Budowsky: Why I back Kennedy, praise Markey

Budowsky: Why I back Kennedy, praise Markey
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As the Massachusetts Senate Democratic primary moves towards a high-profile crescendo when voters decide on Sept. 1, they are blessed with two outstanding choices.

A number of leading progressives I have long admired are backing Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyDemocrats see fundraising spike following Ginsburg death Massachusetts town clerk resigns after delays to primary vote count Bogeymen of the far left deserve a place in any Biden administration MORE III (D-Mass.). Other leading progressives I have long admired are backing Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyA game theorist's advice to President Trump on filling the Supreme Court seat Watchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump 3 reasons why Biden is misreading the politics of court packing MORE (D-Mass.). While like many Democrats, I am not entirely comfortable when asked to choose between them, having closely followed both for some time, and spent too many elections choosing between imperfect candidates or the lesser of two evils — it is wonderful to choose between two candidates I admire and respect.

With that thought: I back Kennedy and praise Markey. Here is why:


The presidential and Senate elections in 2020 are among the most important in American history. In my view the behavior of President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act MORE, who is trying to discredit the presidential election itself, and who threatens to not respect the results of that election, constitutes, for the first time in my lifetime, a dangerous threat to American democracy itself.

It is imperative for our democracy to elect former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Joe Biden should enact critical government reforms if he wins MORE as president, and a Democratic-controlled Senate to implement a program to reverse the damage and destruction of Trump’s policies and practices on countless matters of urgent importance.

While I greatly admire Markey, I believe Kennedy would bring the most powerful and effective voice to help lift and rally the nation in the coming years.

One of the greatest senators who ever served was the late Ted Kennedy, who I had the honor to sometimes work with, beginning with the years I worked for his friend and legislative partner, then-Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas).

Vicki Kennedy, Ted Kennedy’s devoted wife and full partner in his great achievements, advised me in a chat several years ago to closely follow the work of Rep. Joe Kennedy III, who she privately described as extraordinary, special and the “real deal” with great things to offer the future of our country. I followed her advice, which this week she enthusiastically approved my quoting in this column.


Having watched Joe Kennedy’s career in the House closely, I concluded he is indeed an extraordinary and special public servant.

Consider the words of the late Rep. John LewisJohn LewisHillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close Underwood takes over as chair of House cybersecurity panel Trump to pay respects to Ginsburg at Supreme Court MORE (D-Ga.), the gold standard of greatness that transcended two centuries, who knew Kennedy well and worked with him often, when he endorsed Kennedy in the Senate campaign.

“In the years I have known Joe Kennedy I have seen him stand up and fight — time and again— for the suffering, the struggling and the silenced,” Lewis said.“At a moment of profound national crisis, Joe offers the country the kind of powerful moral leadership it needs. He is a clear voice for justice and dignity in our rising generation of public service.”

Truer words have rarely been spoken.

In 2017, when Trump began trying to destroy ObamaCare, and was supported by then-Speaker and former vice presidential nominee Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanKenosha will be a good bellwether in 2020 At indoor rally, Pence says election runs through Wisconsin Juan Williams: Breaking down the debates MORE (R-Wis.), Kennedy famously challenged him.

When Ryan said destroying ObamaCare was an “act of mercy,” Kennedy responded it was an “act of malice.” He said, “With due respect to our Speaker, he and I must have read different Scripture. The one I read calls on us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless and to comfort the sick.”

Game, set, match to Kennedy.

In early 2018, Democratic leaders chose Kennedy to give the nationally televised response to Trump’s State of the Union address. His speech was a powerful statement of what Democrats stand for and fight for.

In the historic Democratic landslide in the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats chose Kennedy to be regional vice-chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Kennedy campaigned across America for Democratic candidates for the House and Senate.

Game, set, match to Democratic leaders and Kennedy.

Joe Kennedy in the Senate would be a powerful and effective voice to lift and shape the post-Trump America.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.