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High-Fives and Dope Slaps: Could Mass. politicians invade Washington in November?

Posted by Alex Pearlman  May 1, 2012 09:44 AM

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john kerry secretary of state.jpgBy Jeff Fish

It's officially May now, but despite the calendar change, things on both the state and national political scenes are pretty much the same: It’s still, and will continue to be, anyone’s game in the Scott Brown vs. Elizabeth Warren election, although the former has picked up some key Democratic endorsements. While only one candidate can win the seat, a rumor is buzzing around that Sen. John Kerry could have a spot in President Obama’s cabinet, which would stir things up in the Senate.

In other news, Gov. Deval Patrick and his predecessor are getting a dope slap and a high-five, respectively -- Patrick for putting the ol' “there are more important issues” label on medical marijuana and Romney for doing something decent and showing his human side.

High-Five: Scott Brown boasts Democratic endorsements. It seems like Brown keeps broadening his bi-partisan image, now by touting a number of Democratic endorsements. On Facebook and Twitter, Brown said the he is “honored to have the support of former Boston and Worcester Democratic mayors Ray Flynn and Konnie Lukes.” Brown is one of the very few Republican candidates in the country who's boasting Democratic endorsements.

Then again, this is Massachusetts, so most of the Democrats in the state aren't the so-called "Harvard elite liberals" that have propelled Elizabeth Warren’s campaign. In fact, most Mass. Democrats are actually oddly conservative; they just generally vote for Democrats, whom they identify as pro-union and pro-middle class. These Democrats definitely don’t sync with Warren’s decidedly liberal views on things like immigration, tax policy, and, in some cases, contraception, not to mention her self-professed link to the Occupy movement. In Brown, they see a regular guy who has proven his willingness to cross the aisle, and they can identify more easily with his barn jacket-wearing, truck-driving image than they can with Professor Warren. Then you've got the extreme right-wingers, who will vote for Brown because they have nowhere else to turn. And let’s not forget that a lot of Independents make up this state's voting population, so they'll be the key to a Brown victory.

I like Warren, but I think what Brown represents -- the nearly extinct "moderate Republican" -- is crucial to breaking the bitter gridlock in Washington.

High-Five: Sen. John Kerry for secretary of state? It’s no secret that Kerry was a top candidate for secretary of state back in 2008 before President Obama ultimately chose Hillary Clinton. Now, Kerry is one of Obama’s top surrogates, and since he replaced Joe Biden as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when the latter became vice president, Kerry has some heavy foreign policy gravitas in his corner.

I've never really liked Kerry all that much, but I think he suits the job fine, and his promotion would leave an empty Senate seat in Massachusetts -- an opportunity to breathe more life into state and national politics. As I’ve said, I like both Brown and Warren, so maybe whoever loses can run to fill Kerry’s seat. Brown is a deal-maker who commands broad support, and Warren is a fierce opponent of Wall Street who's pledged to not even own stock if she wins the election, signaling that she will not be swayed by the crushing influence of big corporations. And both candidates have shown independence from their own parties and have called for reforms in Congress. Of course, this scenario is highly hypothetical, but the two together could represent Massachusetts well.

Dope Slap: Gov. Deval Patrick hasn’t been paying attention to medical marijuana debate. This story is just another example of politicians -- and a good portion of the general public -- who are completely ignorant on marijuana policy. Patrick dismissed medical marijuana as a secondary, back-burner issue that distracts from the real issues at hand, much like how moderate pro-life Republicans try to distance themselves from their actual pro-life stance.

But this issue is important; that’s what people don’t get. If marijuana was completely legalized there would be wide economic and social benefits -- but I won’t get into that now. Instead, I’ll just stick the the medical marijuana debate and say that people who are suffering should be able to legally take a non-harmful substance that will ease their pain and increase their appetite. End of story.

High-Five: Mitt Romney secretly visits Greenland, N.H. police station. On his way back to Boston from a campaign rally in Portsmouth, N.H., Romney stopped by the Greenland, N.H., police station, not to talk about votes, but to offer his condolences for their fallen police chief, who was killed serving a warrant for a drug charge. No media were present -- just Romney, some secret service officers, and an aid.

Another high-five for Romney? I know, I can't believe it either. Obviously, I don’t trust his motives, and I believe that his sole purpose in life is to become president, but the same is probably true of most candidates. So I’ve gotta hand it to him: This was a classy move and a thoughtful gesture that, politically motivated or not, probably meant a lot to the grieving officers.

'High-Fives and Dope Slaps' is TNGG Boston's weekly politics column, written by Jeff Fish.

Photo of John Kerry by cliff1066â„¢ (Flickr)

About Jeff -- I'm a senior at Suffolk University, majoring in journalism and political science. I'm the editor-in-chief of my college newspaper, The Suffolk Journal, and I did a six-month co-op at The Boston Globe. I love politics, reading, movies, TV, and anything pop culture. My mind is a font of useless knowledge.

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