Ben Affleck for US Senate?

Politico is reporting that Ben Affleck will be meeting with Senators to discuss violence in the Congo.  His name has been floated and apparently the best he can say is, “That’s not what I’m here to talk about.”  Personally, I’m not a fan of celebrities jumping to high political office, nor am I fan of family name for its own sake though the same article says Ted Kennedy, Jr. is considering a run.

Meanwhile The Hill is reporting that Michael Dukakis is a leading contender for the interim appointment.  He was my choice last time for that and my preference over Vicki Kennedy this time.


15 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. We need a Duke not a clown or a prince

    I’d support the Duke for the interim, would hit the ground running on policy and make a Ted Kaufman esque contribution. It’s be amusing if he and Weld ram against each other though that scenario is highly unlikely. Also he would be succeeding his former LGov.

    As for the clown and the prince I like Ben’s charisma and speaking style and it would be great to have two Cantabs in the Senate, but he would have the residency issue, some personal baggage and not nearly enough policy experience. Ben for Congress is one thing to get his policy chops in order but for Senate is another thing entirely. I also like Ted Jr and consider him one of the few Kennedy’s of that generation who is honorable, low key and not entitled. He has residency issues (lives in CT last I checked) and not enough policy experience (though a lot more than his father).

    I’d be interested in more policy oriented outside the box picks like a Sonia Chang Diaz, Eldridge or even a Curtatone (fantastic record and up to speed on national issues). It’s hard to match Markey for experience and I think we’d be recouping our seniority loss with Kerry, in many ways he could be a more effective legislator than Warren though certainly a less effective advocate. A workhorse and not a showboat like Kerry was. Also his age makes for
    built in term limits (which may be why he passes).

    • What residency issue?

      As Jon Keller said on his TV bit that started these rumors (or at least made them widespread), he only has to “live” in Massachusetts on election day.

      If Mitt Romney could run for Governor paying state taxes as a resident in Utah, let’s not even pretend for a *second* that Ben… who has a home in Massachusetts and has spent most of his life here… would have any residency issues. That’s absurd.

      By all means, I hope Sonia and Jamie are seriously considering a run.

      RyansTake   @   Thu 20 Dec 5:17 PM
      • Legal vs. political

        Doesn’t matter what the law is, it’s how it looks. Scott Brown would run around saying, “Hey, I live in Wrentham, never really lived outside Mass., I’ve got a truck. It’s got Mass. plates. Ben’s been out in LA for, what, almost 20 years.” Independents would agree.

        Affleck, to me, would come off like a Hollywood A-lister with some interest in politics but no real experience, who basically left the state in the mid-90s, trying to win on celebrity. A dilettante. I think it would play terribly. Jon Keller would love to see Ben Affleck nominated. It would be a farce and play right into GOP hands.

        I agree with you about Romney 2002, but people bought that he really lived here, ran his business here for 25 years and only went to Utah for the Olympics. In that case he shoulda paid his taxes here, but…2002 was a GOP year anyway.

  2. no.


  3. Celebrities can be just as intelligent and engaging as anyone else

    Ben would have to prove he has a firm grasp of the issues, which won’t be to his advantage during a special election where a candidate can’t learn the issues during the early slog of the campaign, when not too many people are paying attention. All that said, I’m not universally opposed to him jumping in and giving it his best attempt.

    If he proved himself and actually won, it would mean we’d immediately have two Senators with some of the highest statures (and no doubt biggest fundraisers) in the entire Senate all over again. That’s not a bad place to be when you’ve lost Ted Kennedy and John Kerry in the less than 5 years time.

    Again, that’s a big if, but Ben is a very talented and intelligent guy who has a right to prove himself. Let’s not forget that his Academy Award isn’t in his good looks or past years as a Big Blockbuster star… it’s in his writing, and he may just get a second one for directing (which includes managing a giant budget and staff of hundreds) in a few weeks.

    Those are actually very difficult jobs and similar in at least some important ways to running certain aspects of a campaign and a legislative staff — in terms of the absurd craziness of it all, the giant sums of money one has to raise (I believe Ben produces his own movies, too), the ability to find the right people to staff a project and the ability to sell words and ideas to people and the press, etc.

    There are many people who are less qualified to run for higher office. I’m not sure Ben’s the guy who I’d immediately jump out and support, but having no bones in this race (at least yet), I’m willing to keep an open mind, see what he has floating around in his head and see how he is on the campaign trail.

    RyansTake   @   Thu 20 Dec 5:10 PM
    • Like I said

      I actually have no issues with him running for Markeys district (where his mom lives) or from his Marshfield home against Lynchie. Based in his philanthropy an human rights activism you could argue he is more qualified than the Kennedy we recently elected. But yeah no time to improve on the stump in a special, also we got star power in Warren-coupling that with a workforce is the way to go.

      • He may not need to 'improve on the stump' that much

        given the fact that he is a naturally talented communicator to begin with.

        He’ll have issues he’ll need to learn, and quick, but I’m guessing he’s already pretty in touch with a lot of issues, and some lack of knowledge on key issues would be forgiven because it’s 1) a special and 2) he’s running against Scott Brown, who’s no master of the issues himself.

        Ben will just have to practice Deval Patrick’s patented Q&A ‘I don’t know everything, but I’d love to chat with you about it so I can learn’ bit.

        My only point is we just don’t know. I’m all for whoever would like to run to jump in and test the water. We’ll learn a lot more as Democrats about who to vote for that way. Some of our Congressmen haven’t faced a tough election in so long that I worry they’re not going to be any better on the stump as Ben would be right out of the gate. We’ll have to wait for the race to see what we actually get.

        Plus, all of this assumes Ben actually will run, and I’d still guess that answer is “doubtful,” even if he hasn’t outright denied it when asked.

        RyansTake   @   Thu 20 Dec 6:42 PM
      • Not sure if...

        …Lynch’s seat goes down as far as Marshfield.

  4. Two Words - Al Franken

    has been one of the most reliable liberal voices in the Senate, and if his mold was copied, I would be happy.

    How do you like them apples.

  5. I've heard...

    Meanwhile The Hill is reporting that Michael Dukakis is a leading contender for the interim appointment. He was my choice last time for that and my preference over Vicki Kennedy this time.

    … that Michael Dukakis has already made his ‘I’m not interested’ known.

    And while I agree that Michael Dukakis would be the optimum choice, I’ve never understood the antipathy to Vicki Kennedy: It’s clear to me that she is bright, has politics in her DNA and she’s largely responsible, in a way both political and personal, for Ted Kennedys later life resurrection and re-invigoration. The late ’80s and the early ’90s saw Ted Kennedy on a more or less death spiral, again both politically and personally, that was stopped by Vicki Kennedy. It’s clear to me that, without her, we’d be looking at a magnificent flame-out of a ‘what could have been’ Senate career that would have ended with a 1994 Senate loss to Mitt Rmoney.

    And she’s a lawyer specializing in banking law… can you imagine that as the Senator junior to Elizabeth Warren? If only for a little while?

    • Traditional pick too

      Most of the female Senators in the first half of the 20th century were appointed to finish their husbands terms, but I am sure she was offered and turned it down which is why we got Teddys good friend and former chief of staff Paul Kirk instead. We could always put Kirk back in it, he could be the ‘designated Senator’ since these circumstances seem quite frequent now in our state.

      I also like Bill Buckley’s idea of plucking a random name from the Boston telephone book.

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