Excellent Appointments for Senator and Sheriff By Deval, Seriously! and Can You Say Governor Cowen? I Can

He dug deep for both appointments and did what he had to do.

It’s called taking care of your own. And an African American in any position of power in 2013 should be trying to help their own.

If an Irish or Italian or even Asian appointed people with the same DNA to these positions there would be hell to pay. And rightfully so.

A hundred years ago it was totally appropriate and the “right thing to do”. Not now.

Sal DiMasi appointing all Italians to his leadership team was cool because of the institution and it’s history of being run by Irish guys and Republican Yankees before them.

But that’s the exception that proves the rule for white guys. And it would be crazy for a white governor to make these appointments. The Globe would love it and call him a hero when everyone else would call him a limo liberal.  I would be very suspect.

But not when a black governor makes the appointment. To me he would be a dick if he didn’t.

Deval knows he’ll take heat for it. If it was easy everyone would do it. No siree. Deval did what a good non-wussy politician does.

Our society is inherently racist. Black guys get a raw deal.

People like Deval and Mo get it and the good politicians out there respect Deval for these choices. They understand the real meaning of the over-used term “giving back”.

To those liberal BMgers who have a problem with this appointment I suggest you talk to a seasoned Irish Catholic Boston politician. You know the type. The ones you guys label as racists because of what they look like and where they come from.

These people can explain why Deval is a good person for doing what he did.

The appointment isn’t about Mo. It’s about all African Americans.

Good luck Mo. Show the people in Washington and MA what you are made of.

BTW, I can see Mo walking away with Dem nomination for governor in two years.

In fact, that’s gotta be the game plan. And I like it.

Well played Deval, well played.



22 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Huh?

    What are you talking about?

  2. I certainly hope that's not the reason for the appointment...

    …and I will also assume that it isn’t without solid evidence. I fundamentally disagree with the premise of this diary. It is ALWAYS wrong to show favoritism on the basis of race or ethnicity and two wrongs or historical wrongs do not make a right.

    • History disagrees with you

      Let me pose a hypothetical.

      Suppose a certain society wears hats of several colors. In that society, suppose green hats outnumber red hats by about 60/40. Now, suppose that there is within that society a certain popular club whose membership is restricted to just 50. Suppose that club accepts only 2 new members per year. Finally, suppose that the current membership of the club is comprised of 1 member who wears a red hat and 49 who prefer green.

      If the society chooses to eliminate discrimination based on hat color, and therefore seeks to change the membership policy of the club to accomplish that, how long would a hat-color blind membership policy take to add the 19 red-hat members needed for proportional representation?

  3. I agree with Ernie.

    Party politics is team politics.

    I don’t condone appointing hacks for party purposes, but other things being more or less equal, you reward people who have the talent and given service. By doing so, you’re also building up your farm team.

  4. Having trouble with your hypothetical Tom.

    I’m trying to decide first whether what you suggest is a math problem with a definite answer. That is, is there one right answer to your closing question? If the society seeks to eliminate discrimination then obviously it has to repeal any discriminatory policies. However, since there is one red hat that suggests that no such policy exists in the club or an exception was made for reasons you don’t explain. However you are conflating two very different concepts and objectives. The phrase you use is “eliminate discrimination” whereas it sounds like what you really seek to accomplish is deliberate proportionality. We’ve been through this before I think. I strongly favor the former while placing no priority on the latter. The club should continue to admit two persons per year based on its other membership criteria without knowing the hat color prior to approving a membership application and let the hat chips fall where they may.

    • It *is* a math problem, though

      The closest measure of a discrimination-free society is if the club’s choice reflects the red/green mix of the society it draws members from. A departure from that proportional mix is, by construction, evidence of discriminatory membership policies — even if not intentional.

      Hence, there is a 40% chance that each new member will be a red-hat in a color-blind admission process. The result is an average of 0.8 new red hats per year — the color-blind process will take 24.65 years to achieve the 19 red-hat members it needs for proportional representation. The fastest it could change is two red-hats per year, at that rate it would take 9.5 years. The result of a color-blind process in this little micro-example is to make the process take almost three times as long as the fastest rate.

      Are you seriously going to argue that, for example, an industry whose workers are 95% male does not reflect a sexist process for getting there?

      If you have a cup of scalding hot coffee, and you want to cool it, you do so by adding cold fluid.

  5. The industry that is 95% male...

    …very likely has a history of discrimination and whatever barriers there are to women being hired and promoted should of course be removed. However, if there are a limited number of openings they should go to the most qualified candidates. Any affirmative action should be based on making up for lack of opportunity on the part of the individual applicant, not assumptions of race or gender.

    You continue to project your assumptions and premises on to me. The disproportionate number are NOT evidence of anything whatsoever. If I put on a blindfold and pulled out 20 socks from a drawer filled half and half with red and blue socks, but the socks I pulled are 15 blue and 5 red am I discriminating against the red? Of course not! Randomness isn’t always representative (which as an aside as a pet peeve I hate when pollsters say they have used a random sample. Random is running your finger through a phone book, whereas good polls use REPRESENTATIVE samples, that take into account various demographic and identity factors).

    IF your goal is to create the proportionality then of course the solution you suggest makes sense. However, I am running out of ways to say I DON’T CARE. Likewise you use the conditional “if” to introduce the sentence about a cup of coffee. However to extend that metaphor I’m not necessarily interested in cooling it off right away. I’m more patient so I will just set it out on the counter and allow the fact that temperature seeks equilibrium with its environment to take its course.

    • You do realize

      that, on this issue, you are adopting the position of the far right.

    • Still simple math

      I wonder if your rhetorical skill has outrun whatever math you studied, specifically regarding probability, statistics (especially Bayesian statistics) and the implications thereof.

