Markey

Some of you Massachusetts experts will have to inform me of Ed Markey’s capabilities to defeat Scott Brown.

I don’t think any of us directly addressed the Kerry nomination. One of Obama’s many weaknesses is his belief that leading elected politicians are the primary proving ground for leading administration jobs. He’s gone to this well time and time again, effectively destroying the political careers of top Democrats in red states for no real reason. In this case, the Kerry selection gives Republicans the chance to get Scott Brown back in the Senate. Republicans played Obama like a violin since part of destroying Susan Rice’s credibility was to help retake the Senate in 2014 by taking the Massachusetts special election.

Let’s hope Markey or whoever comes out of the primary can beat Brown.

148 comments on this post.
  1. Kurzleg:

    Why do these elected Democrats take the jobs? I suppose these jobs are better than having to fundraise all the time, but I think it’s true that it’s very difficult to go back to high elected office once you serve in an administrative role.

  2. Erik Loomis:

    I can see why Kerry would do this. What the incentive was for Napolitano or especially Sebelius, I don’t really know.

  3. Richard:

    Kerry has wanted to be in the Cabinet in a high post ever since he lost the bid for Presidency. He’s made no secret of that fact. And I don’t think its just a case of Obama choosing a Senator because his Senate career has been a good proving ground for cabinet members. Instead, its partially a reward for loyalty (which is a good thing to encourage) since Kerry was part of Obama’s circle for this campaign and acted as the Romney surrogate for the debate prep.

  4. Erik Loomis:

    In this case, yes. Although I don’t think it’s enough to risk losing this seat. But there are so many other cases where Obama thinks elected politicians are the right people for jobs, putting many seats at risk. Why was Ken Salazar necessary at Interior for instance? Not only is he lame, but it would have let to the loss of the Colorado seat had Colorado Republicans not nominated someone who is insane.

    Seriously, he couldn’t find someone better than Salazar?

  5. Thom:

    Erik,

    You’re right, but of course Massachusetts is no red state. Maybe Brown can win, but it’s not a sure thing by any means.

    Anyway, my support for Rice faded fast when I learned that she is pals with Paul Kagame.

  6. DrDick:

    I have to say that this trend has disturbed me as well. You take people who are making a significant difference where they are, and are unlikely to be replaced by anyone as good, and put them in positions where they will have much less impact.

  7. John:

    Napolitano and Sebelius were term-limited as governors. If you think either of them could have won a Senate race in 2010, I have a law school job placement service to sell you.

  8. Malaclypse:

    Also, Kerry will be 71 in 2014, so there is some chance he might not have run again anyway.

  9. Jberardi:

    Speaking as a Massachusetts resident, I don’t get all the fretting over Scott Brown. I mean, I REALLY don’t get it. The guy got elected once because he had the good fortune to run against a candidate who A) didn’t really bother to campaign very much and B) had a habit of actively insulting voters when she did.

    Meanwhile, we’re talking about a state Glorious Commonwealth that elected exactly ZERO republicans in the ’10 Tea Party wave mid-terms, AND that just elected Elizabeth “Class Warrior” Warren over Brown himself by nearly ten points.

    Oh yeah, and Brown himself is basically an embarrassment. Hey, does Ed Markey have any Native American ancestors?

  10. John:

    I think that Obama likes to nominate politicians for cabinet posts because he sees cabinet secretaries primarily as liaisons between the administration and congress, and he thinks high level politicians with long-standing personal contacts on the hill are better at this than technocrats. On the whole, I’m kind of sympathetic to the idea that cabinet secretaries should be real politicians rather than faceless bureaucrats.

  11. Greg:

    Obama doesn’t seem significantly worse than most. Bush appointed a lot of elected officials too. Some of them have even cost Republicans seats. I think Obama’s appointments get a lot of attention because of the intensity of the agita over succession.

  12. Richard:

    You may be right about Salazar and Sibelius but I think Kerry is the right pick. It rewards loyalty, Obama seems to get along well with him and I dont think Kerry would have run for reelection next time. And although I have no knowledge of Mass politics, the Dems should be able to find someone to give them at least an even chance of keeping the seat.

  13. Jberardi:

    You’re right, but of course Massachusetts is no red state.

    Commonwealth. And yes. There is none less red.

  14. Greg:

    Maybe Napolitano doesn’t win a Senate race, but would Brewer have won the Governor’s race if she hadn’t been the incumbent? And how much insane shit did she do in her first term, the one that Obama handed her?

  15. John:

    Plus, even beyond Coakley’s failings, January 2010 was a serious low point for the Democratic Party, both nationally and in Massachusetts.

