Well this is a strange one: Nancy Pelosi has made an incursion into the Massachusetts Senate race by endorsing Joe Kennedy III. This is unusual and a bit odd, but it probably reflects strategic thinking on her part: The kinds of things that she wants to deal with, the kinds of power but she wants to have, and the kind of things that she doesn’t want to deal with as Speaker.
Joe Kennedy has indeed been a good soldier, raising lots of money for Democratic candidates across the country, helping to secure Pelosi‘s position as Speaker. I suspect this is also what landed Joe endorsements from a variety of progressives in the US House. This is good and laudable as far as it goes.
But it also says that Pelosi really doesn’t want to have to deal with the Green New Deal — or as she calls it the “green dream or whatever”. Her voice in this endorsement might well be a reflection of the wishes of the most vulnerable flank of her caucus, those reps who represent conservative districts. Those folks really don’t want to deal with climate change, and certainly don’t want to have to deal with a youth movement that is going to demand things to the left of what their respective districts might prefer. I think that assessment of the situation is probably wrong: The Green New Deal polls quite well, and the politics of climate and economy will be very different next year than they have been in the past. Nonetheless, a denialist strain runs strong, even among so-called “progressives”. (Tell me about it … )
I give all the credit in the world to Pelosi for passing the cap-and-trade Waxman Markey bill in 2010 through the House. She elevated Ed Markey to the chairmanship of the special committee on climate change back in 2007. I don’t know what tea leaves she’s reading, but I think it has a lot to do with the perceived durability of her majority.
But — stay with me here — I think a majority ought to pass things. If, God willing, the Democrats take a Congress next year, the climate movement must work to convince the median Democrat that they are safe voting for strong action on climate change-plus-economic-recovery; and that the middle of the road is where you’re going to get run over.
Also in the run of late-breaking, all-politics-is-local endorsements, Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards (Charlestown, North End, East Boston) emphatically (if at the last moment) endorsed Ed Markey, citing his opposition to the East Boston electrical substation:
Edwards had previously endorsed Shannon Liss-Riordan, who dropped out of the race.
And it’s also worth looking at Dorchester Reporter’s endorsement of Markey, written by Bill Forry, one of the most respected political observers in Dorchester. With a starring role by Rep. Liz Miranda, his observation is that, essentially, Ed Markey shows up: He does good work for his constituents, who require both individual services and the kind of systemic work for justice that Markey does on Capitol Hill all the time. Forry admits that his opinion is also shaped by his wife Linda’s close work with Markey over the years, including when she was a State Senator. But that’s hardly a conflict of interest; it’s the kind of full disclosure that helps Markey’s case.
The Reporter enthusiastically endorses Ed Markey for re-election on Tues., Sept. 1— or sooner, if you choose to vote early—because we believe he has earned it. In particular, because he has been a visionary leader on environmental justice and a trusted ally on defending immigrants from the unprecedented assault on civil liberties accelerated by the Trump regime.
… “He’s an environmental justice champion,” Rep. Miranda said. Plus: “For the last 18 months, his staff has basically unilaterally handled almost every immigrant issue that I’ve faced.” She added: “That means a lot. Someone who has been working on the issues that I care about long before they are running another race.”
Environmental justice, immigration. This addresses directly Joe Kennedy’s tart line on Tuesday, that went something like these are the communities where [Markey] does not show up (I can’t find the exact quote right now, but the paraphrase is accurate). At the very least, it’s not as true as Joe says it is — or rather, needs it to be for his purposes. He has his supporters — good on him — but that’s not the only story.
In any event, I’ll take the local endorsements over Pelosi anytime; and right now I trust Ed’s judgment over Pelosi’s, on both political messaging and our dire necessities in the months and years to come. He’s doing it right.
It’s also odd since all the polling I’ve seen shows Joe losing, and possibly losing badly. I think supporters of both candidates have consistently overstated their man’s virtues and the perceived flaws in their respective opponents. I’m happy it’s almost over, and either way, we get a good Senator out of it.
Weird that the DCCC has a position to blacklist consultants who work with candidates who challenge Dem incumbents.
Once again. This party . . . [poop emoji].
