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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Monday, April 08, 2013

Somnolent Senate showdown

Anyone notice there are Senate primaries going on?

The Democratic and Republican primaries to replace John Kerry were low-key affairs to begin with, the hopefuls failing to spark interest after high-profile campaigns involving Scott Brown, Martha Coakley and Elizabeth Warren.

And they became significant snoozers, particularly to the Boston media, after Tom Menino declared he was walking away from City Hall.

There are now just three weeks until voters go to the polls and the under-the-radar screen contests seem to be rousing, although the best tonight's Ed Markey-Steve Lynch debate can generate is live streaming in the run-up to the NCAA championship game.

Columnists are trying to generate some heat: witness Joan Vennochi's assertion that state Democratic Party leader John Walsh tried to keep Lynch out of the race -- a claim that was roundly denied on Twitter by just about everyone, including Lynch's team.

And Markey's efforts to date have been just about as bad as Joe Battenfeld suggests, a lackluster debate effort amid what can only be called uninspiring TV commercials that assume everyone in Massachusetts knows the 36-year veteran.

While Lynch works to define himself, Markey can expect the Republicans to do so if he makes it out of the primary.

And despite his own efforts, it's likely he will because Vennochi has a point: the liberals who vote in the Democratic primary are not enamored of Lynch.

The South Boston congressman was not helped in that cause with the Globe's extended look at the record he has compiled in the Massachusetts Legislature and in Washington.

It's not so much his "evolution" on  issues like abortion and gay rights. The toughest roadblock Lynch faces (in contrast to the boost from Markey's apparent indifference to campaigning) is his vote against the Affordable Care Act.

Lynch's response that the bill was flawed is not good enough. Everyone committed to health care reform can rattle off all the compromises that had to be made to secure passage of one of the most important pieces of legislation in American history.

Democrats fell into line to support the less-than-perfect start of a major milestone, knowing that the law can be improved over time, once the highly partisan Republican obstruction fades.

 But not Lynch.

There's still time for Markey to rouse from his slumber and properly introduce himself and what he stands for, not necessarily because he faces a major challenge from Lynch.

Republicans would like nothing more than reclaim the "Brown seat." And a nominee perceived to be as disinterested as Martha Coakley -- to the point of not challenging his primary foe -- would give them a credible shot.

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