Saturday, January 05, 2013
In a splendid bit of local political theater today, Elizabeth Warren seemed to be sworn in as U.S. Senator, the first ever woman to hold the post from MA, on the main stage at Roxbury Community College. I suspect everyone in the packed hall knew she'd officially taken the oath in D.C. and then did it again for the photo-op with VP Joe Biden administering the oath.
Nonetheless, the idea worked. She brought the sense of ownership, both for voters of her and for her of constituents. It was a jolly hour, with nearly all the state's political big shots speaking, glad-handing or mugging for cameras.
A few were missing. Boston Mayor Tom Menino is still not dancing on his toes after his recent hospital stays. City Council President Steve Murphy sat on the stage in his place. The until-a-few-days-ago Sen. Scott Brown somehow didn't make it either. More seriously, I was a little surprised not to see U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas. While her district is farther north, as a woman in Congress she would have been a likely cameo performer.
Warren did her part though to bring Menino into the occasion. She gave the only real speech and she thanked him specifically. The other speakers were gushing over the pols, naming many, teasing Senior Sen. John Kerry for being about to leave office to become Secretary of State, as soon as he is confirmed.
While she's senator of the state and not Boston, this still is his town. It was peculiar that so many had spoken briefly, flinging praise around without mentioning Menino. Warren said she couldn't let the occasion pass without "a special thank you to our great mayor." She added that, "They Mayor gave me good counsel more than a year ago, telling me that it's really all about just fighting for our working families. He told me to say what I believe and to trust in people. He told me, 'Get out there and do that, kid. They'll be there for you.'"
That advice mirrored his endorsement of her in Roslindale in September. Then he told voters to support her, work for her and vote for her because, "she has your back." He said because of that she "got my vote. She has my help."
She had considerable praise for Kerry and for the only-a-few-days retired Rep. Barney Frank. No one at all mentioned that Frank has publicly said he'd like to fill Kerry's seat for the several months until a special election is held. He said his financial expertise from the House side would be very useful with the pending Senate negotiations.
While he briefly huddled with Governor Deval Patrick, No one else knows whether he even mentioned his eagerness to temporarily become a Senator.
At least three who would become the next Senator in the likely even that Kerry becomes Secretary and his slot goes to a special election. Congressmen Ed Markey, Mike Capuano and Steve Lynch all floated around the stage, smiling and seeming to be in the moment. While Markey has already announced and gotten early approvals from various pols, That election is perhaps six months away and will be the one chance to become a U.S. Senator for all three Reps. This looks like a worth battle.
More commentary on this event and a few snaps to follow.