    Who knows if Brown would even run? He either loses the special election and becomes the guy who lost two Senate elections within a year of each other, or he wins and has to run again in 2014, where he might lose again and be the two-time half-term senator. neither of those is an attractive fate.

    And beyond that, it really doesn’t matter if he were to win the seat. The 55th senate seat is not actually important, and the seat is up again in 2014, anyway. I don’t get why Erik, et al, are hyperventilating about it.

  16. Malaclypse:

    Maybe Brown can win, but it’s not a sure thing by any means.

    The closest election Markey ever had, he won with 62% of the vote. He broke 70% last month.

  17. James E Powell:

    And the fact that a Republican successor to Ted Kennedy left a scar. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances were. It hurt. So long as Kerry’s seat stays blue, it’s all good.

  18. mark f:

    Markey’s not bad. He’s always there to give a base-pumping speech at crappy, low-rent state party functions; there’s zero chance of him pulling a Coakley go-on-vacation-during-the-general. He’s a serious Rep. and a solid liberal. And he was in Tanner ’88.

  19. joe from Lowell:

    He’s gone to this well time and time again, effectively destroying the political careers of top Democrats in red states for no real reason.

    Most people would consider “to get the best person in the job” to be a real reason.

    Republicans played Obama like a violin since part of destroying Susan Rice’s credibility was to help retake the Senate in 2014 by taking the Massachusetts special election.

    While we’re assuming 11-dimensional chess, why not assume that Kerry was Obama’s first choice all along, and Rice was floated so that she, instead of his real choice, would be their scalp?

  20. mds:

    I would agree that there was way too much wishful thinking about Napolitano, who probably would have been considered damaged goods by 2010 anyway. But Sibelius really did seem to have a certain electoral je ne sais quoi for a Kansas Democrat. It’s not like wingnuttery only became widespread there after 2006, when she won re-election with almost 58% of the vote, a noticeable improvement over her initial election.

    Now, had she quit HHS to run in 2010, she certainly would have been irredeemably tainted by association with the Kenyan Muslim communist. But had she stayed governor, she might have been able to at least make Jerry Moran work a little bit. Teabagger Wave Year would certainly have been an uphill struggle, of course.

  21. Rob:

    And if he’s going to pick elected officials, why can’t he pick ones who will be replaced by better options. Diane Feinstein could use a nice cabinet position.

  22. Darkrose:

    As an ex-MA resident, I don’t get this either. As you’ve mentioned, Scott Brown won in 2010 primarily because Coakley was a bad candidate–and because no one knew a damn thing about Brown. Now everyone knows that he’s a petty, mean-spirited asshole who can be counted on to side with his party down the stretch. His big advantage was that he was seen as “likeable”, but he’s squandered that now.

  23. joe from Lowell:

    Why do these elected Democrats take the jobs?

    Because the President of the United States calls them and tells them he needs them to serve their country.

  24. John:

    Some crazy Republican would have, given the dynamics of the 2010 election.

  25. Darkrose:

    I kind of like DiFi at Defense. Or just about anywhere that doesn’t involve her being my state’s senior senator.

  26. Redbeard:

    Markey’s been winning in a district that stretches out to Framingham in the suburbs, right where Brown’s voters tend to be. With a strong field operation, Markey could win. But is Capuano running?

  27. joe from Lowell:

    Instead, its partially a reward for loyalty (which is a good thing to encourage) since Kerry was part of Obama’s circle for this campaign and acted as the Romney surrogate for the debate prep.

    It goes back further than that. Kerry was a key part of Obama’s foreign policy team for his entire presidency, taking on the wicked fun job of being the primary contact with the Pakistani government.

  28. John:

    Jerry Moran won by 44 points in 2010. It’s hard to see any Democrat beating him, and the economy would have hit Sebelius’s popularity hard.

  29. joe from Lowell:

    Meanwhile, Scott Brown just lost an election to a mediocre, rookie politician.

    Since 1998, there have been something like 80 Congressional elections in Massachusetts. The Republicans won one of them.

    Gee, do you think a Democrat can win a Senate seat in Massachusetts?

  30. mds:

    Alas, the 7th/5th isn’t automatically representative of the entire state. Especially with half of Cambridge now in it.

  31. joe from Lowell:

    I don’t get all the fretting over Scott Brown. I mean, I REALLY don’t get it.

    People who aren’t from Massachusetts didn’t watch the Brown-Warren contest very closely, and don’t realize how badly he harmed himself.

  32. Amanda in the South Bay:

    There’s absolutely no one in the United States other than John Kerry who’d be suitable for SOS?
    Say what you want about them, but (Condoleeza) Rice and Gates both had pretty serious careers in academia and as appointed officials prior to becoming Sec State and SecDef under Bush. The message for Dems seems to be…well, I’m not sure what it is. But I don’t think that long serving elected politicians have any special competence.

