We may have to re-deploy … soon.

Rumors are swirling that John Kerry is not long for the Senate. We know he could end up as Sec. of State. And now we’re hearing that he might get Sec. of Defense. Apparently Reid hates the idea, because he doesn’t want to fight Scott Brown again. And the administration’s got some thinking to do, since next-in-line on Foreign Relations is Bob Menendez of NJ, who’s a lot more “hawkish” (ie. a grandstanding nuisance) on issues like Iran, for instance.

Ernie brings up the option of Deval self-appointing. He would be the obvious next-in-line, but I just don’t think he’ll do that.  Aside from him … who are the luminaries that could run against and beat Scott Brown — again? You would want someone who’s well-known, that can engender loyalty and energy from the Dem base, and who is able to run strongly against Brown down the middle as well. And whose name doesn’t rhyme with Siddhartha Stokely.

Who is that? Is there another outsider lib to save our bacon a la Deval and Liz?

Recommended by methuenprogressive, sharoney.


109 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. I think he could trounce Scott Brown as well – anyone else?

  2. Brown Senatorial Gamut

    One thing I have not seen talked about as far as a deterrent for brown running for Senate is that not only would he be engaged in a third Senatorial campaign in three years, but, should he win, he would also have to run a fourth campaign for re-election in 2014 – a brutal and maybe unprecedented 4 Senatorial campaigns in 4 years!

    Does he have the energy, will and resources to pull that off? Running 4 state-wide campaigns in 4 years seems like a tall order.

    • And just think of the mileage he'll put on his truck!

      Did you see the best craigslist ad ever? It’s been removed from there, but DKos immortalized it in an open thread the other day:

      Pickup Truck/Campaign Prop (Wrentham)

      Rarely used green GMC Canyon pickup truck for sale. Was used mainly to pander to voters so little actual wear and tear. Low mileage and in good shape- truck was garaged for long stretches until owner needed to pretend to be “regular guy.” State of art GPS system which allows driver to completely avoid all urban areas, communities of color and Cambridge. Alignment might need some work- truck always seems to pull to the right.

      Several vintage political bumper stickers need to be removed.

    • While not looking for another fight with Brown,

      I wonder if he could win, given that his independence from the hardline Republican agenda has been shown to be phony, plus the squandering of his good guy persona has rendered him unelectable any time soon. The same guy we said last week was unacceptable as our Senator, hasn’t changed his character, and is still unacceptable. Any Republican candidate for national office is always considered a sure vote for the Republican agenda.

  3. Why do we assume...

    …that we need some white knight riding in from outside of politics? Ordinarily the Senate should NOT be one’s first political office IMO. The Governor would be great, but the Post article talking about Kerry for SecDef also indicated Panetta isn’t necessarily stepping down right away. If Panetta stays on for half a term then Kerry could simply not seek re-election in 2014 and Patrick could run without resigning the corner office before his term expires. I would also still be open to Marty Meehan who I have for a long time seen as Senate material.

    • Agreed

      I mentioned this possibility on mike_cotes related thread about Deval taking a seat. I would say these are all scenarios for the junkies, of which I confess to being a horrid one.

      But the more important thing is that the President picks the best man (or the first woman!) for the job to be Secretary of Defense and if he happens to think that Kerry fits the mold than we can worry about it later. I still think post-Hillary that Kerry makes a better choice than Susan Rice for State, though part of me would love to see the President pick a fight on her confirmation. If the GOP caves on Rice they are more likely to cave on other issues too.

      I think Defense is a good place to put a woman like Hillary since it involves slightly less overseas travel and would be a history making appointment, but I doubt she would go for it. Rice and Powers are bad fits for defense. Perhaps Olympia Snowe in a nod to bipartisanship and Republican Mainers, or Susan Collins for that matter (and a seat snatching opportunity). On that note I also think it would behoove the President to appoint a high profile Republican to a major cabinet position but there are so few that would work without pissing off the base. Petraeus would’ve been an interesting choice but he is toast, Powell is too old and Gates wouldn’t want to return. Hagel and Lugar are also too old (especially Lugar-though Ambassador to Russia is possible). Various gay rights groups have wanted an openly gay cabinet member and I think a foreign policy position like a high profile ambassadorship or one of these spots could work but I can’t think of any openly gay foreign policy leaders off the top of my head (though would love to be corrected). Figuring out this question first is more important to me.

      As others pointed out its unlikely, though not impossible, that Brown would want to run so soon for a comeback. Healy or Card are more sensible nominees but they’d be running from behind. McGovern needs to mature a little bit on foreign policy but is otherwise a good candidate and probably my favorite out of the delegation.

      • Petraeus ineligible for SecDef

        Minor point, but even if he hadn’t just destroyed his career, Petraeus would have still been ineligible for Secretary of Defense — you can’t have recently been active duty military and get that appointment.

        Meanwhile, Brown would be smart to think about Governor instead of Senate — he wouldn’t have to defend the national GOP in a state race, though I doubt his ability to actually do the job effectively. I’m hoping McGovern runs in a special election — he’d be a good candidate, even without a lot of foreign policy expertise (and, really, how much expertise on foreign policy does Elizabeth Warren have?).

        • Foreign Policy experience not criteria...

          You don’t need any foreign policy experience to run for Senate…(Warren, Kennedy, Kerry, Brooke…to name a few….you don’t even need it to run for President!) McGovern would be a great US Senator.

      • you think that Jim McGovern is light on foreign policy? He has actually been ahead of the main stream on many issues including Darfur. I would certainly not dismiss his credentials on any subject. And, his constituent services, approachability and unflappable progressive vision are needed.

        What I truly appreciate about Jim McGovern is that he is about action. A Harvard Professor and a scrapper from Woostah, nice Dem. combo. In fact, I was thinking about the need to wed the “intellectual progressives” with the working class progressives in the Commonwealth and wonder if Steve Tolman is up for the job? That would be the vision, I would want at the AFL-CIO today. Divisiveness between the progressive and labor factions of the Democratic party is a vulnerability that can and will be exploited by the Backwards parties.

        My first choices are Warren and Patrick however.

        I doubt that Brown’s marriage could take another campaign trashing. How often can you use your truck and/or female family members to mirage an image?

