Baker Palling Around With Hudak


Bill Hudak, Republican congressional candidate in John Tierney's district, has not been universally embraced by mainstream Massachusetts Republicans -- in fact, when Hudak announced that Scott Brown had endorsed him, Brown quickly denied it and forced a retraction.

That cold shoulder is due to some rather disturbing and, some might say, nutty opinions Hudak has expressed, such as once suggesting to journalists that he had documentation proving that Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

But Charlie Baker has no problem appearing with the guy. A couple of weeks ago, Baker accepted an invitation to speak at a large Hudak event; he came, took the stage with Hudak, and briefly addressed the audience. The photo above, obtained by the Phoenix, shows Baker speaking at the event, gesturing to the bow-tied Hudak.

"Charlie was speaking to voters," campaign spokesperson Rick Gorka told me, when I asked about Baker choosing to associate with Hudak. "We're going to talk to voters everywhere."

Dan Kennedy has done yeoman's work cataloguing Hudak's extremism, some of which was originally reported by Tri-Town Transcript.

Among the highlights: Hudak, in 2008, proudly displayed on his Boxford lawn an array of anti-Obama signs, one of which depicted Barack Obama as Osama bin Laden. He showed reporters documents that, he claimed, proved that Obama was born in Kenya. (He has admitted showing the documents, but now denies that he believed them.) He claimed that Obama had ties to the Muslim faith. He referred to Obama as "Barry Soetoro," as is common on so-called "birther" web sites.

Asked whether Baker personally considers Hudak's questioning of Obama's citizenship, or comparing Obama to bin Laden, offensive, Gorka replied: "They're not things Charlie agrees with." Pressed again, Gorka termed those things "outrageous," but would not accept the characterization of "offensive."

(As an aside, I'm not sure why the Baker campaign brought in Gorka from the Republican National Committee to be its press secretary -- not only is he alien to Massachusetts, but his resume of working for folks like Katherine Harris, Michael Steele, and the now-defunct Freedom's Watch may not make him a great fit for our poitical-media landscape.) 

The event Baker appeared at was a Hudak campaign fundraiser/rally at the North Shore Music Theater in Beverly -- "Stand Up For America: A Celebration of Freedom." Todd Feinburg, Jeff Katz, and Barbara Anderson participated, and Hudak claims that 500 people attended. Among those on hand were former Congressman Peter Torkildsen, state representatives Brad Hill and Brad Jones, and a host of area legislative candidates.

Gorka insists that Baker's on-stage appearance did not suggest an endorsement of, or support for, Hudak. But Wicked Local Topsfield, for one, came away with a different impression; a photo caption accompanying their story about the event included the line: "Also on hand to support Hudak’s candidacy for the 6th district seat were Charlie Baker...."

And, while Hudak is clear that Baker has not endorsed him, he did suggest, at the least, a camaraderie between the campaigns, when I asked him about Baker's appearance. "We're all in this working together," Hudak says.

I've spoken with Hudak a couple of times, and he comes across as a nice enough guy. But, his rabid, conspiratorial, admittedly Internet-researched attacks on Obama are about all we have to assess him; he had never been politically active prior to his late- 2008 outburst of anti-Obamaism. Pretty much all we know is that he believes, and acts upon, crazy, offensive things he reads on the Internet.

I can't imagine that it helps Baker to associate himself with that fringe of the Republican Party.

It baffles me that institutional Republicans, like Torkildsen and Jones, would legitimize Hudak as a candidate for high public office. But it's especially significant when the standard-bearer of the state party legitimates a candidate, which makes it incumbent upon Baker to avoid doing so -- unless he intends to embrace the fringe.

| More

 Friends' Activity   Popular 
All Blogs
Follow the Phoenix
  • newsletter
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • youtube
  • rss
Latest Comments
Search Blogs
Talking Politics Archives