  33. joe from Lowell:

    I’ve been thinking that, too.

    She could do the job, and Californians would almost certainly pick someone better.

  34. anniecat45:

    Maybe Sebelius was sick of dealing with the Kansas clown show — ooops, I meant electorate — and was glad of a chance to escape.

  35. UserGoogol:

    Well, his district is quite a bit bluer than the state as a whole, so that’s not really the best frame of reference. In terms of Cook Partisan Voting Index, his district is the most liberal in the state. Still, I guess some of that has to translate into personal popularity.

  36. joe from Lowell:

    “Suitable” is a low bar.

    This isn’t Postmaster General. You put the very best person you can find in the S.o.S. slot.

  37. Chuchundra:

    +1

  38. mark f:

    Yeah, non-incumbent Republicans won senate seats in Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire in 2010. I don’t think even Zombie Harry Truman could’ve picked up that seat.

  39. Richard:

    Of course, there are other persons competent to be SOS. There are numerous competent people for any position in government. I’m not saying that Kerry has any unique competence but I’m saying that he appears to be a good choice on the merits, has a ton of experience in foreign affairs, has Obama’s trust and the pick is a reward for service and loyalty. The ONLY downside is the possibility that the Senate seat might be lost but that is no sure thing. And since I dont think Kerry would run for reelection in two years anyway, the downside is relatively minimal.

  40. mds:

    On the other hand, “Malden-born Irish Catholic Army Reservist” probably nullifies a bit of Pink Leather Shorts Cosmo Boy’s phony-baloney biographical appeal. And Representative Markey is obviously a guy, so the talk-radio rabidly sexist asswipe vote isn’t automatically a lock for Naked Male Model.

  41. Amanda in the South Bay:

    Which tells me the Dems don’t have a very deep bench when it comes to foreign policy technocrats. Again, no equivalent to Gates or Rice is present.

  42. Malaclypse:

    Tell me you are not making light of the office of Postmaster General.

  43. Richard:

    Good point.

  44. joe from Lowell:

    That’s wrong. The Democrats have a very deep bench in that area.

    But you put the very best person in the job, not one of the many people who clear the low bar of “suitable.”

  45. Lev @ LibraryGrape.com:

    Brown’s win was due to several factors: party actors standing down because it was a sure thing, Coakley’s bad campaign, poor strategy from the Obama Admin. on how to pursue health care and switching from economic recovery to the deficit, as well as the state’s Dems changing the rules from a snap special election to having a placeholder, a move which ironically helped Brown by giving him an expanded timeframe to campaign.

    How many of these apply today? Zero. Personal favorability is good, but politicians with high favorability lose all the time these days if they’re not in the right party for the state.

  46. Malaclypse:

    Again, no equivalent to Gates or Rice is present.

    Condoleezza Rice was a Soviet specialist, appointed a decade after the Soviet Union collapsed. And you are saying the Democrats have no deep bench?

  47. mark f:

    I’m not sure “technocrat” is quite right for Sec of State. It’s probably the one cabinet position where a long career in elected politics deserves to be an important consideration.

  48. mds:

    Brown harmed himself so badly that Warren only underperformed Obama by seven-and-a-half percentage points in a presidential election year. Fortunately, this isn’t Ed Markey’s first trip to the rodeo. Unfortunately, I don’t know how much coordinated opposition he’s used to, given how crushingly he’s always won in his disproportionately-blue district.

  49. Lev @ LibraryGrape.com:

    I’ve heard her mentioned for the CIA. That would be perfect.

  50. anniecat45:

    I’ve lived in San Francisco since DiFi was mayor here. Quite aside from the fact that she’s now 79, and probably doesn’t have the energy to cope with the department, she would be completely lost in the Department of Defense. Her strong point as mayor was that she was willing and able to get down in the weeds of city government, really get into the details of both policy and politics. She could do that in San Francisco, which has 3/4 of a million residents. In the Defense Department she’d be lost in the ocean of details.

    Also, for all that she’s been in politics for 45+ years, she is not really a fighter and is also often deferential to those she views as superiors and/or authorities — such as senior military officers.

    Nope. Not DOD for her. I’d say it’s time for a nice quiet retirement to the wine country.

  51. mark f:

    Brown 2010: 52%
    Brown 2012: 46.34%

  52. Richard:

    I dont think Dianne, who is 79, would want to take on that post and move to DC full time. I haven’t seen her mentioned as a possible Sec of Defense choice. She just won reelection as Senator in an almost uncontested election, and I think she will want to serve out her term and then retire in SF (where she was an outstanding Mayor).

  53. John:

    His district just got more liberal than it was before, no?

  54. joe from Lowell:

    I’ve heard tell of this system that is sometimes used to make sure your party’s candidate is a good-enough politician to win a general election against a strong candidate. It’s called a “competitive primary.”

    I just hope there’s a real contest and the best candidate proves himself (or herself), instead of a coronation.

  55. joe from Lowell:

    I didn’t realize she was 79.

  56. Richard:

    Since she just won reelection, she’s not retiring soon but I think her plan is to serve out her term, at which time she will be 85, and retire to the Bay Area. She’s not taking on any other job before that.

  57. joe from Lowell:

    Brown harmed himself so badly that Warren only underperformed Obama by seven-and-a-half percentage points in a presidential election year.

    Warren was a mediocre rookie candidate running against incumbent Senator. Of course she underperformed a popular incumbent President.

  58. Tybalt:

    With you here, Joe. Scott Brown has no real magic and whoever comes out of the Dem primary (and Markey looks pretty good) should win.

  59. Richard:

    As unlikely as her becoming head of DOD. I don’t think she would take the job, given her age and her attachment to living in California,even if offered (and I think it is highly unlikely it would be offered).

  60. Darkrose:

    I did. I was shocked when I saw that she was running for re-election this year. I’d been hoping she’d retire and let someone else have the job.

  61. Tybalt:

    The US Secretary of State is never a faceless bureaucrat though. It’s one of the most prominent roles in world politics, let alone American politics. To have someone who is used to that sort of stage is a huge asset.

  62. Darkrose:

    And IIRC, Brown’s worse self-inflicted wounds were late in the campaign, so he essentially swung votes away from himself. Now that’s out there, and he’d have to someone pretend that the jerk who sneeringly called an accomplished woman “professor” like it was an insult is totally not just another misogynist white male Republican.

  63. Benjamin:

    Sometimes Rhode Island.

  64. Sharon:

    Well, this nomination helped me win two Pimms and sodas, so I’m quite glad that the President picked Kerry.

    Not as sweet as the $120.00 I won betting the 2006 congressional election, but I’ll take my victories where I can!

  65. Benjamin:

    Though competitive primaries are weird creatures in special elections, where there is less time to run a general election campaign.

  66. djw:

    Now everyone knows that he’s a petty, mean-spirited asshole

    I find this claim difficult to square with his 57% approval rating on the eve of the election.

    Brown lost because MA voters set aside their (irrational) affection for him in favor of their (rational) concern about the possibility of Mitch McConnell, majority leader.

  67. efgoldman:

    Sometimes Rhode Island.

    Except when the bishop thinks he’s in charge (which is anytime he’s awake).
    Only state in New England not to have same-sex marriage.
    Although its probably not true any more, proudly “The most Catholic state in the country.”

  68. CJColucci:

    Brown may have no magic, but he can probably ramp up a campaign organization quickly. Not that that makes him a favorite, but it is a real point in his favor.

  69. efgoldman:

    The closest election Markey ever had, he won with 62% of the vote. He broke 70% last month.

    True, BUT.
    Congresscritters have not always done well in statewide elections. Markey stands as good a chance as any. And he will slam CosmoBoy on all of his GOBP votes, especially those that extended filibusters.
    Its possible, but as long as Markey has been around, I don’t see anything “scandalous” that CosmoBoy can pound the way he did with Warren’s “Indian affirmative action.”

  70. Tybalt:

    For a liberal crowd like ourselves, it might be better to have Capuano in the Senate than Markey, but it seems Markey (who is plenty liberal) might have a better time of it against Brown. After all, Brown isn’t to be greatly feared but he’s streets ahead of the typical Republican congressional candidate from Massachusetts.

  71. Joe:

    after the Daschle fiasco, Sebelius was an important safe choice. Having a border gov. like Napalatino for Homeland made sense though there her replacement left a lot to be desired. Clinton was replaced by a fine choice. Kerry also can be explained.

    So, overall, “many other cases” seems an exaggeration.

  72. joe from Lowell:

    He would definitely be a legitimate candidate, possibly a borderline-strong candidate. I don’t mean to give the impression that I think he’d be a walkover.

    I just think it’s possible for people to overstate his strength here.

  73. scythia:

    Napolitano definitely could have beaten Flake this year. Her 2010 opponent would have been John McCain, who got Tea Partied in the primary that year and would have been walking wounded (NPI) in the general.

  74. joe from Lowell:

    I don’t see anything “scandalous”

    The Republicans don’t need any actual thing to go into their scandal mode. They can mime that stuff at this point.

    That’s why you’ve got to punch them in the gut first. Ideally with something in your hand, like a head-stake.