        • Libya

          He sided with the Kucinich-Paul isolationist wing, along with Capuano. He should’ve been behind the President 100%, the Libyan intervention was keeping with the tradition of realist liberal internationalism, let us intervene to stop genocides where our intervention can do good, let us lead with an international coalition and UN approval. In many ways the anti-Iraq, for him and Kucinich and Paul to compare it to Iraq was irresponsible.

          That said he is one of the better Congressmen, him or Markey would do just fine.

          • McGovern Right, Obama Wrong on Libya

            The eastern Libya, Benghazi crowd who has taken over from Kaddafi are Al-Qaeda, Jihadist religious fanatics who have lynched Black African guest workers that Kaddafi brought to Libya. McGovern knows that American intervention in the Middle East has been a disaster and we should just butt out. Should US Military people come home in body bags so that politicians are not called “isolationist” by media gasbags? I say no way.

            • This was my concern

              I don’t know enough about what’s actually going on there, but there’s plenty of precedent in the region for a dictator to be replaced by Islamists. Once you unleash a revolution there it’s nearly impossible to control it and get the “desired” results.

              • Inevitable

                I fear we are so blinded by our own self-serving nationalistic dogma that we assume that “democracy” assures “desired” results. Such naivete fails to accommodate several material facts about the ME:

                1. The dictators who stayed in power largely did so because they were responsive to foreign big-player (US, Russia, China) interests. Those interests include protecting Israel and assuring affordable petroleum. The US, as one of those big players, was instrumental in suppressing majority rule throughout the region.

                2. Most of the population of the ME hates Israel and wants to see it destroyed.

                3. Most of the population of the ME hates the US because of our support for Israel and for the dictators that kept that population suppressed.

                An immediate consequence of majority rule of any nation in the region is, therefore, (a) a dramatic turn against Israel and (b) a dramatic turn against the US.

                It isn’t just Al Qaeda or “Jihadists religious fanatics” or even “Islamists” that we have to worry about — it is the people themselves. Short of a complete and total occupation ala WWII Germany or Japan, we are going to be unwanted for at least a generation.

                • Always a third way

                  I disagree with the stark view if those that would let Israel die and our regional commitments waver in exchange for some truce with Islamism. I also disagree with the neocons that occupying multiple countries at once is a moral or practical use of American power.

                  Obama with Hillary at his side has staged a third course. We bolster nascent democracies and side with the moderate factions of the Arab spring, we resolve crises multilaterally instead of unilaterally as utilize international institutions and norms. We deploy soft and harder power on a case by case basis. In Cairo we pushed Muburak out and the Brotherhood is committed to good relations with the US and Israel in exchange for us staying out if their internal affairs. Tunisia is fast becoming democratic and Libya elected a liberal and the vast majority of Libyans wanted the intervention and helped us in Benghazi and are actively fighting the perpetraitors now. Iran is buckling and ready to negotiate, Netenyahu will lose re-election and the violence in Syria is contained and with the resistance coalescing around moderate goals and a passive no fly zone we could see tangible progress soon.

                  Idealism balanced with realism, not indifference to the suffering of others (especially hypocritical from one of the leading champions of intervening in Darfur) nor is it foolhardy imperial overreach. It’s a sensible compromise between those tensions, messy and sometimes inconsistent, but consistent with our values and capabilities.

                  • I don't see what this has to do with my comment

                    I’m having trouble parsing your first paragraph. I’m not sure what “stark view” you contemplate. I’m not suggesting, necessarily, that we “let Israel die”. I’m not sure what “regional commitments” you mean — I don’t know what you mean by “some truce with Islamism”. I agree that the approach taken by President Obama and Ms. Clinton is probably the best — I do not share your optimistic view of how it will ultimately play out.

                    It seems to me that your comment is unresponsive to the thrust of mine. Most Egyptians despise Israel, as do most Libyans, most Syrians, and most Iranians. It therefore follows that any sort of majority rule in those countries will result in governments that are more hostile to Israel than the dictatorships being replaced (except in Iran, of course). There is similar hostility to the US — not necessarily to Americans, per se, but to US policy in the region.

                    In short, although I agree that President Obama’s policy is the best we can do, I suggest that ultimately we are just kicking the can down the road. Here are the realities that I think President Obama hopes will happen on a Republican watch:

                    1. Iran will get nuclear weapons sooner or later. Posturing to the contrary is just that. The nuclear genie is out of the bottle, and will not be put back in. The fact that Israel already has nuclear capability makes this reality all the more certain.

                    2. The continued existence of Israel, as a secular nation, is not sustainable in the long-term. The only way Israel can survive is to morph itself into a non-sectarian nation that is as friendly to its non-Jewish citizens as it is to its Jews. Continuing the current paradigm of Israel as “the Jewish homeland” guarantees war.

                    3. The US must view the people of the Middle East as people, regardless of their religious beliefs. This is not “some truce with Islamism”, this is recognizing that we must move beyond religious stereotyping of entire populations. America is NOT a “Christian nation”. Israel is not sustainable as a “Jewish homeland”. So long as we view the ME as “Muslim nations”, we will never attain sustainable peace. So long as “Muslim” is used as an epithet in America by anything other than extremist fringe groups, we will never achieve sustainable peace.

                    I suggest that realism demands accepting these three realities, and insisting on some other path is naive, overly idealistic, or both. Accepting these three realities in no way implies “indifference to the suffering of others”, and is the foundation of unwinding the “imperial overreach” that has characterized US policy towards the region since before WWII.

                    Finally, I suggest that the separation of church and state is among our most primal national “values and capabilities”. The tortured history of Israel demonstrates the wisdom and necessity of that separation. Our recent attempts to blur that separation domestically has done significant harm to our own national health.

                    • Our ends are different

                      That is where we disagree. Also the way you took the Israel and Islamism terminology out of context makes me regret using them, but Islamism is a real political force not a Fox News talking point. It can be moderate as Edrogan is, as Morsi could be with the right carrots and sticks, and even produce liberalism as it has in Libya. To argue that our Libyan intervention enabled terrorists is to take a right wing Paul Ryan debate talking point and make it fact, it is not. Ambassador Stephens was killed, in part, because he request a small detail and because he was revered in the region as one of the many who helped Benghazi stay protected and eventually liberated from Qadaffi’s thugs. The intervention saved lives and stopped a genocide, and Congressman McGovern not only opposed it but has hypocritically supported a similar intervention in Sudan. I have tremendous respect for his domestic politics and concede he was ahead of me on Afghanistan, but he was dead wrong on Libya and should account for it and atone for it if possible.

