Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Markey vs Kennedy-- If You're A Progressive Voter, There Should Be No Hesitation


JFK, 1960 on Kings Highway in front of Dubrow's

Progressive Power Hour? Was there one for AOC or Rashida Tlaib or Ilhan Omar when their reelections were challenged by big money reactionaries in the last couple of months? There may have been... but I never heard about them. But I did hear about tomorrow's Power Hour on behalf of Joe Kennedy's campaign to displace the far more progressive-- and effective-- Ed Markey in the Senate. This came as an e-mail over the weekend:

We're excited to share the updated panel for Wednesday's progressive power hour! This Wednesday, progressive leaders Mark Pocan, Raúl Grijalva, and Linda Sánchez will co-host a progressive power hour with Joe!

They’ll be talking about what’s at stake in this primary election, and what makes Joe the right leader to usher in the change Massachusetts needs. The discussion will also include ways you can get involved in these critical final weeks, and how to cast your ballot, whether it’s by mail or in person.

...Join us Wednesday night to hear from these progressive powerhouses about the change Joe will bring to the Senate, and about how you can get involved!
Goal ThermometerThe national and the Massachusetts progressive grassroots has come out very strongly for Ed Markey-- and not just Blue America-- Our Revolution, Sunrise Movement, Peace Action, Progressive Massachusetts, MoveOn, PDA, Indivisible, the Working Families Party... So has Massachusetts' other senator, Elizabeth Warren, as well as AOC, Zephyr Teachout, Ady Barkan, and Cory Booker. Younger, issue oriented Democrats overwhelmingly want to see Markey, who is far more progressive than Kennedy, reelected. Older, fuzzily romantic Democrats seem excited about JKIII, although few seem to be able to explain why. Maybe Pocan, Grijalva and Sánchez will be able to tomorrow at their Power Hour. Alienating the progressive movement's grassroots does need to be explained, especially if Pocan is really serious about making a U.S. Senate run in 2022, something Chuck Schumer has already been making jokes about behind closed doors. He's going to be looking for allies-- allies who are very likely going to remember him stabbing Ed Markey in the back this year.

Meanwhile, some of the absolute worst Democrats in Congress are being touted by Kennedy as his supporters, Kyrsten Sinema, the closest thing to a right-wing Republican (and psychopath) among Senate Dems, coke freak New Dem, Pete Aguilar-- as well as plenty of other corrupt corporate New Dems, Blue Dogs and bought-and-paid for conservatives from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, like Juan Vargas (CA), Filomen Vela (TX), Gil Cisneros (CA), Derek Kilmer (WA), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Annie Kuster (NH), Conor Lamb (PA), Stephanie Murphy (FL), Colin Allred (TX), Ellisa Slotkin (MI), Angie Craig (MN)... odd there's no one from Massachusetts on the list. They're all either staying neutral or backing Markey. Oh, wait! He does have a high-profile Massachusetts endorsement: Republican former Governor Bill Weld.

The first big name politician I ever met was JFK-- two decades before Joe Kennedy III was born. I was 12 and my mom took me to see the charismatic somewhat conservative senator campaigning in Brooklyn, to show the Democratic establishment that he was popular in liberal bases. He was. But a police horse stepped on my foot in the tumult and I was brought inside Dubrow's where only local party big wigs were allowed. The soon-to-be-president came over and rubbed my foot and wished me well. That was nice. By the time he was assassinated I was no longer a fan. But when his brother, Robert Kennedy-- Robert Kennedy III's grandfather who was assassinated before he was born-- ran for New York senator I got a job at his campaign headquarters as an elevator operator. I wasn't a big fan of his either, although he seemed to gradually move away from his McCarthyite past and embrace progressive positions. The other brother, Teddy, was the most progressive of the trio. Never met the guy. And I never was a big fan of political dynasties.

