“Stuff”: The Charlie Baker Selfie in Verbal Form

Saturday’s Globe included a significant contribution to the study of Governor Charlie Baker’s impressively high poll numbers: Baker’s very fond of taking selfies at public appearances, and his fondness is paying off by making him seem likable and approachable. “I like the informality of it, and I like the fact that it has a certain festive notion to it,” Baker told the Globe. “And truthfully, it’s a little more intimate than the portrait stuff…”


“Stuff,” I have discovered in my first year as one of his constituents, is one of Charlie Baker’s favorite words, and the Governor’s many “stuffs” boost his popularity like his many selfies do — they make him seem likable and approachable.

Here’s a catalog of only a few examples of “stuff” from the Baker discourse this year — selfies in verbal form:


Q. What’s it like to be involved in a modern political campaign?
A. Campaigns are about many things — slogans, phone calls, fund-raisers, retail campaigning, and more. But, in the end, they are also about acts of God — stuff that happens that no one can predict or control.
(Boston Globe, 9/22/14)

Q. How are storm preparations affecting your ability to move forward with a plan to close the budget deficit?
A. It certainly affects the timing on some of this stuff.
(Taunton Gazette, 1/28/15)

Q. Do you have a comment on the demonstrators who blocked Interstate 93?
A. These protesters will be dealt with swiftly and appropriately, but public protests are sort of what being an American is all about and I approve of the more peaceful stuff.
(Boston Globe, 1/24/15)

Q. You visited the Biomanufacturing Education and Training Center at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. What were your impressions?
A. There is a lot of great stuff going on.
(Worcester Telegram, 1/10/15)

Q. What do you think of the idea of a corporate tax amnesty program to generate cash for state spending needs?
A. I think the best solution, of course, would be not to have to ever do this stuff, but over time things happen and using this as a vehicle to sort of clean up another backlog is not a bad idea.
(Metrowest Daily News, 12/10/14)

Q. What’s behind your administration’s decision to release monthly data on opioid abuse in each county?
A. We’re hoping by publishing this stuff and making it available, people will be better positioned to incorporate that in their thought processes at the local level.
(Georgetown Record, 4/24/15)

Q. Do you favor funding some portion of our transportation and other needs out of the yearly operating budget instead of paying for them with borrowed funds?
A. We historically borrowed money in Massachusetts to fund a lot of stuff that doesn’t have a 20- or 30-year shelf life. That’s a mistake.
(Springfield Republican, 11/12/14)

Q. Why do we need for a separate finance control board for the MBTA?
A. The current state transportation board meets just once a month and already has a huge portfolio of stuff.
(Westwood Press, 5/14/15)

Q. Are you planning to require more disclosure by health care providers and insurers about the prices they charge?
A. You can expect to see us get a lot more aggressive about the transparency stuff in 2016.
(Boston Globe 10/6/15)

Q. What does your administration plan to do to solve next year’s budget problems?
A. I want to see what the Legislature sends us with respect to the year-end supp for the last fiscal year, and the stuff that’s involved in that document that has to do with the fiscal year we’re in now before I comment on any of it.
Worcester Telegram and Gazette, 10/20/15

Q. Tell us more about your proposals to give cities and towns control in granting liquor licenses.
A. Some of this stuff should have been done 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago.
(Beverly Citizen, 12/10/15)

Q. Will your administration provide greater transparency than the current public records law requires?
A. We basically follow the law, and under the current law and every governor before us, the governor’s office is treated differently than the rest of the executive branch, If the law changes on this stuff, then we’ll change with the law.
(Boston Herald, 12/4/15)

Q. What are you looking forward to in the second year of your term?
A. Being more proactive and not just fixing the stuff that needed to get fixed.
(Lawrence Eagle Tribune, 12/3/15)

Q. Do you have a tendency to become too fixated on particular problems?
A. I tend to get kind of wrapped around the axle about stuff because that’s just the way I’m built.
(Boston Globe, 1/30/15)

Q. What’s your motto?
A. Let’s get stuff done.
(Boston Globe, 10/16/14)

Update, December 22: And one more.
Q. What’s surprising about your job as Governor?
A. Well, first of all the stuff that just kind of comes whistling in from left field.
(WGBH Public Radio, 12/17/15)

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