My Twitter field has come alive with a burst of chatter about Rep. Joe Kennedy challenging Ed Markey in the 2020 Democratic primary for the US Senate.
One of the first to chime in was Doug Heye, whose Twitter profile states he is a “CNN Political Commentator & WSJ contributor. Former Burr, Cantor, RNC, campaign flack & @HarvardIOP fellow. Fan of Tar Heels, Yankees, Sinatra, Springsteen.”
Kennedy is the real deal. Exact who the Democrats should want. https://t.co/zxsif2ZoTr
— Doug Heye (@DougHeye) August 17, 2019
As I wander about Middlesex County, particularly in the world of potential Democratic primary voters, I can tell you there is a definite Axis of Evil in this world. Regardless of race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other demographic marker, that Axis of Evil lays out on two dimensions: Republicans and the New York Yankees.
At this point, I find myself wondering just why a GOP operative, a former Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a former communications director of the Republican National Committee, a former senior advisor to the Iowa Republican Party, and a self-proclaimed fan of the New York Yankees, would be offering such a bold opinion pertaining to a potential Democratic primary in Massachusetts.
I live in the heart of Markey’s old congressional district, and have known Ed since our town was moved out of Tip O’Neill’s former district in the 1992 reapportionment. I would see Ed often; he always marched in Arlington’s Patriots’ Day parade, and when I joined the ranks of elected town officials I would chat with him as we marched down the Avenue. I also spent considerable time in the beginning of the century doing lobbying for education issues, and he had one of two congressional offices with aides we could count on to understand local issues and implications for federal education policy.
Ed is a little on the goofy side, in that he finds this work to be joyous and displays his enthusiasm openly. He is also a policy wonk. He is not a show horse, and he spends considerable energy on the issues that are the locus of his expertise; consumer protection, telecommunications, and environmental policy. He was the lead advocate for environmental policies 20 years ago, when a working subcommittee was relegated to a windowless basement office adjacent to a connecting corridor.
Ed Markey is probably the most under-appreciated senator in the chamber, and that is probably why folks are thinking he would be a great primary target.
Enter Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III. I don’t know why he is suddenly taking an interest in higher office, but my first instincts are to be miffed because of his choice in targets. I appreciate his aspirations for higher office, but when we needed a strong candidate to take on Charlie Baker, he was quite content to stay in his safe house seat. No, he would rather occupy us with the high cost of energy and donations to take out a progressive senator in a year we should be focused on extracting Donald Trump from the White House and Mitch McConnell from his obstructionist perch in the United States Senate.
While the Never Trump GOP would be happy to have us remove Trump, even at the cost of a Democrat in the White House for four years, they certainly don’t want to allow a unified Democratic party to take control of the Senate. They don’t want Democrats to have any success with a progressive agenda. When Republican Yankee fans start to think a Massachusetts senate primary is a really good idea, we really need to wonder why.