In this week's Boston Phoenix David Bernstein dissects the prospects of heavy hitters in the Massachusetts Democratic Party that are looking at running for higher office in 2014. What he finds is a charismatic void left by departing Governor Deval Patrick and a yearning for another Patrick style figure by activists.
Few want to say it on the record, for fear of offending the powerful pols considered most likely to run: Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray, Attorney General Martha Coakley, Treasurer Steve Grossman, and US Congressman Michael Capuano.
But, much as they may like and admire those four A-Listers, many insiders and activists I've spoken with in recent weeks see them as flawed. They worry that the quartet reek too much of insider-establishment politics — and Massachusetts voters have shunned such candidates for a generation.
That has an awful lot of Democrats scanning the horizon for their new Deval — the untainted outsider, the inspiring fresh face who can inject some hope and optimism into the race.
Tough problem to have. Too much experience and talent is, apparently, a bad thing for party activists. Charismatic outsiders are all the rage these days.
On the opposite side of the aisle the bench isn't much deeper. The Massachusetts Republicans have Charlie Baker and...Karyn Polito?
Dan Winslow? Ok, maybe.
Meanwhile on the national side of things the Democrats are struggling to find prospective candidates with enough experience, talent, or national star power for 2016.
Democratic insiders, on the other hand, would be hard pressed to come up with 10 names for 2016, much less 20. The very short list of newcomers tabbed for big things seems to consist of Cuomo, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, and Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, but they are far from household names even among Democratic die-hards; you are just as likely to hear speculation about another candidacy for Clinton or Biden -- who would be 69 and 74, respectively, at the time of their 2017 inaugurations.
The most common name Ball heard from activists?
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