Sunday, February 24, 2013

Markey Weaves a Beautiful Tapestry


OK, kiddies, Ed Markey can do this. He can be senatorial, certainly while campaigning, and that's sine qua non for this run to replace US Sen. John Kerry.

I wasn't sure. His typical wonky pronouncements as US Rep. can be dour and dry, from the video clips. Maybe it was the venue (JP Licks) or the audience (lefties all), but he was dynamic, passionate and funny. He delivered a simultaneously detailed and focused stump speech that owned the packed half of the joint.

He may be able to match our MA Treasurer Steve Grossman in the ice-cream talk. Markey's dad worked for Hood and the son worked his way to and through Boston College in part by driving a Hood ice-cream truck.

Today, he heaped on the related humor. "My life is inextricably linked to ice cream," he started, adding, "Without ice cream I'm not going to Boston College." He went on about how great it was to be at JP Licks.

He also delivered a smooth set of lines related to his wife, whom he had wave to us. That would be Dr. Susan J. Blumenthal, very bright, highly accomplished (as in and MD, Georgetown and Tufts professor, assistant surgeon general and on and on). It never hurts a pol either that she is very attractive and shiksha looking (my term, not his). The very Massachusetts, very Irish-American pol had good fun saying he had  "lived the American dream. I married a Jewish doctor."

We'll see how much traction Rep. Steve Lynch gets with his iron-worker v. ice-cream vendor approach in his campaign for the seat. On the face of it, walking steel beams is tougher stuff than driving an ice-cream truck. Yet that too may be risky for Lynch, as after a few years in his father's profession, he became the union local president and seems to have been more a union pol than a rusty-hands laborer.

With the crowd chuckling and attentive, Markey hit his policies, aims, and reasons to vote for him.

Considerable rhetorical and literary elegance, as well as strong evidence of crisp, goal-oriented thinking, appeared in his 20 minute speech. He started, reworked and ended with recurring themes that reappeared and reinforced each other. Yes, he was for gun safety/control. Yes, he was for health care for all, as right not privilege. Yes, he unabashedly touted his constant support for choice, equal treatment and rights for women, as well as his LGBT constituents.

His themes though echoes Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama. He spoke recurringly of the hopes typical Americans have, particularly for their children. For example, that came up in his jest about marrying the American dream, but also in the reality of his immigrant grandfather and his father starting in a ground floor apartment of a Lawrence triple-decker. Then in a Honduran-American endorsing and introducing him in Lawrence. Again in visiting his old family digs at 88 Phillips Street there, to find a different Honduran-American family with aspirations the same as his father and grandfather had for their kids...aspirations Markey has manifested.

He tied himself strongly to Warren, saying such as, "I want to go to Washington to be a partner with Elizabeth Warren on the Senate floor." He added he wanted to advanced the same agenda as she and Obama. He benefits from not having to fudge his record to support that.

This campaign his likely to see such well-written speeches and debates. Here Markey has strong advantages over Lynch and any possible GOP candidate. He has not changed his policies or postures. He is in tune with the typical liberal/progressive MA voter. Also, he's really a pretty funny guy behind all that smart speechifying.

His campaign site is nude at the moment — just volunteer or cough up. However, ProgressiveMass is all for him and stocks his issues. I had gone there basically to meet his press folk and get a Left Ahead podcast in the works (done and done). I'm glad I waited for him to show.


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