Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has either grown a set or is reading the tea leaves in advance of what I suspect will be a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

Charlie "Tall Deval" Baker is getting a bit squeamish about all of the left-wing maneuverings on behalf of illegal immigrants in Massachusetts and is calling for a policy to allow at least some cooperation between state and local authorities and federal immigration officials. After all, the 2024 political primaries are just four years away.

Baker has managed to walk a fine line between the state's few Republican voters and the Democrats that have elected him twice, but recent events involving ICE and those who are sworn to uphold the law threaten to place Massachusetts in the national spotlight. If Baker has any hope of winning the nomination in 2024, he cannot appear to be soft on crime or in favor of providing sanctuary to illegals.

Lunatic Newton District Court Judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph was indicted last week and charged with letting a twice-deported illegal facing narcotics charges sneak out the back door of her courthouse rather than face an ICE agent waiting for him in the lobby. Meanwhile, the District Attornies of Suffolk and Middlesex Counties have filed suit to block immigration officials from apprehending illegals in Massachusetts courthouses.

Baker is smart enough to know that while all of this plays nicely in looney toons Massachusetts, it ain't gonna play well in Peoria. While liberal elitists like Senate President Karen Spilka and A.G. Maura Healey are suffering head explosions over the indictment of Judge Joseph, Baker is launching butt-covering maneuvers by calling for a policy for how and when state and local officials can cooperate with ICE.

Whether Baker is truly concerned about Massachusetts becoming a sanctuary for illegals or he is simply plotting a campaign for 2024, he's at least showing signs of having a pulse on this issue. Now would be a good time for Baker to actually show some leadership by finally putting the interests of taxpaying citizens of Massachusetts ahead of the special interests he has been beholden to thus far.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.