Massachusetts residents got a reminder this week of something that can sometimes get lost in the day-to-day political skirmishes: the state isn't a half-bad place to live.
U.S. News & World Report, in its first-ever state rankings, declared Massachusetts the best of the united 50.
With his state catapulted over the heap by its top-rated education system and superior access to health care, Gov. Charlie Baker got to leave a conference of his peers in Washington to appear on CBS This Morning Tuesday and crow about all that Massachusetts has to offer – an enviable spot for a Republican governor trying to navigate through his blue state's politics.
The picture painted by U.S. News stands, in a some respects, as a counter-argument to the daily debates on Beacon Hill. To hear some tell it, Massachusetts is drowning in debt, income inequality and a lack of affordable housing. Tens of thousands of students are being left behind by the public school system, and health care and energy costs are crushing families and small businesses.
But in Massachusetts, being ranked number one is unlikely to be enough, just like five Super Bowl rings on Tom Brady's right hand couldn't stop the parade-goers last month from chanting: “We want six.”
Now it's on Baker, the Legislature, mayors and everyone else to keep the top spot.
While it may not be in everyone's nature to accentuate the positive, no one in Massachusetts is quite on President Donald Trump's level of “American carnage.” But Trump gave his first not-technically-a-State-of-the-Union address to Congress on Tuesday night, and adopted what the pundits deemed a more “presidential” and uplifting tone and demeanor, even if the policy had not changed all that much.
Former Republican Congressman Chris Shays, who famously worked with Marty Meehan on campaign finance reform, told “Greater Boston” host Jim Braude that he gave the president an A- for his remarks, but was quick to make clear the unpredictable president was being graded on a pretty steep curve.
However, the positive reviews for Trump in what seemed like a reset for his presidency quickly gave way to more troubling headlines about contacts his campaign may have had with Russian officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions.