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Free Advice for Mass. Gov. Candidate Charlie Baker

Don’t be so smooth.

7:29 AM, Aug 16, 2010 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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Here’s an e-mail from Alex Vuckovic, a TWS reader from Massachusetts who was way ahead of the curve last December when he wrote to say that, yes, Scott Brown could win. He has some advice for the Republican gubernatorial candidate in his state, and it seemed worth passing on:

Dear Charlie: 

Hope you don't mind the first-name greeting, but I get chatty personal notes from you regularly, so I thought I'd return the favor.  

Let me begin by acknowledging that there is no earthly reason for you (or the staffer who reads this) to take much note of a potential constituent's concern about the direction of your campaign. My own political credentials are limited to having been an early supporter of Scott Brown back in the dark days of December 2009 and to having lived in this benighted commonwealth since my first year of medical school in 1977. And perhaps therein lie two insights. One, no one in this race (and perhaps in this state!) has more credibility in the health care field than you. And two, Sen. Brown won 52% of the vote running against the Obamacare monstrosity.

While I've heard snippets of good stuff from you on this front, don't you think reforming the mini-Obama project in our state should be Item One in your platform? And I don't mean bemoaning what the awful Legislature did to Mitt's shiny plan--I mean a full frontal assault on the entitlement-driven Leviathan which will bankrupt Massachusetts a year or so before it swamps the rest of the country.

Charlie, the people of Massachusetts are desperate for a real outsider to clean up the Cahill/Patrick mess (and, not to put too fine a point on it, to plant the two of them squarely in the same pot). Your campaign is, how shall I put it, a little too smooth, too NICE. I can almost see you cautiously circling around the Tea Party, trying to figure out how much tacit support you can give that populist phenomenon without alienating the over-educated, self-absorbed suburban snobs who turn up their noses at the rubes who actually admire Sarah Palin. But it's the rubes who elected Scott Brown, Charlie, and the snobs who just don't get it. I'll wager my Elite Ivy League faculty position on it!

So here, free of charge, is my platform and TV ad advice:

1) Kill the Massachusetts Mandate; replace it with a simple catastrophic coverage requirement (unless you really want to go rogue and pull a Virginia-style Constitutional challenge, maybe a bit too much for our refined electorate).

2) Ask all health care professionals and institutions to post their prices publicly.

3) Reopen the insurance market to all comers, including high-deductible HSA plans. For good measure, allow out-of-state insurance purchases as long as the plans meet the minimum standards above.

4) Get out of the way and watch health care costs drop like a rock.

The fun thing about this is you get to be on the side of real people, opposing such worthies as the current corrupt administration and legislature AND the big insurers and monopoly care systems.

And once you have everyone's attention, drop the Big One:

5) Plug the $ 2 billion budget gap (or whatever it is today after the latest free-money drop from our Enlightened Betters in DC) by cutting the state budget by FOUR billion bucks and cut either the sales tax or income tax or BOTH back to 5% (I seem to vaguely recall a taxpayer-passed ballot initiative to that effect regarding the income tax a few years back, ignored by our other Betters on Beacon Hill).

6) Get out of the way again and watch the Mass economy roar back.

In all seriousness, I worry for our state and country, Charlie. You are so obviously head and shoulders above the political and institutional forces   opposing you that it's heartbreaking to watch them wrap your campaign in the paralyzing silk strands of Elite Political Correctness. You have my vote; just trying to help you with a million others!

All my best,

Alex Vuckovic, MD

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