Thursday, July 12, 2012

Timorous Senate Candidates



Secondary sex characteristics are frequent hallmarks of pols. As my wife is fond of saying from her consciousness-raising group days of early feminism, if brave men can be said to have balls, brave women must then have tits to spare.

Alas, I don't sense the courage we saw, even in Barack Obama's first campaign for President. Here in the MA race for U.S. Senate, the donkey/elephant yoked pair wage sniper wars by proxy and inference. Tonight I saw my darling of the contest, Elizabeth Warren again, and heard again how she shied from the battle.

As usual, I showed at Boston Mayor Tom Menino's self-celebratory July 12th event of his ascendancy from City Council to majesty. At his Chesterfield digs, a couple of thousand of us elbow and grin for handshakes, good vibes and free ice cream. As a podcast/blog slut, I was there for the pols and politics, as usual.

This evening, I chatted up Menino (left), Warren (above), Councilors Arroyo (below) and Yancey, MA Treasurer/Receiver General Steve Grossman (below Arroyo) and more.

Amusingly enough, previous Left Ahead podcast guest Grossman was happy to agree to another session and called over his executive director to start planning a date. Warren's campaign lackey in contrast was horrified that I'd even ask. Among that group, we'd already had Arroyo, Menino several times and others. The once-burned Warren was the one with no guts.

If you aren't a regular, you might wonder what toxin I carry. Start with the coverage of the elite-hick podcast. Warren and I were both born in OK about the same time, long ago, and found that humor fodder on her podcast. The evil and rapacious wingers tried very had to turn our comments into some slander, which in turn found its slimy way onto Fox News, the NYT and such.

Not being too subtle, I showed up this evening with my handmade HICKS FOR ELIZABETH campaign button.Of course, as my yellow Ray-Bans were singular on Chesterfield Street, so was my button.

I went straight to Warren pulling out my button for effect. She pounded my back and shoulder saying, "I love it," as well as re-affirming her affection for my glasses, as she has before.

As any social-media slut would, I careered among pols. I found myself back before Warren a few times. She was insidious in making her own rounds, going from hamburger stand to music stall and beyond. She is a real master of the personal. Wingers like to proclaim that Scott Brown is the guy you want to have a beer with and the homey one. They clearly have never spent a few minutes with Warren. She is as our mutual roots suggest, real folk, with none of Brown's smarminess.

Regardless, one of Warren's minions saw me taking pix of pols and asked if he could take a pic of her and me together. Amusingly enough, in all my years of photography and newspaper and magazine work, I'd always avoided any shots of me with a celebrity. This time though, it felt right. I agreed. I took off the hicks button and held it forward when her campaign lady pushed it down. She said Warren would do BlueMassGroup for an interview but certainly never Left Ahead again. The elite-hick incident was before her time, but she new the story. As Scientologists would have it, she'd been engrammed.

Therein lies the gist of this. Where are this year's balls, tits, guts, vision?

In 2006, Deval Patrick got social media. He leveraged us bloggers and used us as press as part of his grassroots/netroots victorious campaign. His good chum Barack Obama followed suit two years later.

What's happened? Where is the vision and courage of the current crop of pols?

What we're seeing and hearing with such as the Warren and Brown campaigns are shallow and sallow versions of the heroics of yesteryear.

Having underlings tweet the predictable and self-serving is not savvy new-media usage. Picking a few friendly, non-taxing interviewers is not gutsy

One of the times I was next to Warren on Chesterfield Street, I handed my hicks button to her. She said again she loved it, but her lackey glared at her. Warren then retreated by saying to give it to her later.

That's pathetic.

She grew up in OK. I was born there and spent much of my childhood in my mother's turf of the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. Warren and I are hicks to the core, not matter my decade living in Manhattan or  our many years living in Boston and Cambridge. We are ordinary folk, grounded in honor and honesty, candor and simple values, good manners and respect — traits that transcend intelligence, experience and credentials.

I am doubly embarrassed for Warren.

While I surely shall endorse here (disclaimer: my wife has already contributed), I'd like to see the guts I know she has. People may well disagree with my strong positions on this or that, but they won't have to wonder what my opinion is. I expect the same from her.

Moreover my Left Ahead co-host Ryan Adams has decried the dreadful shrinkage of local blogs and other netroots folk. The vitality that the likes of Patrick and Obama brought to new media is nowhere to be seen in the current pols. With Facebook, G+, Twitter and more free and for the direction, what the hell are they thinking...or not thinking?

Regardless, back to my wife's hoary allusion, where's the courage?

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