      In your example of pulling socks from a drawer, the likelihood that you will pull only five red of twenty socks from a randomly mixed drawer is quite small — 1.48%, to be precise. The only reason it’s this high in your example is that you started with a small sample (twenty) — the likelihood of getting twelve red socks from a sample of fifty is 0.01%, and less than 0.005% for a sample of 100.

      If you pulled 100 socks from your drawer, and you got 25 red ones, then the overwhelming likelihood is either that (a) your drawer was not evenly mixed or (b) your selection was biased. Maybe your red socks have a different texture, and you unconsciously prefer that texture. Maybe your red socks migrate to the top of the drawer and you pull from the top.

      The point is that in your example the selection is biased. That is not a statement about your motivation, morality, or political beliefs — it is a statement of simple fact.

      Let me pose a related, and perhaps constructive question: we both agree that discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, gender preference, and so on is a bad thing that we want to eliminate.

      How do propose to measure such discrimination?

      I submit that proportionality is the best, and arguably the only, viable measure of whether discrimination has occurred.

      • Discrimination is a matter of law or policy.

        If no law or policy exists to forbid or make it more difficult for one group to succeed over the other then it is happenstance, not discrimination. We keep talking past each other. You seem to be saying motivation is at best incidental, whereas I say the motivation leads to deliberate action and is entirely the real problem.

  6. It's far-right to be race-blind?


    Where does that leave the KKK, Birthers, Neo-Nazis, or just your unreconstructed Confederates?

    I call for literal equality, nothing more, but certainly nothing less. Maybe when we first removed barriers putting our thumbs on the scale the other way had some justification, but there has been no legal race-based discrimination in my lifetime that I am aware of.

    • Sorry Christopher

      Usually you and I are on the same side against David and SomervilleTom but you are just wrong on this one. Just look at places where affirmative action has been ended in admissions policies like California and Michigan and you see a massive drop in African Americans and Latinos represented in the elite school of those states, and a drastic increase in Asian American representation (the irony is the white people that voted to eliminate affirmative action have not benefitted from its displacement).

      Than there is the issue of private institutions that have had much longer policies of discrimination, affirmative action is a process that helps move that away. Sure the legal barriers fell in the 1960s but you have to concede there are still tremendous socio economic barriers to be overcome?

      Going from Cambridge to Chicago meant leaving the most racially integrated city in the country to one of the most segregated and its incredibly stark to see pockets of all black neighborhoods surrounding U Chicago where the children have significantly less odds of getting into U Chicago than I did coming from a thousand miles away. It truly pains me. Even with affirmative action I had far fewer black classmates than I did at CRLS and many struggled to fit in. Obviously its a band aid being applied to a much larger gaping wound in the American social fabric but removing the band aid doesn’t make the problem better.

  7. Ernie gets it! Deval and Mo get it!

    The appointment is not however, “giving back,” it is a clear case of giving forward. Governor Cowen look me up!

  8. Broader Comment

    Christopher is also clearly wrong that we live in a color blind society since the voters still routinely elect a Senate and House that is disproportionately white and male. This appointment, however brief, helpes correct that. And I am in rare agreement with Ernie on this one. I can see why people were upset Frank wasn’t picked but it seems the bemoaning of Cowan’s qualifications and calling the pick a ‘hack’ pick almost smack of racism to me. Kirk was clearly qualified as a former chief of staff to Ted Kennedy and was also close to the Kennedy family. I don’t see how thi was any different. Deval picked someone he was personally close to who was qualified for the position-yet he has endured far more criticism over this than he did over Kirk. We shouldn’t fear the Howie Carr ‘sully from Southie’ backlash since it was inevitable over whomever Deval picked. Lets not demean Senator Cowan just because we would have preferred Senator Frank. He is an attorney and a seasoned Beacon Hill operative, to call this merely an affirmative action pick smacks of racism in my view.

  9. Don't blame voters...

    …for electing a Senate and House that is disproportionately white and male when the candidate pools are generally disproportionately white and male. In MA we have twice elected an African-American Governor when given the opportunity. We elected Ed Brooke to the Senate back in the 1970s and I believe he was a constitutional officer as well before that. I for one said that I do NOT see Cowan as an affirmative action pick. Women who have succeeded statewide include Evelyn Murphy, Jane Swift, Kerry Healey, Shannon O’Brien, Martha Coakley, Suzanne Bump, and of course Elizabeth Warren. There’s something to be said for a bit of AA when trying to create a campus community, but for legislative chambers partisan breakdown is what matters – race and gender I couldn’t care less. We don’t wring our hands over the proportion of blond-haired, brown-haired, or red-haired so I don’t think skin color should be treated any differently. We must make ourselves color blind by refusing to categorize that way.

    • It's not about

      proportion, Christopher, it’s about privilege. And for white guys like us, our privilege is very hard to comprehend.

      • What privilege?

        Given that I’ve spent basically my entire adult life finding suitable employment, despite networking, credentials, and any other card I can think to play in good conscience, even a solid middle-class upbringing with its share of opportunities, I frankly don’t feel all that privileged. The correlation between privilege/opportunity and race is not at all exact and we should stop pretending it is.

  10. Eight black senators in our history

    2 from MA, 3 from IL, and 2 from Mississippi back in the 1800s, during reconstruction.

    Post-reconstruction, 2 of the 6 were appointments. Only 4 elected US senators in our history have been black, and only 2 Democratic black senators have ever been elected in our nation’s history.

    This is much more than just “one of our own”, this is trying to push back on the tides of history.

    Good for the Governor in recognizing that there are things more important than a few months of perceived “clout”. Somehow I imagine the Governor’s outgoing Chief of Staff won’t be lacking in that anyhow. This guy is no pushover. Obviously he’s not John Kerry, but no interim appointment has much in the way of “clout”.

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