Was Romney a good governor of Massachusetts?
Well, he got that state’s new health care up and running. Sort of. Actually, he was just “pushing on an open door, ” as the Times analysis puts it, a door left open by an earlier Democratic initiative.
And he can claim another substantial achievement, “notably joining a Democratic legislature to cut a deficit-ridden budget by $1.6 billion and revamping a troubled school building fund. Some outside experts and former aides say his administration excelled at the sorts of nuts-and-bolts efficiencies that make bureaucracies run better, like streamlining permit approvals and modernizing jobs programs.”
But on closer examination, the record as governor he alluded to looks considerably less burnished than Mr. Romney suggested. Bipartisanship was in short supply; Statehouse Democrats complained he variously ignored, insulted or opposed them, with intermittent charm offensives. He vetoed scores of legislative initiatives and excised budget line items a remarkable 844 times, according to the nonpartisan research group Factcheck.org. Lawmakers reciprocated by quickly overriding the vast bulk of them. ...NYT
Bipartisan? No. Often gratuitously nasty. He loved that veto power.
Mr. Romney proved to have a taste for vetoes, killing legislative initiatives in his first two years at more than twice the rate of his more popular Republican predecessor, William F. Weld, The Boston Globe reported in 2004.
Some seemed almost designed to rankle legislators: one rejected an increase in disability payments to a police officer who had slipped on an ice patch. Others reflect his ramrod-straight views on ethics and government waste — knocking down a special pension deal for a state legislator; rejecting a subsidy to Medicaid payments so nursing homes could provide kosher meals to Jewish residents.
“He seemed to take great delight in vetoing bills,” recalled his director of legislative affairs, John O’Keefe. “Some of the bills we would chuckle when we wrote the veto message.”
By 2004, the second year of his term, Mr. Romney was provoked enough to mount an unprecedented campaign to unseat Democratic legislators, spending $3 million in Republican Party money and hiring a nationally known political strategist, Michael Murphy, to plan the battle.
The effort failed spectacularly. Republicans lost seats, leaving them with their smallest legislative delegation since 1867. Democratic lawmakers were reported to have been deeply angered by the campaign’s tactics.
On close scrutiny, some of the bipartisan successes that Mr. Romney claimed in the Wednesday debate turn out to by peppered with asterisks. …NYT
Nasty. Rich kid playing power games. And in the end, everyone loses.