  75. Ni Hao Lao Wai:

    I love Liz Warren, but calling her a “mediocre rookie” is underselling her. Yeah, she wasn’t Bill Clinton or Ted Kennedy, but she also had just about the perfect biography for the state and the only “dirt” you could hit her on is that she’d talked about native heritage. She cleaned Brown’s clock in the two debates, to the point where when he was behind by more than 5 points at the end of the race he canceled on the final debate. And that’s not mentioning the fundraising. She was a much stronger candidate than just about any Democrat in the state.

    Brown is going to be running in a special election, rather than a general, and is still reasonably well liked even after his race against Warren. He’s also still going to have strong fundraising, and will start with a name recognition over whoever his opponent is. I’m not giving him strong odds, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see him beat even a decent Dem candidate.

  76. joe from Lowell:

    switching from economic recovery to the deficit

    Scott Brown was elected on January 19, 2010. This was two months before the ACA was signed. Obama hadn’t made any change in his economic policies.

    You’re thinking of the November 2010 midterms.

  77. Ni Hao Lao Wai:

    Yes. Which will still have some sway in the special election, but significantly less than in a general election. At the same time, it might make Brown give the Senate a pass and run in the gubernatorial. Which he’d be much more likely to win, and where he’d be less bad.

  78. Ed:

    While we’re assuming 11-dimensional chess, why not assume that Kerry was Obama’s first choice all along, and Rice was floated so that she, instead of his real choice, would be their scalp?

    That’s unlikely and one would hope that it’s untrue. The nomination of Kerry was fine by the GOP for more than one reason and Rice paid dearly for a mere flotation, not that I care much about Rice, who will probably end up as national security adviser.

    There are those in the Administration who are telling the press that Obama just hadn’t made up his mind as to which of the two he really wanted, but still a very bad show.

  79. scythia:

    By far the most damage Brewer did was from the fall of ’09 to the spring of ’10, when she was at risk of facing a serious primary challenge and needed to establish her bona fides. She went HARD wingnut, signed every wackjob bill Pearce put on her desk, and basically tried to outflank every possible challenger to the right.

    Now, maybe the R’s sweep back in in 2010 and do all their crazy shit the next year. But pretty much every AZ Republican was thinking like Brewer back then, and a lot of the super-radical legislation that passed in 2010 felt like it was coming from a place of whipping up the base. After that election, while still terrible, the AZ Repubs actually toned it down a bit on the substance.

    So if Napolitano finishes her term, I don’t think the Rs break as far right in ’11 as they did in ’10. Not that they wouldn’t have been terrible, but they would have been Ohio/Wisconsin terrible, not Alabama terrible.

  80. Richard:

    Erik is, of course, prone to exaggeration

  81. anniecat45:

    Yes, me too.

  82. Eli Rabett:

    True, but she was appointed by Dick Cheney for who the Soviet Union was the eternal enemy

  83. Richard:

    Pimms and soda is a very fine drink.

  84. Warren Terra:

    “not have run again anyway” != replacing him by a special election, which has already been shown to be Scott Brown’s strong suit, and perhaps the Republicans’ generally.

    My preferred outcome would have been a seatwarmer at State for eighteen months (or getting Clinton to stick around and do all her campaigning second-hand), and then Kerry becomes Sec. State in late 2014.

  85. John:

    Winning one special election does not mean that Scott Brown is uniquely skilled in special elections. Nor does it mean that Republicans have an advantage. Democrats have generally done pretty well in House special elections the last few years.

  86. John:

    I suppose this is possible, but I’m doubtful. Arizona is a much worse state than Ohio and Wisconsin, and Republicans in general have been doing terrible things since the 2010 elections. I don’t see why Arizona would resist the trend.

  87. John:

    He would not have been walking wounded in the general – he won easily in the actual election both in the primary and the general.

    And maybe she could have beaten Flake. But maybe not. Probably not if she’d just lost to McCain.

  88. John:

    The perfect biography to get elected in Massachusetts is to be a Harvard professor from Oklahoma?

  89. anniecat45:

    “outstanding” is a bridge too far for me.

    A decent mayor, yes, though I seriously doubt she would have been elected to the job if she hadn’t inherited it after Mayor Moscone was murdered.

  90. JazzBumpa:

    Ohio/Wisconsin terrible isn’t terrible enough?

  91. DocAmazing:

    What about punching them in the head with a gut-stake?

  92. DocAmazing:

    Henry Kissinger got action like crazy as a result. Maybe Kerry can get some foreign-policy strange.

  93. John:

    She’s actually the second oldest senator, after Lautenberg.

  94. John:

    Is Capuano really markedly more liberal than Markey?

  95. Warren Terra:

    Also, and critically, Obama on the ticket brought a lot of people to the polls to vote for his choice; the Obama-haters were going to show up anyway.

