January 29, 2018

THE ADULTS IN THE ROOM:

GOP Governors Popular in Democratic States (Steve Leblanc, 1/28/18, Associated Press)

It seems to be working for Baker; the same poll found that while Warren is viewed favorably by 54 percent of Massachusetts voters, Baker is viewed favorably by a hefty 66 percent. And comparisons of the affable and unflappable Baker with the unpredictable Trump don't hurt, either.

Other Republican governors remain popular in Democratic states despite Trump.

A poll released in September found 62 percent of Maryland residents approve of the job Gov. Larry Hogan is doing. In Vermont, Gov. Phil Scott, who recently signed a bill legalizing marijuana, also remains popular.

Scott is a favorite with voters in part by distancing himself from the more unpopular policies of the Trump administration and tactics of congressional Republicans, said Eric Davis, a professor emeritus of political science at Vermont's Middlebury College.

Hogan has maintained his popularity in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1 by focusing on improving the business climate, lowering traffic tolls, pushing for tax relief and taking steps to stem climate change. And he kept his sense of humor while fighting non-Hodgkin's lymphoma his first year in office, participating in a minor-league baseball promotion that included two bobbleheads: one of him with hair and one without.

In Massachusetts, Trump's unpopularity has allowed Baker to reject the president's more extreme rhetoric while keeping communication open with the White House.

The tightrope-walking started well before Trump's election, when Baker vowed not to vote for Trump even after the presidential nomination. Baker said he voted for other offices on the November ballot but blanked the presidential tally.

Most recently, Baker called on Trump to apologize for vulgar language attributed to him during an Oval Office meeting, describing as "appalling and disgraceful" the comments Trump made while questioning why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and Africa, rather than places like Norway.

Baker told reporters Trump "owes an apology to all of the people who he broad-brushed with those statements."

The governor also took a jab during his annual State of the State address Tuesday. Without mentioning Trump, Baker said it's important to keep political debates civil.

"That doesn't mean we always have to agree. We won't," Baker said. "Some of us will agree with each other most of the time. Some will agree some of the time. And some will never agree at all. That's OK. That's called 'democracy,' and more often than not, it works."

Posted by at January 29, 2018 6:43 AM

  

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