You raise a good point, especially considering she backed anti-choice RINO Lipinski against a pro-choice progressive woman. I guess this is different since he’s not challenging one of her incumbents. Did Schumer endorse? It would be interesting if they were on opposite sides. Does not affect my vote at all.
Yes, Schumer endorsed his chamber colleague.
I was regretting my vote for Markey last night, when I heard his awful pandering on the question of “life without parole”. Kennedy’s answer was a lot more honest.
But Pelosi, who in Massachusetts would be swayed positively by her endorsement? If anything, it feeds into the trope that Kennedy is the candidate of the elites, whether that’s fair or not. Especially doing that now. Congress is on vacation while people are losing their unemployment and Pelosi seems mostly concerned with helping Kennedys.
Trickle up says
Here’s what Markey says
Charley on the MTA says
I know, hilarious. “… but go off.”
This strikes me as the voice of experience and wisdom born of thirty-odd years of this.
Mr. Markey gains nothing by sounding unhappy or critical. If Mr. Markey loses the primary, then he’s said nothing that anyone could cite as criticism. If he wins the primary, then he’s said nothing to alienate Ms. Pelosi.
This strikes me as the political equivalent of calling a draw on 3rd and 6 in the fourth quarter with a 10 point lead. Safe, not likely to do any harm, and keeps the clock running.
Well she worked side by side with the both of them and made a decision. Interesting.
She made a political calculation.
Most of us have already made our decision, I’m not sure this changes many votes. I suspect her political calculation has rather more to do with her relationships with the candidates, their staff, and their donors and rather less to do with the outcome of the primary.
Charley on the MTA says
Yes, that’s true. And if I’m fair, I’d say that it’s impressive that Joe K has made allies among so many, given his short experience. And it would certainly seem that — out of necessity I think — Markey has placed himself among those challenging the establishment, even the “progressive” establishment to which he belongs.
I wish this were not the case; I wish that the necessity of a livable world under equitable conditions could be obvious to all. Most of us don’t see that as a threat; rather, it’s a shelter from the ongoing storm. But it’s apparent that we’ll have to tangle with fellow Dems, too. We need everyone to get out and push, but some folks are intent on hitting the brakes.
Joe Biden did not sound like a President hitting the brakes last night. It’s interesting to see Biden and Markey-too white blue collar Irish Catholic pols who inherited their demographic aversion to busing and abortion-are both to the left of a Kennedy and Pelosi on climate.
Perhaps I’m misinterpreting what you’re saying, but are you suggesting that Kennedy, Pelosi and other Dem’s are opposed to “a livable world under equitable conditions could be obvious to all” but Ed Markey-like Democrats are? At least to me, that sounds what your saying and I’ll just leave it there…hopefully for you to clarify.
Charley on the MTA says
I don’t think I can make it any clearer, at long last, after writing about for all this time: Most *Democrats* don’t treat climate with sufficient seriousness or urgency. Yes, objectively, they are opposed to a livable, equitable world.
That certainly includes our MA State level leadership. That *absolutely* includes Kennedy, who has ceded the issue to Markey. I had thought Pelosi was better than that, but I guess not.
Are we clear? Have I ever not been clear?
You are indeed clear.
I’m not the least bit surprised that the Speaker of the House endorsed one of her own members.
Trickle up says
It’s an unusual move and a real slap in the face for Markey. But it also says a lot about her.
Most endorsements are tied up to relational equity. I endorsed and campaigned for my local union president because we knew each other and she invited me and the other summer organizers to her house the previous summer and was very kind and helpful.
We disagree on a few things, but I know her and did not know her opponent as well. Similarly, Pelosi has a better relationship with Kennedy and choose to back him. Probably for the reason Christopher eluded to. I don’t see it as Pelosi backing away from any of her positions on climate or playing 3-D chess agains the Green New Deal. With Kennedy down in the polls by so much, she actually has little to gain politically sticking with him.
Trickle up says
Yes, that is exactly what I was referring to. Markey carried Pelosi’s water for more years than Kennedy has been in the house. One would normally expect some loyalty to flow in the other direction even after he had left.
It’s especially egregious on that score given Pelosi’s policy in other races of backing even the most offensive and regressive Democrats.
So yeah, relational equity—what’s with that?
Trickle up says
Sorry, meant to say “…even the most offiesive and regressive incumbent Democrats.”