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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Trash talk with The Duke

With the Massachusetts Senate poised to take up discussion of an interim Senate appointment, both Boston papers offered their thoughts this morning.

The Globe editorial page endorsed Michael Dukakis to warm the seat. The Herald's Margery Eagan trashed him. But in a nice way.

I've occasionally encountered Dukakis on his excursions: while unfailingly pleasant, he power walks while chatting, grabbing every scrap in his path. There's little doubt his principal focus is on the candy wrapper, but yet he manages to come up with something topical, particularly if he knows you.

It's long past time to rehabilitate the image of this man. Hindsight tells us the state's economic malaise of the late '80s was simply a deeper version of a national recession -- something that happened again about a decade later.

Can you recall a more scandal-free administration? Every politician turns up a few clunkers and Dukakis did too -- but from top to bottom, honesty and integrity was the mainstay.

And his personal integrity? Eschewing consultancies and speaking tour riches for a spot at a local university where he has labored quietly for nearly 20 years generating good student reviews?

As for the interim appointment, the Globe nailed it: he knows health care and he knows constituent service. Those are the two prime areas in need of attention in the four months until voters chose a permanent successor to Ted Kennedy.

When Roland Burris was named interim senator in Illinois to succeed Barack Obama it was duly noted that Burris was shopping for another title to add to his mausoleum.

In contrast, Dukakis is so dedicated to public service he gets to work every day with a bag filled with someone else's callously discarded detritus. He deserves one more meaningful opportunity to serve.

And he may just clean up Washington too.

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