                      As for the rest of the Arab Spring Tunisia has also quietly transitioned to a liberal democracy, in phases, but it will get there. Iran is already at the negotiating table, the entire point was to get them a civilian capability and to use the tool as leverage to get concessions like the North Koreans have. The North Koreans ruined that strategy for other rogue states and that is why Iran’s efforts will be thwarted, peacefully I might add. Their society is at the economic breaking point and could not shoulder a war with the US or Israel, were war the last option at least this President, in contrast to his predecessor, has assembled an international and multilateral coalition and has not differed to Israel on this matter.

                      In regards to Israel, if the GOP can berate the President consistently during the campaign while my more left wing friends feel he is an AIPAC tool than he is angering the right people on both sides and heeding to a moderate course. Netenyahu seriously has undermined his credibility because of his alienation of the Obama administration and mainstream Israeli’s are upset that he has coddled the Hasidic welfare recipients and draft dodgers while hewing further and further to the right in his coalition, even on economics in a historically socialist country. I would argue there are already is a secular state in the former Palestinian mandate and its name is Israel, the sooner the more radical Israeli’s realize that, and realize that the Palestinian state is the only way to end constant warfare and violence the better. The center and left wing parties will be running a united front, in Abbas they have a partner for peace and may be able to make a separate settlement with Fatah that delegitimizes Hamas. A legacy minded President no longer fearful of domestic politics on the issue will, in my view, do a lot for peace especially since the timing is starting to look better that he has two partners at the same table.

                      The US, as much as the Paultards and Kucinish/Chomsky lefties might want it to, cannot simply withdraw from the Middle East and throw Israel under the bus and hope that solves all of our issues over there. The lack of consistent US leadership in the Arab Spring has been roundly criticized from all corners, including some of the more extreme Islamists, and in fact the people may want more, not less leadership.

                      I can agree with you that the days of coddling dictatorships in the names of grander Middle East stability and our oil interests are numbered, the days of following Israel’s lead on peace policy are likewise numbered. The street has spoken, and a policy that engages it and respectfully listens to it and meets it half way is one that could work. My generation is tired of war, and as the first living under digital globalization is more interconnected than any other. We all want peace, I saw in Chicago Copts and Muslims get together to protest Muburak at the downtown consulate, and join Syrians and Libyans begging the US to intervene decisively on the side of freedom and human rights. They were mostly my age.

                    • Sustainability is the key

                      In my view, Israel as a secular state is not sustainable. The growth of Islamic states around it makes that even more true. In my view, this was the real folly of our invasion of Iraq — I think we will pay the price for that catastrophic blunder for generations to come. I do not share your optimism (if that is what it is) that Iran is about to crumble. We may see the current government fall, but I am not confident that the aftermath will be any better than what we have now.

                      I think that the ONLY path towards sustainable peace in the ME is to reduce or eliminate the role of religion in the governments of the region. So long as nuclear-armed government leaders view themselves as “instruments of God” (or “Allah”), the bloodshed will continue.

                    • We can agree on that

                      I think there would have been pushback from the secular majority in Israel against the religious parties, now that the Gaza operation has started they might rally around the government. Our best hope is for that to happen, and its a faint hope.

                    • Today's destruction of Hamas Offices exemplifies the problem

                      I’m sorry, but I don’t believe that ANY military purpose was served by destroying the offices of Hamas in Gaza. In my view, this exemplifies the bullying cowardice of Mr. Netanyahu. The hypocrisy of conducting this stupid exercise in cosmetics simultaneously with a public call for President Obama to “discuss options for ‘de-escalating’ the situation in Israel and Gaza” is nauseating.

                      I hope that President Obama graciously reminds Mr. Netanyahu that Mr. Netanyahu’s ham-handed interference in US politics was counterproductive, and vigorously re-asserts that the most effective way to “de-escalate” the situation is to establish an independent Palestinian state.

                      I am out of patience with Israel’s eagerness to manufacture crises and then use them to bludgeon their neighbors and embarrass America.

                    • One agree one disagree

                      We are in total agreement that there shouldn’t be a ground offensive and they should not target the civilian government. Surgical strike against militants and rocket sites are justified, since, and we disagree on this, Hamas started the latest round by lobbing rockets against Israel’s civilians so I would disagree they manufactured this particular crisis. In the long run as Netenyahu and Lieberman have done NOTHING to pursue peace, and they should be held responsible. Obama has to put their feet to the fire, and McCain actually had a good idea by suggesting we send Bill Clinton over there to act as the envoy to broker a truce and hopefully a lasting peace.

                    • What else should the Palestinians do?

                      I characterize this crisis as manufactured by Israel because, in my view, they have put the Palestinians in a corner where they have no other options. I agree that Israel is justified in striking “militants and rocket sites”, regardless of who initiated this latest go-round. The Palestinians surely understand and expect Israel to to respond to their rockets.

                      I agree about Bill Clinton. I say that with an underlying assumption that he, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama have a clear, candid, frank, and shared understanding of the various sticks that the US may employ in addition to the usual carrots regarding Israel. Mr. Clinton was within a hairsbreadth of brokering a deal in the final days of his presidency, and in his autobiography expresses disappointment that he allowed himself to be distracted by North Korea. He also expressed impatience with Yassar Arrafat.

                      Having said all this, it seems clear to me that the long-contemplated two-state solution is the only sustainable outcome. Whatever combination of carrots and sticks are required, it is Israel that needs to be brought to the table.

                      In my view, the most effective step Israel could take in defusing the entire ME conflict is to become a strong and effective advocate for the Palestinian people. This step would emasculate Iran and remove a major recruiting tool for the various Islamic terrorist factions. I continue to believe that the Israeli view of itself as a Jewish state is the principle barrier to taking that necessary step. It seems to me that this shares resonances with Bill Clinton’s masterful handling of the welfare issue that strengthened the GOP for so long. It was only when he led the Democratic party to give up what amounted an article of political faith that he accomplished this great step.

                      The Israeli who takes this bold step will be hailed as a great leader. The question is whether such a man or woman exists in Israel today.