Over the weekend, Politico published a piece by Stephanie Murray-- Markey throws shade at Kennedy family in Senate primary brawl-- that is still probably somewhat shocking for a Massachusetts Democrat to contemplate. "In an ever more contentious battle between a septuagenarian senator and the scion of one of the nation’s best-known dynasties," wrote Murray, "Markey is calling out specific Kennedy family members by name, needling the wealth and privilege that attaches to the family name, and even drawing from the Kennedy myth in his bid to fend off his youthful challenger. At one time, that approach might have been a career-killer in Massachusetts Democratic politics. Yet Markey has employed it successfully to help narrow a double-digit polling gap with the primary just over two weeks away."
When a Boston Globe columnist drove by Markey's modest house in June to see if he was there or out of state, the Malden Democrat happened to be standing in the driveway.

"Welcome to the compound!" he quipped, a sly reference to the famous Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port.

Markey often invokes his own father, who was a milk truck driver, to draw a contrast between his own working class roots and his opponent's upbringing. The senator recently posted a black-and-white childhood photo with his parents and two brothers.

"I'm the son of a milkman and a hardworking mother. I was a commuter student who paid my way through college selling ice cream. Where I come from, no one expects to become a U.S. senator," Markey captioned the photo on Instagram.

Markey has made subtle references to the Kennedy family throughout the summer, but has ramped up his messaging in recent days. The most pointed hit came at the end of a campaign video unveiled Thursday, where he drew on a famous line from the inauguration speech of his challenger’s great uncle, President John F. Kennedy.

..."He's taking the elephant in the room and just going right at it. He's using the most identifiable characteristic of Joe Kennedy, which is his name, and trying to use it against him. It's an interesting campaign tactic and one I wouldn't have anticipated," said Steve Koczela, president of the MassINC polling group. "It puts Kennedy more on the spot to explain why he's running, and that's something he's struggled with throughout the campaign."

Markey is betting that much of the Kennedy mystique has worn off, 11 years after Ted Kennedy-- who held the state’s other Senate seat for nearly a half-century-- passed away. So far, the strategy appears to be working, particularly among younger voters who have responded to his support for the Green New Deal and his endorsement from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Koczela pointed to a MassINC poll from October 2019, which showed 70 percent of voters under age 30 had no opinion or had never heard of Markey. But a UMass Amherst poll released last week found Markey now leading that group over Kennedy with 71 percent of support.

...In their most recent debate, Markey took some of his toughest shots against Kennedy, seeking to use Kennedy's powerful family against him. Kennedy's father, former Rep. Joe Kennedy II, may put his $2.8 million in leftover campaign funds into a pro-Kennedy super PAC as a last minute boost for his son's Senate bid, and Markey sought to shame him for it.

"I'm sure your father's watching right now. Tell your father right now that you don't want money to go into a super PAC that runs negative ads," Markey said in the debate. "Just tell your twin brother and tell your father you don't want any money."

In a matter of minutes, the senator's campaign turned the debate spat into a viral video. "Free advice for Joe Kennedy. Don't rely on the old man's money," Markey captioned the video, which begins with a shot of Kennedy standing on a yacht and is set to the Hall and Oates song "Rich Girl."

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At 7:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is the democrap PARTY trying to enforce and maintain purity within the PARTY.

If $cummer becomes the $enate majority tyrant, with an ever-so-$lim majority, he's going to want/need his majority to stay on me$$age. It will be inconvenient and annoying for $cummer and his big donor$ to have to $pin a lot of off-$cript progressive talk from an insurgent or two.

note: Through that prism, though, it really doesn't matter all that much which MA guy wins. or fails to lose. or whatever. Does it?

Look at all the trouble harriet reid had in 2009-2010. And look at the slaughter of 2010 that resulted. Hell, he needed evan bayh and a few others to actually vote with the proto-Nazis almost 100% of the time or we might have had a PO or some real bank reform. Corporate donors would never abide such a thing.

It would just be easier for $cummer if his whole caucus were like-minded corrupt neoliberal fascists.

At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patrick Kennedy can expect a visit from three ghosts. He needs to listen to them, to heed what they say, or his chains will be heavier in his political afterlife.

First, from Edward, Ghost of the Past: "As a society, we've learned that we're all better off when everyone is included in the opportunities of this great nation."

Second from Robert, Ghost of the Present: "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil."

Third from John, Ghost of the Future: "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

I'd suggest that he choose wisely, but his professional history reveals that wisdom is not one of his attributes.

At 3:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:57, excellent comment. one of the best I've seen in a long time.


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