Tim for Governor?
Tim Cahill is talking like Scott Brown and Sarah Palin. But is he carrying too much politics-as-usual baggage?


Michael Graham

Cahill, who has no organization behind him, is now facing a GOP with a solid slate of candidates for Congress and the state legislature organizing across the state. Cahill is also facing an incumbent governor who, according to the front page of today’s Boston Globe, is “back in the game,” thanks in part to “the evolving dynamic of the three-way gubernatorial race.” If this trend continues, Cahill is going to face the question that kills almost every independent candidacy when the two major parties have competitive candidates: Who needs you?

Cahill’s answer? Blue-collar Democrats, that’s who.

Cahill, with the help of John McCain’s political advisers John Weaver and John Yob, is making like Sarah Palin. Regular guy Tim Cahill, whose website is the aw-shucks, is hoping that class warfare and tea-party anger will deliver for him in November.

“He’s the only candidate that can relate to the everyman voter that is so vital to Massachusetts politics,” Weaver says of Cahill, as opposed to Baker, whom Weaver calls “King Charlie.” Baker, according to the Cahill campaign, is a wealthy insurance-executive elitist who can’t possibly relate to the voters. And so the Cahill narrative unfolds: You can’t vote for tax-raising Deval Patrick because he takes too much of your money; and you can’t vote for Charlie Baker because he has too much money of his own.

Cahill’s campaign is fundamentally cultural, not ideological. He’s a likeable guy, the candidate you’d most like to have a beer with. But a conservative with principled opposition to Obamacare or high taxes?

Not so much.

For example, Cahill was state treasurer in 2006 when the Democratic legislature and Republican governor Mitt Romney passed the “Romneycare” plan, but he never expressed any concerns at the time. In fact, a search of the Boston Globe database for the entire year 2006 doesn’t reveal a single news article in which Cahill even mentions the health-care-reform plan. He now says he supported Romneycare because “We didn’t know how much it was going to cost” — an odd admission for the state’s top financial officer.

And while Cahill’s recent criticisms of Romneycare have been largely on target, he believes the solution is to end the fee-for-service system. He supports a “global payment” model, also known as “capitation,” which has been suggested by Governor Patrick. Under this system, the government mandates that doctors receive a flat fee per patient, regardless of the medical care given.

Hardly Milton Friedman, to say the least.