                    • here we are in full agreement

                      As I stated in Heartland Dems related post, after Arafat dillied and dallied on an agreement and than decided another intifada was more fun, the process was dead. But in Abbas we have had a patient, moderating, willing partner. He just has stood alone. With the exception of Olmert’s last minute gamble, which so soon after Lebanon might not have been serious, we have seen little from the Israeli’s. While there was some hope for a ‘only Nixon could go to China’ moment from Netenyahu at the start of his term, that hope has eviscerated. I honestly think a separate, negotiated peace with Abbas and the Israeli and American UN ambassadors crafting a joint statehood resolution would send a huge signal. It would be a gamechanger. Establishing a sovereign West Bank, giving up some of Israel proper to account for settlements, would allow the PA to gain the upper hand and deprive Hamas of its goals and ambitions and deprive Iran and the militants within the Arab Spring of a lot of their rhetoric. It needs to happen. Lets hope this latest round of war ends soon and we get the center-left government Israel and Palestine deserve.

    • Please dear god no, not Marty Meehan.

      He’s great on green policy and a couple of other things, and is a pretty smart guy, but I am not interested in endorsing his sort of politics.

      He’s Lowell through and through, and that’s not a compliment.

  4. Brown and Warren

    If you really want to speculate about a special election, I think it would be fun to have Setti Warren oppose Brown. That way, when the election is over, the headline could be the same: Warren defeats Brown.

  5. I know he likes his House position

    But I’d take Ed Markey

  6. Pick ONE DEM--NO Bloody Primary AGAIN

    See, when it is safe to run, all the Dems can try and then sully each other. Have we learned nothing? Pick one person–and the rest should fold. That’s what most helped EW, Setti, Massie, Khazei, Conroy all bowed out.
    Anyone know how much cash Brown has on hand? MArty has 5 million I’ve been told.

    • There's no room filled with insiders

      trying to appoint someone, so they can fire up the white smoke.

      The Democratic Party has an actual primary process, and anyone eligible is welcome to participate in it.

      Moreover, I’ve yet to be convinced that primaries are automatically damaging to the party that has them. Sometimes they have been, but often they’re helpful, too.

      On that point, that the candidates facing EW largely dropped out (I say largely, because at least one stayed in to the convention) doesn’t mean there wasn’t a primary process or that had the primary field stayed in longer, Liz would have somehow been damaged.

      All of folks who dropped out made it pretty clear they were going to play nice when they were in the race, and the lone wolf who stayed in was the only one who didn’t — and it didn’t matter.

      So… I think it’s futile to say we need to avoid a primary, because we have no control over it, and I think the assumption that it would hurt us is a bad one, perhaps even damaging (if, say, a better candidate stays out because of the desire to avoid a primary process).

      RyansTake   @   Tue 13 Nov 11:40 AM
      • I do think in a primary, candidates should be strongly encouraged

        to focus on their positives and limit the mudslinging toward others in their own party. One can — and should — point out an opponent’s shortcomings without demonizing them.

        That said, though, I don’t agree that there shouldn’t be a primary if there are at least two viable candidates. I strongly opposed a primary in the recent Senate race because DeFranco was not a viable candidate.

        • The primary process worked last time

          DeFranco’s weak campaign lost her a chance at getting through the convention, where anyone is free to field a slate of candidates and work toward that 15%. That’s an example of the primary process working.

          RyansTake   @   Tue 13 Nov 4:53 PM
      • Agnostic on Primaries

        I think it is a case by case basis. The 2009-2010 special election primary did not tank Coakley so I think it is wrong to assume it was hurt another special. However, I do think we need to widen the gap between the general and the primary. Primaries themselves may or may not be damaging, but the more time in between, the more time to put rebuild any burnt bridges.

    • I am against

      crowning a winner before a primary. Here’s why

      At their best, a primary fight strengthens a campaign and does a real lot of vetting. The MA-05 special election for Meehan’s seat is my prime example of this. A lot of deep discussion about policies and very civil, even with one of the candidates being quite-far-of-center-right state Rep. Jim Miceli.

      My two most faves in that race lost (Eldridge, and Donoghue) but both used their name rec and experience running district-wide to run for state Senate where they both are now (as did Finegold). In other words, a lively and competitive primary gave us a deeper progressive Democratic bench. Tsgonas, in order to win, had to WORK for it and that helped against Republican Oganowski.

      Now, granted, DeFrano was a distraction and did some piling on to get media time, but she was no more than that – a distraction. Also, again, it helps to have even a weak primary opponent so that your supporters have incentives to jump on board and start work early.

      She might have been useless from a discussion standpoint, but even DeFranco had her uses. Also, it’s little-d democratic not to squash unnecessarily a primary race.

  7. As much as I am not a fan of John Kerry

    it would be foolish right now to subject Massachusetts to another senate race. Brown supporters are outraged, and would love the opportunity to show Democrats the door once again. It’s too risky and we’ve made too much progress to take 5 steps back by putting a politicians personal life’s goals ahead of the people he/she serves.
    If by chance it should happen anyway, I like Markey and McGovern, could definitely enthusiastically support either one. I am also a huge fan of Mike Capuano. He came in 2nd in the primary, as well he has name recognition from the 2010 race, which is very important. We would have to be sure that the Dems held onto the seat in the House.

    • it would be foolish right now to subject Massachusetts to another senate race.

      We’re pooped. I can still fall asleep any time of the day just by sitting somewhere comfy and closing my eyes. And when I do fall asleep, I have dreams (or nightmares if you prefer) about having to cut more canvass turfs.

      I think the current physical and mental state of the grassroots has to come into play at least a little bit.

      • Lol, totally hear you.

        That is an incredibly important point jasiu.

      • bear in mind

        the appointments wouldn’t happen until January, at the earliest, and the elections wouldn’t be held for another ~6 months after that. We may still be pooped now, but I don’t think we should be about 8 months from now.

        While I don’t want to put the Senate seat at risk, I would even go so far as to say special elections can serve a purpose in terms of keeping the grassroots engaged. Otherwise, town committees and other groups need to find excuses to stay active — and many won’t.

        RyansTake   @   Tue 13 Nov 11:46 AM
        • rough timeline

          The general election has to be held 145-160 days from the date of vacancy. In 2009-10, this is how it went down:

          8/25/2009: Ted passed away
          12/8/2009: Primary
          1/19/2010: General

          If we use the inauguration date as a strawman vacancy date (1/21/2013), that would give us a May primary and a June general. So eight months until the election is right.

          However, it isn’t eight months until people start getting asked to do things. That happens almost immediately after the rumors become credible.

          I don’t imagine being fired up and ready to go in January. Others’ mileage may vary.

    • Sorry but 2nd to Coakley doesn't inspire much confidence

      I thought Capuano ran a terrible primary campaign. Despite serving in Congress he had little name recognition outside his district and political junkie circles. He did nothing to put a dent in Coakley’s standing, instead running a politically tone-deaf campaign (in the year of anger at incumbents, you run as the insider? Really?) and criticizing her for a stand on healthcare that he then flip-flopped to support the next day.

      Bottom line is that if he had no idea how to deal with Coakley’s name recognition I doubt he’d have any clue how to deal with Brown’s favorables.

      • Seriously, do we have to go negative already?

        No thanks, so not ready to go through that again.

        • going negative?

          I supported Capuano in 2009 but have to acknowledge that he didn’t connect well. I heard over and over again from women who really felt offended by the way he handled himself. I don’t think that’s going negative to mention the negative attributes of potential candidates. The brash truth-telling up front attitude that he displays is something that I love, but I have to admit it just didn’t play well for him in the broader Democratic universe.

          I think McGovern is highly intriguing.

          • I tend to agree

            Since 2009 we’ve also had the “getting a little bloody” thing, which didn’t bother me one bit, but it seems a lot of people didn’t like it, and it might particularly alienate moderate women.

            Since about half of men seem determined to vote Republican for some reason I’ll never understand, Democrats in a close race need to run up big margins with women. I like Capuano very much but his abrasive, aggressive style would probably not do that.

            • Mathman!

              Erm, if half of men are determined to vote GOP, that leaves the other half to vote Dem. Then, you only need to get the vote of one more woman than the Republicans and you’ve got yourself a majority.

              Of course, the math isn’t quite that simple, but your analysis is awfully simplistic too!

              Then again, my wife likes Capuano’s style, so my anecdote may not align with the data.

              • Now now

                It all depends on the candidates. The GOP candidate could win with men by 55-45 and then we’d need a much bigger majority with women. The Dem could win men 55-45 and then we wouldn’t need a majority of women’s votes at all.

                I get the math. I’m only saying that, if women are an important part of the Democratic coalition these days, you might not want to run a candidate whose appeal to them is questionable. Whether Capuano’s is or isn’t we can debate, but I’ve seen indications that it is, especially when you’re talking about women farther out into the suburbs who live in more Republican-friendly territory and were put off by Shannon O’Brien.

                I like Capuano’s style myself (I’m a guy so that doesn’t speak to how women perceive it). I’m just saying I don’t think Capuano is the strongest candidate the Democrats could run in a Senate special election if one takes place.

          • He was not perfect, but none of them are

            I didn’t see him having a problem with women at all. He was very connected with many different constituencies. Made them all feel very important. I’m still signed up for his House email service and he sends them out regularly. Explains what happened in Congress that week, how he voted and why, upcoming issues etc. In any case, he is definitely one to consider. If all three of them, Capuano, McGovern, and Markey, threw their hat in the ring, it would be really hard to choose.

        • going negative?

          I supported Capuano in 2009 but have to acknowledge that he didn’t connect well. I heard over and over again from women who really felt offended by the way he handled himself. I don’t think that’s going negative to mention the negative attributes of potential candidates. The brash truth-telling up front attitude that he displays is something that I love, but I have to admit it just didn’t play well for him in the broader Democratic universe.

          I think McGovern is highly intriguing.

        • I'm not sure what your definition of 'go negative' is

          But my definition of going negative doesn’t encompass “daring to say anything that doesn’t heap praise upon a candidate you like.”

          I did not say he’s a lousy congressman, I said he ran a lousy race. Perhaps your definition of running an effective primary campaign involves losing by almost 20 points. Mine doesn’t.

          By the way, here’s how I would define going negative: criticizing one of your Democratic opponents for a position you claim “is a classic example of not understanding how you have to work with others. That’s a fatal flaw for somebody who wants to be a legislator.” Yup, that was Rep. Capuano, a day before he changed his mind.

          • No, he didn't run a lousy campaign

            I was a volunteer for that campaign and it was managed very well. Get the message straight oceandreams. Dealing with spin is one of the most outrageous and debilitating things we as activists have to overcome in order to get the truth out to the electorate. If you are talking about the vote on healthcare, . It is much better to share the context of what really happened, rather than just spit out a few sound bites in an attempt to make the case you don’t have.

  8. Deval can NOT self-appoint!

    Back when John Kerry was running for president and Mitt Romney was governor a law was passed filling open senate seats by special election. Ted Kennedy in his last year asked them to change that law, but they wouldn’t. No reason to think the law would change now either.

    I disagree about “clearing the field.” A good primary gives candidates healthy media exposure and favorable press coverage to the winnner. Let a number run and see who comes out on top.

    No strong #1 choice at the moment. Rep. Mike Capuano placed 2nd to Martha Coakley in 2010, so I’d expect him to run again. (And I like him, though he’s my rep.)

    • Oh, and to echo others....

      …I’d really rather this be moot. Let Obama appoint Wesley Clark or any number of people not in office to run Defense.

    • Actually they did change the law

      There is now an interim appointment so the seat is not vacant between the vacancy and the results of the election. Paul Kirk was appointed Senator during that time after Sen. Kennedy passed away.

    • where were you in 2010?

      A primary for an open seat, yes, but without a primary on the other side, the Dems do themselves more harm than good. Brown will be the incumbant again. And Do you see anyone who could raise the money EW did in the field you talk about? And Eric Ferhnstrom needs a victory. So please President Obama, pick some nice Republican (Lugar–although he old) or Hagel and free up a seat so that the Dems gain one, not struggle to hold on to one.

      • Again

        You are wrong. Sorry!

        You are taking one experience of one month or so when DeFranco did the piling on. She lost support at the convention for that BTW. Process worked just fine.

        And you’re of course ignoring everything else and all the other circumstances I could name.

        I even think Eileen Donoghue’s first primary with the REALLY negative Chris Doherty (you think Marisa was bad? Seriously) was useful in its own way. First, Eileen got to act classy in the face of a garbage campaign from Doherty (which was fueled more by local tribal factions than any real Dem political split), and it sure got MY rump in gear to get active a lot earlier.

    • The law was changed. Again.

      As Sco says, that’s how we briefly got Paul Kirk as a United States Senator.

      The newest new version of the law is a melding of the old two policies. The Governor appoints a replacement (the old old policy), until there’s a special election (the new old policy).

      RyansTake   @   Tue 13 Nov 11:50 AM
  9. Bear with me, but: Global warming

    Elizabeth Warren has many fine qualities but she won this election because she was historically called to do so. By the nature of her experience and of the economic crisis.

    She also proved herself an especially durable and disciplined campaigner.

    But without her personal history as an advocate for the middle class I do not believe she could have overcome her heavy disadvantages as a rookie, a woman, and an outsider, all of which weighed against her in this state.

    (Let’s hope the second of those is changing, but historically it is certainly true.)

    It would be wrong to demand that every candidate for office have a similar calling.

    We face, however, another crisis that is as dire as the wholesale robbery of America by its wealthiest elites.

    Climate change is in need of a champion on the Elizabeth Warren scale.

    So I am not going to play the name game here, but instead talk categories. What is the kind of candidate that you would be proud to support?

    Let’s not settle for just another reliable Democrat with a good ground game. Nor a merely reliable defender of Bay State interests.

    This is Massachusetts, home of Kennedy, Kerry, and Warren.

    Let’s send someone to Washington who is going to do something big for the nation–to tackle climate change, in this case.

    If not us, then who?

  10. Is Pres. Obama so intent on appointing John Kerry

    as Secy. of State that he would risk putting Scott Brown back in the Senate and losing a Democratic seat there? I hope Obama is at least thinking about the consequences of this.

    • I hope

      that we have enough talent to be able to beat Brown a second time. And to fill any offices that open up.

      Honestly, hoping that nothing ever changes is a losing strategy in the long run.

      True, Brown’s 2 years in the Senate (Thank you, Martha Coakley! Thank you, Emily’s List!) have given him a luster that he does not deserve. But he’s still an empty suit.

      By the way: it will be interesting to see how Brown votes on that majority-leader thing he had not made his mind up about during the campaign.

    • He's going to do what he wants to do

      that’s his track record from appointments made last term, including Sebelius, who would have been a Democratic pick-up in the Senate in Kansas, of all places. There was another case or two in which he appointed someone that cost us a seat, if I remember correctly.

      I can’t necessarily blame him for picking the people who he think are best for the job (and John Kerry would certainly be uniquely qualified for either SoS or DoD), but it certainly makes things more difficult for the Democrats in the US Senate.

      RyansTake   @   Tue 13 Nov 11:58 AM
      • Maybe he's learned something

        Sebelius was when there were 60 (or 59) Dems in the Senate. Don’t know about any others. But you’d hope he’s learned that he needs all the good votes he can get in the Senate. And you’d hope he’s learned that it’s not good to have yet another special election for a Senate seat in Massachusetts. We just got the second seat back.

  11. A woman expert on Climate change, Susan Solomon

    I heard Susan Solomon speak at MIT a few months ago. She was one of the two scientists who identified fluorocarbon as the culprit in the ozone hole over Antarctica. She was talking about science and politics and how to make changes in the way people understand Climate change. She was dynamic, funny. and really smart. And if we took someone from Harvard why not MIT? No really, I know EW had considerable recognition, but Solomon is a charming powerhouse. I have never talked to her and she might brush us off, but in a state that’s filled with smart people, surely we should at least consider someone as good and appealing as Susan Solomon. (caveat: I have no idea whether she would be interested.)

    • Another caveat...

      do you have any idea about
      (a) her proposed methods to deal with climate change, or
      (b) her position on anything else political?

      • Good Question

        I am honestly not remembering details. I suppose I could simply call and ask her. I was incredibly impressed with her commitment to educating her students in political change with science in mind. and also with her energy and presence.

  12. Barney for interim Senator

    I don’t imagine Barney Frank wants to step back into an election after bowing out, but how about appointing him as the interim Senator?

    • Rachel Maddow asked him just this question last week.

      I don’t imagine Barney Frank wants to step back into an election after bowing out, but how about appointing him as the interim Senator?

      And he said, flat out, no.

  13. I doubt Kerry is going anywhere, if not to state...

    Rumors are swirling that John Kerry is not long for the Senate. We know he could end up as Sec. of State. And now we’re hearing that he might get Sec. of Defense.

    I think the SecDef trial balloon is just that: a trial balloon… and one that is aimed squarely at the senior Senator from Massachusetts. It says, “Dear John… Please don’t be mad and please accept this consolation prize.”

    Except, methinks, that the things that make State an attractive prize for Kerry are distinctly missing from SecDef and that would make Defense onerous and burdensome: Defense requires a down-in-the-weeds administrator entirely divorced from much policy and any theoretical work and certainly exists in a realpolitik far from any of the loftier ideals… (actually, Panetta is perfect for the job… ) whereas the SecState tries to present our loftiest ideals to the rest of the world. I think Kerry says no to SecDef unless pressed to do so out of duty… though unless Obama has serious plans to shake up the place and needs somebody strong like Kerry to shepherd the Defense Department over and past the ‘fiscal cliff’ I can’t think of any reason why he would be pressed to do so…

  14. Hope Kerry stays put

    Nothing personal, but having a Mass. seat in the US Senate back up for grabs, potentially by Scott Brown, just weeks after we sent Brown packing, is no good.

    I hope Petr’s right and Kerry’s not tapped for State and doesn’t want Pentagon, or just isn’t tapped for that either. If he does vacate the seat, I like McGovern. He’s progressive and almost 15 years younger than Markey, who’s shown no interest. Only drawback, and it’s minor, is that his House district seems most vulnerable in Mass. if he’s not running.

    • I don't think his district is all that more vulnerable than

      a number of others, including Tierney’s and Keating’s. For starters, it has the entirely of Worcester — that’s nearly 200,000 people — solidly blue. It does has a large swath of some of the redder towns in the state, sure, but it also has a chunk of western mass towns, which are overwhelmingly blue — including Amherst and North Hampton.

      Generic Democrat should be able to beat Generic Republican in that territory without too many problems, and were McGovern to win a spot in the Senate, I think we have a solid number of progressive pols in the region who could win that seat, some of whom could even hold their own in some of the redder areas.

      Also bear in mind that were we to have that special election and entertain the possibility of a red 2nd District, it would only happen if McGovern actually won a Senate special election. I don’t know about you, but I could accept that trade off.