  96. DocAmazing:

    Outstanding?

    Yeah, if you had a fondness for police nightsticks upside the head, she was great. Otherwise, not really. The best that can be said of her is that she was a competent administrator.

  97. Panetta to State:

    Nobody could have predicted that you would be wrong again.

  98. zombie rotten mcdonald:

    As long as he doesn’t start using metaphors, he’ll be OK.

  99. cpinva:

    i’m curious about this:

    Although I don’t think it’s enough to risk losing this seat.

    as badly as scott brown got mauled by sen.-elect warren, and as much as he showed his true colors to the MA electorate, what makes you think he’s going to take the special election? unless you’re assuming all those people that voted for warren aren’t going to bother their dainty little hands, by voting in said election.

  100. Origami Isopod:

    With the Rethugs you get a very broad palette of terrible, with infinite and subtle gradations.

  101. cpinva:

    before the MA voters actually got to know him.

    which has already been shown to be Scott Brown’s strong suit,

    they know him now, and rejected him two months ago. what makes you think they will have developed a sudden case of amnesia?

  102. Jeremy:

    I’m pretty sure the numbers on that chart are off due to redistricting. Capuano’s district is the D+29, as I understand things. If you click on the Seventh and look at its Wikipedia page, it has a PVI of D+15.

  103. Murc:

    Because the President of the United States calls them and tells them he needs them to serve their country.

    This, by itself, is a bad reason to do anything.

  104. Jeremy:

    And no matter how much Brown harmed himself, he hasn’t sunk to Romney’s level of being loathed by Massachusetts residents.

  105. Warren Terra:

    An electorate eager to re-elect Obama as President opted to install Obama’s choice as Senator, by a narrower margin. You are assuming the special election will see a similar electorate, and you are assuming that their votes for Warren were votes against Brown; neither is a safe assumption. Furthermore, in the 2012 General Election the voters had some concern that Romney might become President and McConnell might become Majority Leader; they now that replacing Kerrey with Brown will leave Obama with the veto and will leave Reid with the gavel, at least until 2015 and likely beyond.

    Look: I think we all (or most of us) hope Brown is a broken force. But a lot of the arguments intended to reassure that he must be so are rather weakly supported.

  106. mark f:

    Er, and why should he, dumbass?

  107. UserGoogol:

    Hmm, probably. It looked like I was reading it right, but it’s entirely possible Wikipedia is being inconsistent, and it would certainly make sense for Capuano’s district to be more Democratic.

  108. UserGoogol:

    Ah, I see what I did wrong now. D+15 is a little more liberal than the state as a large, (which is D+12) but not remarkably so.

  109. charles pierce:

    As a matter of fact, yes.

  110. Jay C:

    Well, Frank Lautenberg WAS born, I think, during Grover Cleveland’s second Administration, so there’s not much more “senior” that one can get….

  111. fd2:

    [quote]Brown is going to be running in a special election, rather than a general, and is still reasonably well liked even after his race against Warren. [/quote]

    Is he? This isn’t clear to me at all.

  112. SamR:

    Both were term-limited as governors, with their terms up in 2010.

  113. fd2:

    I find his 57% approval rating difficult to square with the fact that he, y’know, lost.

  114. SamR:

    I think the last time was such a shocking upset, people are wary of him.

  115. SamR:

    There was a poll out post-election that had him still well-liked and ahead of the various Dems mentioned (including Markey). I can’t recall who did the poll and I have no idea if its trustworthy.

  116. SamR:

    Every seat is important. I’d agree that seat #55 is less important than seat 50 or than seat 60, but as long as there are people like Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly, Kent Conrad, Max Baucus, Jon Tester, and Mark Pryor as part of the Democratic majority, having 2 Democratic Senators from MA is pretty important.

    I am hopeful that you’re right and maybe Brown simply won’t run. His wife, who sort of serves as his political strategist, seemed to have had enough of it for awhile in the post-election interview I saw with her.

  117. SamR:

    Lincoln Chafee had a 59% approval rating when he lost to Sheldon Whitehouse in 2006.

    The pre-election talk that control of the Senate might be at stake may have been part of the reason for Brown’s loss.

  118. SamR:

    Agreed. She’s horrible, and everyone else here seems to like her. “Oh Boxer goes a little far sometimes, I really like DiFi.” Ugh.

  119. Tybalt:

    I thought so but I really don’t know; I bet some of the locals can figure that one better than me.

  120. joe from Lowell:

    Oddly enough, yes.

  121. joe from Lowell:

    Yeah, she wasn’t Bill Clinton or Ted Kennedy, but she also had just about the perfect biography for the state and the only “dirt” you could hit her on is that she’d talked about native heritage.

