Charlie On The MBTA

Gov. Charlie Baker

(Image Credit: Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit)

Opinion editorial by WBZ NewsRadio political analyst Jon Keller

BOSTON ( WBZ NewsRadio) — Over the past few days, as MBTA users have suffered through the latest in an appalling string of derailments and other infrastructure failures, we’ve heard a familar political refrain – Gov. Baker should ditch his trooper-chauffered SUV and ride the T for a taste of what a nightmare it can be.

This demand has a dual political purpose – to cast Baker as oblivious to what T commuters must endure, and paint him as an aloof elitist not just unfamiliar with their hardships but uninterested in understanding them.

It was rolled out often by Baker’s Democratic challenger during last year’s governor’s race, to no apparent effect.

Polls consistently show large majorities of voters don’t blame Baker for the public-transit debacle and, while impatient for real improvement, think he’s doing what he can to fix it.

Who’s right?

To Baker’s discredit, he is not immune from moments of aloofness.

His comments on the Red Line derailment fiasco the other day failed to adequately empathize with the impact it had on innocent commuters.

But the insistence that he ride the T himself is flat-out silly.

I don’t recall a similar outcry when Gov. Deval Patrick got caught avoiding the T during a “Car-Free Week” he had declared, a genuine do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do situation.

At least Baker doesn’t run around imploring people to ditch their cars, except when a blizzard is approaching.

And the pols posturing on this one are up against a reality that every T rider understands – if you didn’t have to take it get to work, chances are you wouldn’t.|

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Keller @ Large

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Jon Keller is a WBZ TV & Radio political analyst. Read more

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