      RyansTake   @   Tue 13 Nov 5:17 PM
      • Worcester is not that solidly blue

        It has a large GOP-leaning suburban area within city limits and Coakley took it only 52-47. This year, as in all urban areas, we did a great job boosting Democratic turnout and we did better. Amherst and Northampton is good, but there are a LOT of towns that have been 2-1 (or at least 60-40) red in the Coakley election, the Warren election, and the last two Presidential elections.

        I’d say it’s up there with Keating’s district as the most vulnerable in terms of generic Dem vs. generic Republican. Tierney’s district I don’t see as quite as vulnerable despite Lynnfield, Boxford, etc., but you’d probably know better. I find it telling Tierney was able to pull it out this year despite all the problems and an opponent seen as moderate, who had wide exposure on the 2010 Gub. ticket.

        • Key word: Solidly.

          I used the word “overwhelmingly” to describe Amherst and Northampton, but I didn’t for Worcester. Still, rarely ever has Worcester gone GOP — it’s usually just a question of margin of victory.

          Amherst and Northampton is good, but there are a LOT of towns that have been 2-1 (or at least 60-40) red in the Coakley election, the Warren election, and the last two Presidential elections.

          I didn’t disagree. I said there was a “large swath” of “redder” communities, but also a number of Western Mass towns that are pretty blue. Those Western Mass communities don’t make up for the sea-of-red suburbs surrounding Worcester, much of which is in McGovern’s new district, but it effectively adds to Worcester’s margin.

          All things being equal, I think it’s very hard to describe a district with two of the biggest “college towns” in the entire country, including what’s the third biggest city in New England, as anything other than blue. That’s oversimplifying things for sure, but not much.

          Tierney’s district I don’t see as quite as vulnerable despite Lynnfield, Boxford, etc., but you’d probably know better. I find it telling Tierney was able to pull it out this year despite all the problems and an opponent seen as moderate, who had wide exposure on the 2010 Gub. ticket.

          We’re getting kind of academic at this point, but I disagree.

          Outside of Lynn and Salem, there aren’t very many very blue areas in the district. Furthermore, Lynn and Salem are no more blue than Worcester, and you didn’t like it when I called that solidly blue, though I think that term fits for all three.

          Peabody is mostly blue, but a lot less so than Lynn or Salem, and then there’s Swampscott (fairly blue), Marblehead and Beverly (toss-ups) nearby. Further up the North Shore, you get Newburyport, Rockport and Gloucester (all toss-ups)… and then red.

          Everything inland is a giant sea of scarlet red, and includes places like Lynnfield, Middleton, North Andover and North Republican — I mean Reading — etc. etc. etc. Even a place like Saugus, which used to be something of a toss-up, is solidly red these days in everything but POTUS.

          I haven’t even mentioned the big Middlesex contingent in the district, with places like Burlington, Wilmington, Wakefield, Tewksbury and Billerica… Wakefield and Tewksbury went 2-1 for Brown, and only Burlington was even close for Tierney.

          None of them are exactly small communities, either… at 25k, 22k, 25k, 29k and 40k respectively. No one thinks of them because they think of the 6th as Essex County, but those communities are what make the district so deceptively red, much more so than the sparsely populated Essex County Republican towns you were quick to think of and dismiss.

          In fact, those five communities are going to more than wash out whatever blue votes you get in Salem and Peabody, right there, leaving Lynn to carry the entire district for Democrats almost single-handily.

          That’s what the 6th District really boils down to — Lynn. If Democrats are going to win the 6th, they need a huge turnout in Lynn. Period.

          That’s a lot to ask for in a gateway city of 90,000 — and don’t think for a second that activists in the city aren’t well aware of that fact, either, given how well organized the Lynn city dems, progressives and labor types have consistently been.

          But does Lynn’s numbers make the district blue? Not really. I think that Tierney just ran an effective campaign, despite the fact that the GOP and the media was gunning for him. Tierney had a great grassroots effort, and while he was (badly) outspent, his ads were spot on and IMO more effective than the opposition.

          I’m sure incumbency was huge, too, because Tierney had an actual track record of delivering for the district. That probably helped him in the places where he was competitive, but Liz Warren wasn’t.

          I imagine he would have lost had this been an off-year election, too. No matter how great a turnout operation can be, there’s nothing like a Presidential year with a strong dem in the race to help drive out the vote in places like Lynn.

          I also think the fact that John Tierney significantly outperformed Liz Warren hints at the fact that the district is redder than you may think, given how popular Warren was across the state and how unpopular Tierney was considered by the media and conventional wisdom.

          So, I wouldn’t exactly call the district particularly blue… just blue enough that Tierney could win through a herculean effort on a Presidential year, and I highly doubt any newcomer would have done better. It’s the last seat (that I know of, at least) that was actually held by Republicans — until Tierney first won in ’97.

          It’s bluer than some toss-ups in other states, but Keating’s is really the only other district that could be even worse for Democrats in the state, and even that is somewhat debatable.

          Worcester is not that solidly… It has a large GOP-leaning suburban area within city limits

          If you think there are some red suburban areas in Worcester, come by and visit Ward 1 in Lynn and behold the McMansions in the hills, currently featuring so many St. Mary’s high school campaign-like signs on the lawns that you’d think St. Mary’s was the name of a candidate for State Rep or something, and not a private Catholic school. I’ve dodged deer in my car in that neck of the woods.

          RyansTake   @   Wed 14 Nov 12:49 AM
          • whoops

            Warren lost Peabody, too. I looked it up and Patrick lost it in 2010, but won in ’06. Adding Coakley’s loss there during the special and I have to take it out of the marginally blue column, and into toss-up or even marginally red territory.

            Tierney took Peabody by about 2,000 votes, adding another community to his list of places he outperformed Liz by a very wide margin. I have to think results like this have a lot to do with his constituent services and the job he’s done for the district.

            RyansTake   @   Wed 14 Nov 2:09 AM
            • All fair

              My only slight issue is looking at Scott Brown’s races as a barometer in some of these towns. Wakefield may be a swing town, but I’d bet Brown did better there and in nearby towns than a generic Republican simply because he grew up there.

              I just took a look at the district map and saw Lawrence was put in the new 3rd, so I was wrong about that.

