Yesterday, Governor Charlie Baker defended the state’s vaccine distribution plan in front of Beacon Hill lawmakers, dealing with questions in regards to the shaky rollout of the vaccine appointment web site and hotline. Co-hosts of The Scrum podcast Peter Kadzis, GBH Information senior editor, and Adam Reilly, GBH Information political reporter, joined host Joe Mathieu on Morning Version at present to interrupt down what the unusually tense scene may imply for the governor’s political future and the state’s pandemic restoration.
Though the session remained civil, the pointed critiques have been a departure from how Democrats on Beacon Hill have handled Republican Baker over the course of his two phrases in workplace, in line with Reilly. “It was so surreal to observe it,” Reilly stated. “I am not used to seeing it. It’s important to return to the final governor’s race to discover a time when a Democrat was going after Baker as exhausting as they went after him yesterday.”
Reilly stated that the Democrats’ tone might be a sign of deeper modifications in Massachusetts politics, as Baker seems forward to a gubernatorial race in opposition to the brand new backdrop of a Biden presidency and a brand new Home speaker.
“I do assume it is a long-term indicator of possibly a change coming,” Reilly stated. “I believe we’ll see a sustained sharper tone vis-a-vis the governor than now we have up till now.”
Regardless of the delays and technical hiccups which have characterised the state’s vaccine rollout, Baker nonetheless stays wildly common within the state and has one of many highest approval rankings of any governor within the nation. Kadzis famous that a MassINC poll from simply 4 days in the past confirmed Baker’s approval ranking holding robust at 74 p.c. Nonetheless, Kadzis says Baker has a political drawback on his arms, as he tries to shift the narrative away from the shaky rollout to extra promising information — together with that 300,000 vaccine appointments have now been booked.
“It is a drawback that is not going to go away. It is a large inconvenience [and] an anxiety-inducing inconvenience for the individuals who have been attempting to get appointments,” Kadzis stated. “However from a public well being perspective, as the federal government repeatedly identified, Massachusetts is without doubt one of the high within the nation in inoculating folks.”
One improvement that would assist change that narrative was the announcement yesterday that stadiums and enormous venues like Fenway Park and the TD Backyard may go forward with partial re-openings on the finish of March.
It’s a bit of excellent information in an extended yr of dangerous information, and Reilly stated the timing of the announcement was “efficient politics.”
“From the governor’s perspective, it is very clever to have folks speaking about, ‘hey, we’ll get to see a Pink Sox sport within the spring’ on the identical day that you’re attempting to fend off unusually public and unusually sharp criticism from the folks within the legislature,” Reilly stated.
Whereas there are some indications that financial restoration is selecting up, Kadzis and Reilly stated it’s unclear whether or not that can have an effect on coverage on the state stage, given the uncertainty of recent COVID variants spreading. The very last thing Baker desires, they stated, is a false reopening story.
Within the meantime, Reilly is ready for a later section within the state’s restoration to enterprise out along with his circle of relatives. “I am not taking the children to any trampolining facility,” he stated. “We will wait on that. Positively no ball pits both.“