A Party of Asses

By Eileen McNamara | Boston Magazine |

News reports missed the point when they qualified the coverage of Patrick’s testimony in the DiMasi trial with the disclaimer that the governor was not implicated in the kickback scheme. The stink of accommodating business as usual is all over Patrick. His promise to “change the culture of Beacon Hill” was just so much Democratic campaign rhetoric. It was no different than Republican Bill Weld characterizing Bill Bulger and Beacon Hill as “rotten to the core” in 1990, just before he was elected governor and aligned himself with the very legislative leaders he had vilified during his campaign.

No wonder voters are cynical.

Which brings us back to the 2012 Senate race that the Democratic establishment in Massachusetts seems hell-bent on losing to a guy who was for gutting Medicare before he was against it. Teddy Jr. is not moving to Massachusetts from Connecticut. Caroline is not registering to vote on Martha’s Vineyard. It is time for Democrats in Massachusetts to move on, to embrace the talent that might actually rise to the challenges of this century, not the last. Poor and working people have never needed a champion in the Senate more.

In the end, after her bruising rounds with Congressional Republicans regarding consumer protection, Elizabeth Warren may choose to return to her Cambridge classroom. (Women need to be asked to run for office an average of six times before they agree, according to Jennifer Lawless, coauthor of It Still Takes a Candidate. Men need to be asked only once, which might help explain the difference between the political calculations of Elizabeth Warren and Setti Warren.)

If the Democrats do unseat Brown, it will be in spite of party leaders in Massachusetts. Barring a change in attitude, next fall they won’t be turning out the vote for a candidate they identified early and supported wholeheartedly. You’re more likely to find them hanging out at the Kennedy Library in Dorchester, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis.