Thursday, December 10, 2009

What's next for Khazei?

Well, Tuesday came and went, surprising nobody who could read a poll. With a strong start, Coakley never looked back, had a tightly controlled campaign and cruised to the win for the Democratic Senate nomination by almost 20 points over a strong field. Although I supported Capuano, I've no doubt that Coakley would make an excellent Senator -- heck, it wasn't too long ago that I wanted her to run for governor.

Capuano will remain in the House, where he'll continue to be an unapologetic voice for liberalism, shouting into the wind of Republicans, and at times Democrats. It's kind of a win-win.

Pagliuca can just go back to doing whatever the idle rich do. Hopefully Rondo's jumper keeps improving.

I'm most interested in Alan Khazei's future. I won't hide that I found him rather under-qualified for the Senate job. At the same time, he did show a willingness to go through the painful campaign process, and eventually tamed his instinct to look down upon everyone else. He has many supporters, and with some more campaign seasoning, I think Khazei could have a great impact on the political life of this state. Although one has to take it with a grain of salt a week after the election, Khazei seems open to the idea, recently saying:

Would I rule out a future in politics? No. I was honored by it and I think I learned a lot.

Fortunately, opportunities abound. The attorney general is resigning to run for senate, DeNucci will not run for re-election as auditor, Tim Cahill will leave as treasurer to run for governor, and rumors abound that Bill Galvin is quitting his post as secretary in order to run for Attorney General. This is a real logjam-break in the Bay State, opening up four elected offices for the first time in years...

Of those four offices, I think Khazei would be a particularly good fit in the post of Secretary. "Big Citizenship" seemed to be about involvement with the community, and political engagement is a focus of that job. He's got the right, strong instincts to push for maximal involvement in the process, starting with voting and moving beyond. Khazei certainly doesn't strike me as a numbers guy, and doesn't have the legal experience for AG. (Plus, we already have a good candidate in Steve Grossman for the treasurer's post.) I strongly hope that upon reflection, Khazei announces a run for the slot of secretary, giving Bill Galvin a primary if necessary.

All that said... there have been many progressives who enter a high-profile primary, lose, and then disappear. It's frankly quite disappointing, especially given that it's a common dictum that one has to run twice in politics to run once. I hope Khazei doesn't join that list of progressives in Massachusetts who run in a glamorous primary, only to abandon the process (and their apparent commitment to it) after losing once. He seems like too sincere a guy to do that. If Khazei runs in 2010 my vote will be his to lose. If he doesn't, it will just confirm my less positive suspicions that kept my vote from him in the first place.


GGW said...

1. I'd be surprised if Khazei went for a state level office rather than a federal one.

2. More importantly, I don't agree that Rondo's jumper is improving.

However, he's already the most efficient player on the Celtics, so I'm not complaining.

Quriltai said...

Hey, if Khazei wants to go for another Congressional seat, I'm all for it. Too bad he doesn't live in the Ninth.

James Patrick Conway said...

Agree and disagree.

I completely disagree that next year will be exciting sad to say. The cynic in me tells me that Glodis and Grossman have their races sealed up, that the House appointed AG will similarly cruise to re-election, that Galvin will stay put with no primary challenger, and that the only exciting race will be the Governors one par usual.

I hope I am wrong, but I suspect that I am not.

I also disagree that Khazei would be good for a state office. Khazei would have been my last choice to replace Ted Kennedy* but my first choice to replace Mike Capuano. I think he is more suited for a federal office, it utilizes his skill set and supporter base more. I really don't see going for a state office where he will fade into obscurity and have to deal with un-sexy issues. This is especially true with Auditor and Secretary.

I think a progressive legislator is more appropriate for those statewide vacancies and I really hope someone with credibility steps forward to challenge Glodis and Galvin. At least Glodis, who has some serious hack issues and who is a lot more vulnerable than Galvin since he is still an unknown.

James Patrick Conway said...

*Pags and the Republicans were never really choices to replace Ted K in the first place. Last out of the credible progressives.