Neatness isn’t everything.

Senator Barney Frank: what’s not to like?

Who wouldn’t want a somebody rather than a cipher, a leader rather than a follower, experience rather than its opposite, a player rather than a placeholder, an advocate over an apparatchik?

Not I. But Doug Rubin’s comments suggest that the Governor may have different criteria in making this decision, starting with the avoidance of risk.

How risky is Barney? I’d argue not much at all. But, he’s his own guy with his own rep. Beholden to no one. He’ll do what he thinks is right, period.

Does that sound good to you? Me too. But I also hear alarm bells. Why knows what could happen in 4 or 5 months? If Senator Frank does something unorthodox, it would be dramatic. Controversial. Reflect badly, maybe, on Patrick.

(And apparently Markey is not too thrilled about the idea either.)

Compare that to the person who is just pleased to serve his or her time and toe the party line. Who needs the aggravation?

My answer to that is it is well worth the small risk. It’s the right thing for the country and the state to send one of our most talented legislators to fill in at this critical time.

This is not a slam against Jay Gonzales or anyone else. And yeah, it would be nice and safe and neat to send a relative unknown.

But as the Bay State has seen to it’s benefit in the past, neatness isn’t everything.



Discuss

15 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Massachusetts voters didn’t play it safe when they saw this brilliant orator, and placed their faith in him and elected him governor.

    Everyone I have talked to this weekend, who was among the folks who fell in love with Deval Patrick, and worked tirelessly to elect him, are passionately for Barney Frank.

    I’m not real happy with the bland leading the bland philosophy that seems to be coming from Doug Rubin. I hope it doesn’t prevail.

    Note to Ed Markey, my Congressman. Put your arm around Barney Frank and cheer him on. Run for the seat. Get elected. Oppose Barney and you will find the progressive base in your district urging a Capuano candidacy.

    • Except for one Dem tweeting his anti-Frank opinion to the Herald,

      the only folks I see publicly opposing Frank aren’t progressives.
      A few seem to want the opposite of Frank, some wallflower who will sit quietly in the corner with their hands folded. Just how will that help anyone’s resume? “I went to DC and didn’t bother anyone”?

    • Skeptical

      Who exactly are these unnamed “friends” who “know” that Markey is “rankled”? I’m more than a little skeptical. I have no idea who those people are, if they actually know what they’re talking about, or whether they have their own axes to grind. Assuming, that is, an offhand comment wasn’t misunderstood or taken out of context by the reporter.

      I invite you to take a look at the New York Times Company’s policy on anonymous sources, which includes:

      Readers of The New York Times demand to know as much as possible about where we obtain our information and why it merits their trust. For that reason, we have long observed the principle of identifying our sources by name and title or, when that is not possible, explaining why we consider them authoritative, why they are speaking to us and why they have demanded confidentiality. . . . The use of unidentified sources is reserved for situations in which the newspaper could not otherwise print information it considers reliable and newsworthy. When we use such sources, we accept an obligation not only to convince a reader of their reliability but also to convey what we can learn of their motivation – as much as we can supply to let a reader know whether the sources have a clear point of view on the issue under discussion.

      Emphasis mine. I don’t see how “friends” tells me anything about who these people are, whether they’re authoritative and what I can learn of their motivation. At. All.

  2. Great

    Now we have diaries based on assumptions about Rubin speaking for the Governor, when he has stated implicitly he isn’t.

    Can I just say, this is a very poor way to encourage those people who are our allies on the “inside” to stick around and continue to engage?

    Can we stop beating up on someone for a single comment that went against (some people’s) grain vis a vis the “obvious choice” everyone seems to regard Frank, including Frank?

    • I am sure Doug Rubin has Deval’s private cell phone number. I don’t.

      If Doug Rubin calls Deval, I am sure the governor answers or calls back. If I call, I’m just some guy from Arlington.

      I don’t know Doug Rubin. I have never met him. I am sure his opinion counts heavily in the corner office. My only ability to counter his argument is to inspire massive numbers of people to take action, passionately.

      Until the governor starts calling me, asking for advice, this the the only real game in town.

      • I highly doubt

        that if the Governor had something in mind, a Tweet and comment on a blog from Rubin really is gonna do much more than be a tweet and a comment on a blog.

        I give the Governor a little more credit than that. But maybe I’m just weird that way, when someone I generally like and trust states precisely that their opinions are their own, solely provided for the chance to have a discussion, I take them at their word unless there’s a good reason.

        • and when they are wrong

          I don’t like or dislike Mr. Rubin. I respect him because he has done some good work. But, in my opinion, he’s wrong. And when someone who is influential is wrong, it takes a boatload of work to overcome that voice.

          If Rubin is tweeting the wrong song, I need a boatload of birds to overcome that message. Just sayin’.

        • Perhaps you understate BMG

          Elizabeth Warren announced her candidacy here.

          I don’t think it’s hyperbole to remind us that BMG is among the more influential Democratic/progressive blogs in the nation, beyond its preeminence here in Massachusetts. I’m am confident we are read at the White House, and perhaps at high levels in the White House.