    She was very strong on paper. It’s her performance on the trail that was only so-so.

    She cleaned Brown’s clock in the two debates

    That’s more of a reflection on Brown. He cleaned his own clock.

  122. joe from Lowell:

    At the same time, it might make Brown give the Senate a pass and run in the gubernatorial. Which he’d be much more likely to win

    Very true.

  123. joe from Lowell:

    That’s unlikely and one would hope that it’s untrue.

    I find the whole 11-dimensional chess theory unlikely. The Republicans went after the first name Obama floated because that’s what they do, and because she was already in their sites. The idea that they “wanted” Kerry – you know, John Kerry, the guy whose foreign policy was so popular among them that last time he stuck his head up – is an effort to cram the available facts into a predetermined narrative.

  124. joe from Lowell:

    I think there’s a chance Obama doesn’t make John Kerry Secretary of State, and instead, moved Panetta over to State and makes Kerry Secretary of Defense.

    I’m having a real hard time seeing “I think there’s a chance” as something one can be wrong about.

  125. joe from Lowell:

    They’re probably roughly equivalent overall, but they have different focuses.

    Markey is a big environmentalist, while Capuano focuses more on urban issues.

  126. Halloween Jack:

    But what did Brown really run on? As far as I can tell, his special election campaign centered around driving a pick-up truck (his regular-guy image helped immensely by Martha Coakley never passing up a chance to alienate voters), and the race against Warren was based on a box that she checked on an application once. In all seriousness, aside from “reasonably well liked” and “name recognition” and other nebulous factors, what has he got?

  127. djw:

    While it’s fairly rare, it’s not that hard to explain. They disliked his party more than they liked him.

  128. Richard:

    She probably wouldn’t have been elected on her own but she took office in a difficult time and, IMHO, did a great job

  129. Law Spider:

    My complaint about Markey is that he’s 66. Putting aside the occasional vigorous octogenarian, most likely he has two terms, three at the outside. Given the value of seniority in the Senate, couldn’t the party have found a strong liberal who is 50 or 55? It’s not as if there is a dearth of Dems in Mass from which to choose.

  130. mark f:

    helped immensely by Martha Coakley never passing up a chance to alienate voters

    That’s not fair. Sometimes she simply ignored them.

  131. mark f:

    Kerry dated Morgan Fairchild, then married a woman worth almost a billion dollars.

    His skill with diplomacy is not to be underrated.

  132. Anonymous:

    Perhaps, but you certainly wanted credit if you were right. Otherwise you would not have linked to your comment on a different blog back in November when Loomis wrote a similar post.

    joe from Lowell says:
    November 14, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Oh, btw: Nobody could have predicted that John Kerry would be in the running for Secretary of Defense.
    david mizner says:
    November 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Wow, you’re so wise.

    Do you save all your comments so that you can then link to them in case you were right?

    Reply
    joe from Lowell says:
    November 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Pat pat pat. There there, david.

    Someday you’ll be right about something. I mean, law of averages and all.

    Just keep believing.

  133. Another Halocene Human:

    I don’t live in Mass any more, but Brown is deeply damaged as a candidate now. Also, too, I think the grownups in the Dem donor base/party are not going to blunder this time. Their arrogance gave us Brown but they want power too much (and don’t forget the authorities looking the other way from their petty corruption and depredations) to try that again.

    I think Markey can win but I’d love to see Capuano. Also interested to see if Setti Warren will run again. He probably needs more experience but I’d take him over Deval Patrick as gov.

    If the national GOP thinks Brown is a shoo-in, they need to think again because Brown shot himself in the foot with Mass voters. Badly. He looks like a punk and a jerk and a weasel now. Oh, and racist. He had deniability until his staffers were caught on video doing tomahawk chops. The only racists in Massachusetts who are proud of it are some scattered rednecks in Central Mass (Clinton, anyone? Oh, I’ll understand if you pass. I would.) and the throwbacks in Southie, which is prime Dem machine territory. To anyone else, you might BE a racist but it’s important that you dont LOOK LIKE a racist. That would make you a SOUTHERNER and there’s nothing worse in Massachusetts than having that south of the Mason-Dixon line smell.

    Heck, in Massachusetts the line dancing/western dance scene is practically an underground circuit.

    Makes me wonder what will happen to the Eastern Mass bluegrass scene now that the always free Mountain Men have gone full re-racist.

  134. John:

    How? What other Harvard professors from Oklahoma (or their equivalent) have been elected in Massachusetts? Isn’t it more plausible to think that Warren’s biography was a net negative?

  135. John:

    Warren Christopher is about as close to a “faceless bureaucrat” as any cabinet secretary I can think of.

