As of this writing, the “Time Since Markey’s Climate Debate Challenge to Joe Kennedy” at the top of this group’s page reads 58 days, 12 hours, and a number of minutes. As a Joe Kennedy supporter (as I state each time I write, I volunteer for him), I never liked this clock. It always felt needlessly confrontational to me, and seemed to contribute to an unnecessarily unpleasant tone to the Senate primary. But, although I didn’t like it, I could comprehend the logic behind it. And when Charley posted on October 30th “The Joe Kennedy Timer Still Ticks On,” I didn’t agree with the tactic, but I understood it.
Now we are a little over a week since the climate forum/debate was held, and the clocks ticks on—to what? The forum/debate has passed. Congressman Kennedy did not attend the (I would argue, unilaterally) scheduled event initiated by Senator Markey. And I understand that some choose to make an issue of that, and choose to cite the number of days that Congressman Kennedy had to accept the invitation. I think it’s unfortunate and inaccurate to hold this out as a metric of Congressman Kennedy’s devotion to addressing the climate crisis, particularly when he speaks of the “intersectional” climate issue multiple times each week across the Commonwealth and the country (highlighting the social and economic injustices associated with it, as he did in a Commonwealth Magazine op ed, just yesterday), when he is an original Co-Sponsor of the Green New Deal, and when Congressman Kennedy and Senator Markey have virtually identical lifetime scores from the League of Conservation Voters (94% for Senator Markey; 95% for Congressman Kennedy). So, this clock always seemed to be a myopic metric of the candidates’ stance on the climate crisis (and, for that matter on the Senate primary in general, which includes many critical issues). Still, I got it as a political strategy to try to make a point.
Now, I just don’t get it. The climate forum/debate was held. What exactly is the clock ticking towards? If it’s towards meaningful discussion by Congressman Kennedy about the climate crisis, it should never have started (see above remarks). If it’s towards some future to-be-determined debate with Senator Markey and Ms. Liss-Riordan, then it’s meaningless. We could just as easily (and I would argue, more meaningfully), be counting the number times each candidate has met with constituents to discuss the climate crisis and other issues (especially west of 495), or the number of days since Congressman Kennedy invited the candidates to sign the People’s Pledge, or any one of a number of things that are serious and important in this primary. Whatever cache the clock may have had while trying to make a political point and pressure a candidate, is long past. So, what’s the point, exactly?