Ted Kennedy Would Want You in This Race, Ed

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Democratic wires are buzzing with talk of who will and who should challenge Scott Brown, the Republican miracle man who captured Ted Kennedy's -- oops, I forgot, The People's -- Senate seat in 2010.

No one is ever going to ask me which Democrat I think is best suited to take on Brown. (Given my perennial paltry performance as a prognosticator, that's as it should be.)

But due to the forgiving form of the blogger's craft, I get to offer an opinion anyway:

Ed Markey should forsake his comfortable spot in the U.S. House, find his campaign mojo, and lead the Democratic crusade to recover the People's Seat for the Democrats.

Here why I believe Markey is The One to do it:

  • He's a phenomenal campaigner. People know of course that Markey always gets re-elected, but they forget that he bested a 13-candidate field way back in his first race for Congress in 1977 -- and that it was an incredible feat, the local political equivalent of the Patriots first Superbowl win. Sure, he may be 34 years older now, but he's in great shape -- thin as a rail, a smile that still beams, a step that still bounces. Have you ever seen this guy at a Fourth of July parade, running to shake hands on both sides of the street in 95-degree heat?

  • He could raise the bucks. Currently, Markey is a national figure because of his leadership on global warming and his forceful advocacy of cap and trade for carbon credits. Years ago, he was a national figure for championing a freeze on nuclear weapons. He can put the touch on wealthy folks across America who think the way he does and admire his unequivocal stands on The Issues of the Day.

  • He has never changed his spots. Like Scott Brown's legendary predecessor, Markey has never trimmed his political sails depending on the weather of the day. He is unapologetically liberal in the mold of Ted Kennedy, ever true to his blue collar Malden roots, and will attract the votes of those who liked Kennedy's consistency and resolve.

  • He can talk like nobody's business. Markey knows the issues, can think on his feet, and answer questions on a variety of topics extremely well. And he can do it in long format, meaning he'd be good at those interminable campaign forums around the state. Ask him about the oil spill in the Gulf, the trade deficit with China, TV commercials aimed at kids, jobs training, medical education, House-Senate relations, the Defense budget, etc., and you will get a sharp, detailed, easy-to-grasp answer. You may not agree with it, but it will be cogent and heartfelt.

  • Young people love him. Whether it's his incurable idealism, his disdain for material goods and the rich life, or his persistent belief that he's a good basketball player that explain why bright young men and women are always drawn to work for Markey, both on his staff or as campaign volunteers, I don't know. But I do know that young adults form the core of every big, successful political campaign, and that Markey has always demonstrated an ability to enlist them in his campaigns.

Senators have been made of lesser stuff.

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