          Mr. Rubin is well-known, especially here at BMG. I find it unimaginable that he would not at least think about what our response might be. In fact, I strongly suspect that we are part of Governor Patrick’s vetting process for this important appointment.

          I am not challenging Mr. Ruben’s sincere assurances that his comments are his own personal opinion. I also think that common sense confirms pablo’s perception that Mr. Rubin has a different relationship with the Governor than any of us.

          I submit that this exchange is a trial balloon of sorts, part of a larger process intended to help ALL the parties come to the best decision possible. We are influential, and “candid and frank exchanges of views” are a healthy and needed part of exercising that influence.

          I want to reiterate that I view all this as very positive. If this is what Mr. Rubin, Mr. Patrick, Mr. Markey, perhaps Mr. Capuano, and perhaps even our own judy-merideth (and others) are doing, I strongly support it.

          This is an important appointment. I want my Governor to pay attention to how the grassroots who elected him feel about the various candidates. I want influential players like Mr. Rubin to express their personal opinions here. I want to hear their sincere opinions, and I welcome those sincere opinions even when I don’t share them. I also want to hear the sincere opinions of those who disagree — and I suggest that Mr. Rubin does as well. We are NOT the comments section of the Boston Globe, and I think we represent a reasonably good sample of the variety of viewpoints the progressive community brings to these questions.

          These exchanges are why BMG is so visible, is so well-regarded, and therefore why we are so influential. I view you, lynne, as a vital and insightful participant here. I similarly welcome and respect your views on all this.

          Mostly, like some others, I want to encourage all of us to take a DEEP BREATH — feel your breath come all the way into your belly, and now feel it come all the way out.

          This is ALL GOOD folks.

          • Nuanced

            I like everything you wrote. Rubin is being listened to by the Governor for sure, its also just his opinion and not necessarily the Governors. A very important distinction to make. In my view, BMG was a key catalyst for Devals victory in 2006 and 2010 and Sen. Warren this year. That cannot be understated. And there are few blogs like this one which is why I still post here. DKos just has too many different voices from different parts of the country and its too negative for my tastes. There is nothing like this in Illinois though attempts have been made. And RMG tried and briefly succeeded, but like the MA GOP offline it just cant sustain the interest. Ive always had a little bit of pride whenever I see Politico or Huffpost link to ‘us’ (I also feel part of a community here, unlike Dkos). And there is definitely a strong offline community here I can’t wait to join more fully when I move back.

      • Is the Herald's favorite dem now "mastermind" Doug Rubin?

        We all know how much the herald hates Barney frank. The vile Hillary Chabot happily promotes Doug Rubin in today’s Herald for his publicly giving a thumbs down on Frank.

        Top Deval adviser no fan of Barney Frank’s Senate bid
        Former congressman Barney Frank’s unusual public plea to Gov. Deval Patrick for the job as interim U.S. senator is getting the thumbs down from one influential Democrat — Patrick’s former top political strategist.

        “I respect Cong. Frank and what he has accomplished, but there are better options for MA Senate interim appointment,” tweeted Doug Rubin, the mastermind behind Patrick’s two successful gubernatorial campaigns and Elizabeth Warren’s winning U.S. Senate bid.

        Rubin’s tweet yesterday sent Massachusetts Democrats buzzing about whether it meant Frank was not Patrick’s choice to replace U.S. Sen. John Kerry if, as expected, Kerry is confirmed as Secretary of State.

        Rubin later said on Twitter he was just expressing “my opinion only,” not the governor’s, but the provocative tweet was unusual for the normally tight-lipped Rubin.

    • Not everyone is beating him up.

      Doug Rubin is getting tremendous backing in the comment section of today’s Herald story.

      • backing from who?

        Are these the same “Dans from Dorchester” that call into Howies show and said “glad fatboys dead” on the Teddy obituary since we should NOT be taking those commentators to heart if they are bashing Barney. Truth be told if they are bashing Barney that shows us another reason why he is perfect for the job.

        • I agree.

          “Truth be told if they are bashing Barney that shows us another reason why he is perfect for the job.”

          Perhaps Doug Rubin might learn something from who is agreeing with him, and who is not.
          Today’s Herald celebrates Rubin’s comments as a “scolding” of Congressman Frank in a story titled “Voters want someone else”.

          “Patrick’s former chief of staff Doug Rubin publicly scolded the Newton Democrat this weekend, tweeting, “there are better options for MA Senate interim appointment.””

          When Hillary Chabot’s agreeing with you, you might want to reconsider your position, Doug.

    • That's not my assumption, actually

      But Rubin’s comments suggest to me how the Governor may be approaching this appointment. How any cautious public official might approach such a decision.

      I hope I’m wrong, but it seems likely, especially considering recent history.

  3. Contact Governor Patrick, tell him who you support and why.

    Via this link.
    You can also call:
    Phone: 617.725.4005
    888.870.7770 (in state)
    Fax: 617.727.9725
    TTY: 617.727.3666

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