That’s right, people — I’m back, baby!
Well, sort of. The print edition of this column is still a ways off — it’ll probably debut in January — but there’s enough going on that I felt compelled to resurrect the column early as an online-only dealie.
Quick aside: this blog’s guts are a bit befouled at present, so trying to comment will lead only to frustration and heartbreak. If you feel the need to chew me out for anything, you can e-mail me at bailey at capenews dot net (sorry to spell it out, but man, the spambots have it out for me lately).
The development that really inspired my early return to whinging about politics is this week’s development with Alan Khazei, who on Wednesday dropped out of the US Senate race, citing an inability to raise money and gather support now that the Democratic Party has embraced Elizabeth Warren as its official horse in the race.
Alan. Dude. Has the Presidential race taught you nothing? A couple months ago, Rick Perry entered the Presidential race and everyone went “Michele who?” Now look at him! He’s running third in most polls behind Mitt Romney and Herman freakin’ Cain — and Herman is kind of crazy! Warren still has plenty of time to say or do something insane and give you a shot at overtaking her!
She’s already dipping her toe into that pool with a recent comment to The Daily Beast that she “created much of the intellectual foundation for what” Occupy Wall Street and its spinoffs are doing now. She’s since backtracked on that remark, so she’s obviously mastered the necessary campaigning skill of saying something rather outrageous and/or self-aggrandizing and then nimbly backpedaling when someone calls her on it.
But, to my intended original point: Khazei was the most promising candidate in the field beside Warren, who really needs someone to run her through the paces, if nothing else. There are four other Democrats that I know of who are still in the race — Tom Conroy, Marisa DeFranco, Jim King, and Herb Robinson — and I’m betting you haven’t heard of ANY of them.
And chances are you will continue to hear nothing about them, because the media, like the Democratic Party, is currently latched onto Warren, and now that Khazei — who had a degree of name recognition — is gone, it’s going to be All-Warren All The Time until after the September primary.
Anyone remember what happened the last time the Dems named an heir apparent to the Senate seat and left that candidate to cruise to an “easy victory”? The Democratic Party apparently doesn’t. Party leaders should have at the very least given Khazei enough support to keep him active through the primary so we the voters — remember us? We (ostensibly) choose elected officials — could see who the better candidate truly was.
Speaking of denying voters choice, it was also announced yesterday that longtime Congressman John Olver (D) is retiring, freeing up the race for the First Congressional District — and, perhaps more notably, giving the special joint legislative committee on redistricting every excuse in the world to let the First District take the big hit so the committee can, for the most part, maintain the existing boundaries for the other eight Congressional districts.
You see, when Massachusetts lost a district following the 2010 Census, there was a lot of concern that redrawing district lines would end up pitting two incumbent Democrats against one another in the primary race, and there was heavy speculation that the 10th Congressional District (which includes the Cape and Islands) would be eliminated and its towns folded into the Fourth or Ninth Districts — potentially setting up a contest between freshman Congressman William R. Keating and, respectively, Barney Frank or Stephen Lynch.
But now that Olver is out of the picture, the committee can carefully redraw the district boundaries to avoid any hot Dem-on-Dem action in September. Convenient, isnt it?
On a more local note: while there has not yet been an official announcement, there’s every indication that Republican Thomas F. Keyes is planning to challenge Senate President Therese M. Murray (D) in 2012. Keyes lost to Murray in 2010 in a surprisingly tight race: 52.5 percent of voters in the Plymouth and Barnstable District sided with the eight-term incumbent Murray, and 47.5 percent voted for Keyes, making this Murray’s tightest re-election race ever.
After the 2010 election, people on Keyes’ e-mail list (including me) continued to receive e-mails from the campaign, in which Keyes was referred to as the man “who is seriously considering” a rematch in 2012. The e-mails started out as stock rebuttals to everything Murray did (“Keyes Disappointed Murray Refuses To Create An Independent Commission On Redistricting” read one early notice), but soon turned into rally and fundraiser announcements. Once you start raising money, I think it’s safe to say you’re no longer merely “considering” running for office — especially when, according to a mid-year finance report filed with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance, you’ve raised a little over $11,000 over the first six months of 2011.
The question is not whether Keyes is running, the question is: can he effectively run against Murray on his own? Last year Keyes’ campaign ran concurrently to those of two strong candidates — State Representative Randy Hunt (R – Sandwich) and Jeffrey D. Perry, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress — and Keyes’ detractors insisted the only reason he made as good a showing as he did was because he hitched his faint star to two much brighter and, in Perry’s case, more high-profile wagons.
An upset victory is certainly not out of the question, but Murray’s undeniable clout has benefited the region for many years, and that’s going to be a hard thing for voters to give up in favor of a man with no clout, few connections in the State House, and little political experience beyond the town and county level.
Finally, we bid a fond farewell to State Representative Susan D. Williams Gifford (R – Wareham), whose Second Plymouth District has been shifted completely off Cape Cod due to the aforementioned redistricting. She represented three precincts in Bourne, which will now be divvied up between Hunt and State Representative David T. Vieira (R – Falmouth).
While the Cape delegation is losing one of its number, Gifford had a minimal presence on Cape Cod, so I expect her loss to be negligible. I very rarely saw her at any major event attended by the other members of the delegation, and I’ve on occasion heard some critical remarks about her non-attendance from a couple of her colleagues.
Tags: 10th Congressional district, 2010 election, Alan Khazei, Barney Frank, David Vieira, Democratic Party, Elizabeth Warren, GOP, Jeff Perry, Martha Coakley, Randy Hunt, Senate President Therese Murray, Stephen Lynch, Susan Williams Gifford, Tom Keyes, William Keating
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.