 June 2005

Romney Looks For 2008 Strategy

Fore-get The Budget!

Romney Looks To Boost Image, Dems Play Cape Golf

It can't be easy being Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney these days.

While he works overtime trying to bolster his "ineffective governor" rap, the real villains are playing golf on Cape Cod!

Perhaps Romney expected too much in taking the Bay State's reins, how much could he really accomplish, given a hostile one-party legislature? They routinely override his vetoes and can pronounce his proposals dead on arrival, if they wish.

House Majority Leader Rep. John Rogers (D-Norwood) chomps on a cigar at Hyannis Golf Club yesterday. (Boston Herald Staff photo by Mark Garfinkel)

It's not exactly a launching pad for the presidency. If he wishes to be viable for 2008, he must first provide examples of where he's brought reform to the commonwealth.

His profile-raising strategy is to push for a new health insurance system, but it's hard to believe this will improve his stature. From the Boston Herald's Andrew Miga in the Washington Bureau:

But it is doubtful Romney's new health care proposal will flesh out his policy credentials - or boost his national profile.

``Almost nobody pays any attention to those kinds of specific policies,'' said professor Earl Black of Rice University, an expert on Southern politics.

Black added he expects Romney will stumble trying to convince conservative voters who dominate GOP presidential primaries that he's a true right-wing believer.

``There's no natural base for Romney,'' Black said. ``It will be very difficult for a Massachusetts governor to either raise enough money or find enough support in the modern Republican Party. I just don't see it.''

Romney may be courting GOP conservatives as he eyes the White House, but his health-care plan sounded as though it was lifted from the liberal Democratic playbook, and was praised by Bay State Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

(Additional coverage in the Cape Cod Times, here)

Romney's in an impossible situation: there's no way to please the national GOP base, without ticking off Bay State Democrats, which he needs on board for any reform plans.

Meanwhile, Democrat legislative critics played hooky from work, with a key budget deadline approaching. Why stare at the Sacred Cod, when you can play golf on Cape Cod?

From the Boston Herald's Dave Wedge:

Despite a looming deadline to finish the state budget, nearly a dozen lawmakers played hooky from work yesterday, hitting the links on sunny Cape Cod for a political pal's charity golf tournament.

House Majority Leader Rep. John Rogers (D-Norwood) was among those who tossed aside boring budget work for the day to work on their handicaps at Hyannis Golf Club. Rogers puffed cigars in a cart with Rep. John F. Quinn (D-New Bedford) while playing in the tournament organized by Rep. Demetrius Atsalis (D-Barnstable).

Among the players were at least seven leaders of House committees.

The midweek golf outing drew fire from Republicans, who slammed Democratic lawmakers for shirking their duties while the budget is due on Gov. Mitt Romney's desk July 1.

``It seems the only way we're going to get a state budget is if we turn the State House lawn into a putting green,'' said Massachusetts GOP Executive Director Tim O'Brien. ``The budget is due in eight days, and cities and towns are waiting for this money.''

Several more representatives were supposed to play yesterday but did not show up, including Speaker of the House Salvatore DiMasi (D-Boston), who was captured by a TV news crew playing golf Monday afternoon in Marblehead with Senate President Robert E. Travaglini (D-Boston).

While the unfinished state budget sat back at the State House, the parade of representatives at the Hyannis public course began at 9 a.m. sharp, with several reps taking trips to the driving range, putting on sunblock and lacing up their golf shoes.


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