In criticizing Obama's testy relationship with Republicans in Congress, Romney proudly noted his good times with Massachusetts Democratic legislators. "I like the fact that in my state, we had Republicans and Democrats come together and work together," Romney scolded the president. "What you did instead was to push through a plan without a single Republican vote."
Romney's situation was something of a mirror image. He was unable to push anything through that the Democratic leadership didn't like, including 800 vetoes Romney issued as governor. The legislature overrode all but a few vetoes issued when it was out of session.
On Wednesday night Romney used his weekly meetings with the House speaker and Senate president as evidence of his ability to work with the other side. The meetings did happen, but not as a result of Romney's initiative. These weekly sessions have been a regular part of the Statehouse schedule going back at least to the administration of Michael Dukakis. They took place during the 12 years Republicans held the governorship before Romney took office and they continue today.
Democratic lawmakers of the time recall Romney as a CEO type who dealt only with the legislative leadership. Even Tom Finneran, the former House speaker who went on to host a conservative talk radio show in Boston, recalls Romney as being imperious when he called legislative leaders in to discuss the budget crisis.
"Initially his sense was, `I have been elected governor, I am the CEO here, and you guys are the board of directors and you monitor the implementation of what I say,'" Finneran told The Associated Press in August. "That ruffled the feathers of legislators who see themselves as an equal branch (of government)."
Ironically, the single biggest bipartisan achievement during his administration was the state's health care reform law that requires all residents to buy health insurance -- i.e. the individual mandate of Obamacare. Legislators of that time give Romney high marks for working with them to get the law refined and passed. The same lawmakers note, with pride, that the Romney-Democratic love fest resulted in legislation that was a model for Obamacare.
Welcome home, Mitt.
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