  136. John:

    I’m sure this has to do with “Ed Markey wants to be a senator” (and has wanted to be a Senator for 30 years now) than with “the party” finding candidates.

  137. Another Halocene Human:

    Bingo. Don’t confuse Romney-hate with Obama-love. Also, Warren had a number of strikes against her besides lack of experience, one of them being “not from aroooound hiyah.”

  138. Eric:

    Sebelius wanted to get the fuck out of Kansas, that’s why.

  139. JL:

    Markey’s my rep, and I like him, but I have no idea whether he has any name recognition outside of this deep-blue district. Presumably that’s what the campaign will be trying to achieve.

    There’s also the issue that Brown might be running low on money. The guy has staged two Senate campaigns in the last 2-3 years, one of which just finished.

  140. bianca steele:

    Markey is my Representative. It’s an oddly shaped district, pretty solidly Democratic, following the old commuting towns, more or less. It’s surrounded I think by less Democratic but still not quite Republican old manufacturing towns, merging a little farther out with smaller old manufacturing towns with lots of newer exurban development, where things turn redder. Close enough but not in the same congressional district.

    I don’t think either Capuano or Dewey is nearly as prominent as Markey. Capuano may have built up more of a machine outside of Boston and the (roughly) Kennedy camp since the primary where he lost to Coakley.

    Brown seems to have lost the confidence of both the “I’ll try anything once” in-state independents and a variety of national supporters.

  141. JL:

    I’ve lived in both of their districts in the last five years. They’re both quite solid liberals (and generally allies and buddies to each other, from what I understand). They have different focuses, like JfL said. I like both of them quite a lot.

    They also have different personalities. Capuano is a real down-to-earth brawling townie type, in a good way. About a year and a half ago, he spoke at a Planned Parenthood rally that I attended. There were a few anti-abortion counterprotesters who were trying to charge the stage and who were physically assaulting the Planned Parenthood supporters. After the rally, the biggest of them, who was at least a head taller than Capuano and probably over a hundred pounds heavier, followed Capuano (who was by himself) to his car, screaming and swearing at him from maybe five feet away (I followed both of them, as I was worried that the cops weren’t paying attention and thought the guy might attack Capuano). Capuano stopped, turned around, and started shouting and swearing right back at the enormous angry guy, until an anxious-looking young cop showed up to break them up.

    Markey can be hilariously snarky at times, but he comes off as more…refined, less of a barroom brawler. He’s experienced and savvy, and definitely a hard worker willing to do unglamorous party-building work, but he’s not a rough-and-tumble Masshole like Capuano.

    I think Capuano would be hilarious in the Senate, but Markey’s temperament might be more stylistically suited to it. I’d expect them both to be staunch liberals.

  142. JL:

    Oh, one thing I haven’t seen mentioned yet in this thread…because of redistricting, Markey’s old district is going away, and a lot of what used to be his district will be in Capuano’s, IIRC. That might be part of what’s going on here.

  143. bianca steele:

    That’s true in the Boston area, I think (I just checked to make sure I was actually still in Markey’s district). He lost a few of the closer-in, may as well be incorporated towns near Boston, but gained a few out by Framingham (Wayland, Sudbury, Sherborn, Ashland, Holliston), which have been growing quickly but are old-settled towns that still mostly trend Democrat. The central core along the commuter rail line are in his new district.

  144. bianca steele:

    For that matter: To call Brown a kind of upwardly mobile Masshole is an oversimplification. The edges have been well smoothed off. The craziness is, I think, something else entirely. But there’s something to it that might explain his appeal, and also his apparently not being too successful in Washington.

  145. joe from Lowell:

    So it looks like I’m not going to get my wish for a competitive primary. Kerry, Vicki Kennedy, and the DSCC have all endorsed Markey.

    Coming so soon after the Kennedy Koronation, I’m pretty disappointed in Massachusetts Democrats. What are we afraid of, some open debate?

  146. JL:

    That would make you a SOUTHERNER and there’s nothing worse in Massachusetts than having that south of the Mason-Dixon line smell.

    This is somewhat true, to my irritation (I’m a Massachusetts social dem who grew up in the South). In a weird twist, Occupy Boston, at least the heavily involved fraction of it, was disproportionately full of Southern transplants (who were themselves disproportionately not-white-men, I noticed). I never did figure out what, if anything, was behind that phenomenon. But it was a nice change to be in leftist/liberal circles in Massachusetts where people didn’t act like being from the South was something shameful.

  147. AgentS:

    The problem for Mass Dems is getting turnout. Special elections and mid-term elections are slow voting affairs for not-involved-all-the-time-ers.
    To win, they will really have to either a) push people to the polls or b) get Brown to say something sexist or racist (again). That won’t be hard to do, so forcing errors by Brown will be key to victory.

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