Sacred Cods and Holy Mackerals

US Sen. Dukakis? And Coakley vs. Capuano vs. Pagliuca
September 16, 2009, 2:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I didn’t want to post today. I really didn’t. Frankly, I have too many things swirling around to be on spacebook and the twatter. Real, actual job responsibilities. A dog who may or may not have swine flu. Bursitis in the bocce elbow.

But the developments in the US Senate race are coming too fast to ignore them any more.

David Bernstein yesterday explained why Congressman Stephen Lynch’s decision not to run is so stunning. When Bernstein mentioned to an insider that he thought the only thing that would stop Lynch from running is a meteor strike, the friend replied back: “What makes you think the meteor would stop him?”

Basically, what it comes down to is Lynch’s luke-warm support for health care reform cost him too much union backing. Union backing (and a strong statewide showing from the Southie/Dorchester diaspora) were the only ways Lynch was going to win. And in a 100 meter sprint of a special election primary, that’s all you need sometimes.

But the unions abandoned him over health care and lined up behind Coakley. Game over for Lynch.

Coakley right now is organizing a monster of a campaign machine. She has many of the Party stalwarts, has access to the donor logs for fundraiser extraordinaire Barabara Lee and Senate President Therese Murray, and is snatching up union after union endorsement.

Congressman Michael Capuano will be able to peel off a few Party stalwarts and I’m sure House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will help him raise a few dollars. But there’s not much else going for him. Pelosi is actually bordering on being more of a liability than an asset.

That leaves the newest entry into the race: Celtics part-owner, and Bain Capital exec Stephen Pagliuca. His biggest asset is a very deep personal savings account and the memories of the Celtics’ 2008 championship. He could tout his private sector management skills but beyond that, its not clear what other strengths he has. He won’t out lefty Capuano or Coakley. He has no natural base, no organization. Sure, his former partner Mitt Romney built up a base but he did so over several months, not 10 weeks.

Beyond all that, the favorite question on Beacon Hill is who would Gov. Patrick name to the interim seat, if the Legislature allows him to do so. The leader in the clubhouse — Mike Dukakis — makes sense if you’re a hard-core Democrat, but very well could close the book on any chance Deval Patrick has at being re-elected. If you’re Deval Patrick, the person you appoint should meet three qualifications: knows the players in Washington, understands the importance of health care reform, and isn’t looking for a long-term gig. Dukakis meets all three of those qualifications. 1988 wasn’t that long ago, he actually got a universal health care plan approved by the Mass. Legislature in the late ’80s (before it was overturned by the voters), and has no interest in being down at Washington fulltime.

Of course, his popularity among the Mass. citizenry isn’t exactly high. My prediction is that appointing Dukakis would signal that Patrick won’t be seeking re-election.


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