Despite the bitter, partisan battle for the Massachusetts Governor’s Office, a Tufts expert doesn’t expect gridlock between Republican Governor and Democratically-controlled legislature.
Boston [11.06.02] In a finish that wasn't nearly as close as analysts predicted, Republican Mitt Romney was elected Massachusetts' next governor by a margin of more than five percent. Despite the heated - and often nasty - battle between the two parties, a Tufts expert doesn't expect gridlock between Romney and the Democratically-controlled legislature.
"It's counterintuitive, but there's good political science research that shows when you have divided government, it can be very productive," Tufts political science professor Jeffrey Berry told The Boston Globe. "It's not a prescription for gridlock. Skill and teamwork can actually emerge, even after a bitter campaign."
With more than 50 percent of the vote, Romney's appeal crossed party lines, earning support from Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike, said political analysts.
It's a tool Romney could use to help smooth over the after-effects of his intense campaign against Democratic candidate Shannon O'Brien.
"[According to Berry], as governor, Romney could score points by advancing the agenda immediately, defanging the Democrats, and meeting them in the middle on one of their initiatives," reported the Globe.
Already, Romney appears ready to heal campaign wounds.
"We are the strongest as a people when we can bring together all of our differences and find solutions that work for the common good," the Governor-elect told supporters at his victory speech on Tuesday night.
But Berry said Romney - a former venture capitalist who has never held an elected office - needs to be careful in choosing his governing style.
"The CEO style doesn't work as well because, when you have the other party in power, it's all about negotiations and coalition-building," Berry told the Globe. "So the imperial, my-way-or-the-highway, I'm-the-last-one-to-decide type of leadership is not conducive to getting the job done."
Romney may also have to carefully step away from several of his campaign promises, including his pledge not to raise taxed in Massachusetts, the Tufts expert said.
"[House Speaker Thomas] Finneran will make him eat crow, and if it comes to pass that there has to be a tax increase - and I think eventually there will be - Romney's going to have to own it the same way George Bush had to own it after the 1988 election," Berry told the newspaper. "On the surface, they're going to kiss and make up but on the next level, there's going to be a fight for the leadership of the state."
Massachusetts' Governor-elect appears ready for the challenge.
"Tonight we sent a loud and clear message," Romney told his supporters. "That message is that it's time for a new era. The message is that people come first, not the politicians."
Photos courtesy of The Boston Globe.
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