            • Peabody, a small city of about 51,000,

              is like two communities. First is the citylike community east of Route 1 which is likely fairly blue, but west of Route 1 is West Peabody, very suburban, about 14,000 in population which is probably red. In West Peabody, there is Lynnfield envy without the higher taxes, and a public sewer.

        • I think that this is roughly accurate

          Congressman McGovern gets a lot of middle and middle-right support for purely nuts-and-bolts non-ideological reasons. You call, they answer or call back, with an answer. He spends a lot of time here.

          I’m not sure if that is enough to flip the district, but it certainly it would be more competitive than it has been. I also don’t particularly care. The GOP controls the HoR for at least 8 more years, and for longer if Dems can’t recover at the state level in 2020. One seat doesn’t make that much of a difference, unless you define political success solely in terms of how many seats your Red Sox have in the Congress.

          I disagree with the guy on quite a few issues, but would vote for him because he has been honest, has explained himself and why he takes certain positions, and doesn’t treat voters like idiots. He would be a good senator.

  15. Scott Brown...

    …has openly speculated on the idea of him trying again, but we should not be afraid of that. Also, there have been a couple of comments, I think from Lynne, that seem to imply that a convention can vet candidates. To be clear the convention process does not apply to a special election, just 10,000 signatures and a primary.

    • True that

      I was addressing the concerns of a specific person complaining about DeFranco against Warren, not commenting on a special election, which is all kinds of not normal anyway.

      But point taken.

    • Yes

      He is a decent guy and a skilled politician and campaigner. These are good things; the existence of such a candidate eventually tends to cause the other party to nominate better candidates, rather than some party drone whose “turn” it is and whose quality is measured in “loyalty and service to party” as happened here in 2010.

      Good opposition forces you to be better, even if– especially if– it wins once in awhile. That is not a bad thing.

  16. What about Bob Kerrey?

    I believe he did not win in Nebraska and he is former military. I would like to see him in either State or Defense.

  17. Secretary of State BILL CLINTON !!!

    If/when Hillary Clinton steps down as the US Secretary of State, wouldn’t it be great if the President nominated BILL CLINTON?! He is certainly the best person qualified for the position. He is well respected around the world and wouldn’t it be a terrific way for him to bring peace to the world and it would be even more rewarding than running his foundation.

    Then Kerry could stay in the Senate until Governor Deval Patrick is ready to run.

  18. It's too bad that Scott Brown...

    can’t be appointed to be Lunch Lady General and just get him the hell away from us.

  19. Does Brown want to try again?

    Has Brown indicated in any way whether he would be interested in trying for Kerry’s seat? Looking back on the recent contest, he doesn’t have much to feel good about. He ran a weak campaign, stooping more and more to silliness and irrelevance, and he lost his nice guy aura. He developed battle fatigue, becoming testy and declining to take part in the final rescheduled debate. In the end, he got thumped pretty good– losing to Warren by eight points, which might make it difficult for him to attract the kind of campaign contributions that he attracted for the race against Warren.

    But what other Republican could take this on? Tisei gave Tierney a real scare, and has run on a state-wide ticket before. And because he is openly gay, he has been able to make a lot of voters believe that he is a moderate. Is there anyone else?

    • Just a feeling

      but I think Brown wants to be Governor, not Senator. It’s a better fit for him. I don’t think he liked the type of politics he saw in Washington, or having to deal with McConnell. If there were a special election, we might end up with Charlie Baker as the GOP candidate.

      • Scott Brown as GOVERNOR??

        The man does not have an executive bone in his body.

        • that didn't stop...

          [new] Scott Brown as GOVERNOR??(0+ / 0-) View voters

          The man does not have an executive bone in his body.

          … Bill Weld, Paul Celluci, etc. In fact, that describes Ronald Reagan and George W Bush also…. In fact, Scott Brown as Governor would be well in keeping with Republicans long and dearly held tradition of earnestly giving the middle finger to government.

          Of course, I’m opposed to the idea of Brown as Governor for the reasons listed above but also because putting Brown on Beacon hill would, in essence, be handing the keys of the kingdom (back) to Robert DeLeo.

      • He might want it

        but his wife was shaking her head “no” on the stage when someone yelled it out during his concession speech. Maybe in two years he’ll convince her he should run, but her opposition might prevent him seeking the Senate again right away.

  20. Keep Kerry in Senate

    It’s time for the Obama administration to start trying to get things done in DC. That would mean having as many Senators as possible serving as Democrats. If Kerry quits the Senate to be Secretary of Defense or State, Scott Brown could get back in the Senate.

    If Kerry is leaving the Senate, I think that Jim McGovern (my congressman) would make an excellent Senator. I would rather have President Jim McGovern (D-MA) than President Barack Obama (D-IL). In selecting the Presidential Candidate, there are things that are considered besides the policies that the candidate would put in, and that’s too bad, but that’s how it is.

    If McGovern leaves the House, there is a good chance that a GOP Congressman will be elected in the 2nd district by the GOP base. Maybe it would be Peter Blute, maybe someone else. We don’t need that.

    The Obama administration took Janet Napolitano (D-AZ) out of the Governorship of Arizona. This made Republican Jan Brewer the Governor. This idea of taking elected Democrats out of elected office to serve in the cabinet is bad news. It lets the elected office go GOP in many cases. And, there are plenty of people that could be selected who are not in elected office. Pick one of them, and keep Democrats in office.

  21. Globe now reporting

    Markey, Capuano, Lynch allegedly interested in Senate seat. I’m OK with Markey. He’s 66 but that’s young enough to potentially be there a while. Capuano I like personally but I don’t think would win, Lynch too conservative by far for my taste. Meehan and Joe Kennedy II (not III) claiming they’re not interested.

    On the GOP side, it’s the usual suspects. Brown, Weld, Tisei, Healey.

    • Weld, huh

      Wouldn’t think of him as a usual suspect in this context.

      Could do quite well against, say, Lynch.

      • Indeed...

        Wouldn’t think of him as a usual suspect in this context.

        … also, didn’t he decamp to New York after not decamping to Mexico?

        • Yep

          and briefly ran for office there. But he just decamped back, joining Mintz Levin in October.

          I don’t think this is the first time I’ve heard his name come up. They seem to trot him out in the press every time there’s an office potentially coming available.

  22. Agree with an upstream comment

    My number one choice is Barney Frank.
    That is also my number two, three, and four choices.

    sabutai   @   Wed 14 Nov 6:07 PM

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