Liberal hearts have been swelling and beating faster with Barney Frank's surprise announcement that he would like Governor Deval Patrick to appoint him to John Kerry's Senate seat for the three months or so until a special election can be arranged. Kerry will shortly be confirmed by the Senate as Hillary Clinton's replacement at State. The very thought of a Massachusetts Senate delegation consisting of Elizabeth Warren and Barney Frank, even if only for a few months, must be causing widespread indigestion on Wall Street. It is enough to give this old leftie fleeting hopes of Resurrection.
Massachusetts is one of those states [I think there are a number of others] in which politicians for the most part wait their turn patiently for the opportunity to clamber up the electoral ladder another rung. When I arrived in Western Massachusetts in 1971 to take up my new position as Professor of Philosophy at UMass Amherst, the huge First Congressional District, comprising everything west of Springfield all the way to the New York border, was represented by benevolent Silvio Conte, a Republican who had held the seat since 1959 and had moved steadily to the left as the political complexion of the Massachusetts First shifted. Conte died in office in 1991, and immediately office holders up and down the ballot started making their calculations. John Olver, a former UMass chemistry professor who had served as a liberal Democrat in the Mass House for 14 years and the Mass Senate for 18, made his move. Hew ran for the Democratic nomination to replace Conte, and when he was elected [there was never any doubt that the Democratic nominee would win the seat], that opened up a Massachusetts State Senate seat. Stan Rosenberg moved up from the Massachusetts House to take Olver's seat, leaving open a House seat for the district that included Amherst. Ellen Story, a wonderful, very liberal woman strong in the Pioneer Valley's women's movement, ran for and won Stan's old seat. I worked on Ellen's first campaign [since then she has been a shoo-in]. You will know how low-tech the operation was if I tell you that I was the campaign's computer expert!
Ed Markey, a strongly liberal long-time member of the Massachusetts House delegation, has announced for Kerry's seat in the special election, and Kerry has endorsed him, which pretty much forecloses a contest for the nomination. Even so, I cannot help dreaming that after several months Barney decides he likes it in the Senate chambers and makes a run for the seat.