By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Rachel Maddow breaks liberal hearts

In my latest for the Guardian, I argue that MSNBC talk-show host Rachel Maddow, whose network recently took out a full-page ad so that she could tell U.S. Sen. Scott Brown that she’s not running for his seat, would actually be the best candidate the Democrats could put up in 2012.

It’s not that Maddow is so wonderful, although she’s pretty good. Rather, it’s that the death of Ted Kennedy exposed the hollowed-out core of a party that dominates state government, but that has failed to develop any new talent in a generation. The one exception: Gov. Deval Patrick. And he’ll be lucky to get re-elected.

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12 Comments

  1. @Dan maybe a media savvy and articulate guy like you would make a great candidate. Say the word and I’ll put up the Facebook page!

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Mike: I’m flattered. I would be the worst politician since — well, give me a week and I’ll think of someone.

  2. Nial Lynch

    **has failed to develop any new talent in a generation. The one exception: Gov. Deval Patrick**

    Can he play short?

  3. Pat Daukantas

    Well, when you think about it, the Kennedy vacancy was the first time a U.S. Senate seat turned over in Massachusetts in a quarter-century (since Paul Tsongas declined to run in 1984 and John Kerry got the seat). That’s half the lifespan of a 50-year-old person.

    I suspect that Massachusetts would have had more turnover in the congressional delegation and in state political posts if there had been some hope of advancement. In the private sector, many young people would have moved on to better pastures if it looked as if they would have to wait a quarter-century to move up the ladder. Yes, I know that the private and public sectors are different, but ambition is ambition. It would be fascinating to find out whether anyone has studied former state legislators to determine whether lack of advancement to higher office is a major motivating factor to step down voluntarily.

    Interestingly, West Virginia at least hasn’t had a new U.S. senator since 1985 either. I wonder what will happen there when one of those seats becomes vacant?

  4. Pat Daukantas

    Come to think of it, Iowa is the other state that hasn’t had a U.S. Senate turnover in the last quarter century (Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley ascended in 1985 and 1981, respectively). How deep are Iowa’s political “replacement teams” at the state level?

  5. Don’t flatter yourself, Dan… You’d make a great politician!

  6. Count this Republican as sorely disappointed that Maddow isn’t running against Brown — because he’d mop the floor with her.

  7. Dan Kennedy

    @Jack: It’s possible that you’re right. But rather than getting all macho on us, why don’t you tell us who the Democrats could nominate who’d be stronger than Maddow?

  8. Mike Benedict

    I was in Rosty’s old district in Chicago when, under indictment, he lost his seat to a nobody much like Scott Brown. A couple years later, the Ravenswood area regained its sanity, and rid itself of the poser. And the guy they chose couldn’t have won a fist fight with Maddow.

    (Unfortunately, it was Rod Blagojevich.)

    Anyway, Scott Brown is a couple years away from being Massachusetts’ smallest footnote.

  9. Brown’s a senator because Coakley ran a lousy campaign. We’ve been down this road. And the Democrats sure as hell better run a good candidate in ’12 or Brown could take it again.

    as to who that candidate is, I have no idea…

  10. Barney Frank doesn’t beat Maddow, Dan? Lynch too for that matter.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Jack: Frank? Mmm … maybe, if everything breaks right. Lynch? Unlike Coakley, he’ll win South Boston. But that’s about it, I suspect. Of course, I’m talking about the current political environment. November 2012 is a lifetime from now. As I wrote in the Guardian piece, in the unlikely event that Patrick somehow comes back and wins re-election this fall, he’ll be a huge player again, and would be a strong contender.

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