Remarkably, the local dailies pull a crisscross in their editorials today about Gov. Deval Patrick’s appointment of his former chief of staff William “Mo” Cowan to fill the U.S. Senate seat just vacated by John Kerry (D-I Am Secretary of State Now) until the special election this summer.
The Boston Herald’s surprisingly upbeat editorial:
Diversifying the Senate
Yes, Gov. Deval Patrick is inordinately fond of “firsts.” And by appointing his former chief of staff and chief legal counsel Mo Cowan to the U.S. Senate he will double the number of African-Americans currently in that branch, making it the first time since Reconstruction two black men will be serving in that body at the same time — although neither was elected. (South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley earlier named Republican Rep. Tim Scott to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Jim DeMint.)
There is something to be said for bringing a little diversity to a body badly in need of same. But Cowan is also smart, energetic, a consummate professional and at age 43 really just at the start of a promising career that come summer will take him back to the private sector. He is also unflaggingly loyal to the governor he has served since 2009. Patrick won’t have to lose any sleep wondering what Cowan will do or say next.
Which brings us to the best part — he’s not Barney Frank.
From the Boston Globe’s surprisingly downbeat editorial:
IN CHOOSING an interim senator to serve for almost five months, a governor should have one overriding priority: Providing the best possible representation for the people of Massachusetts. The quality of that representation can be measured not only by the character of the person chosen, but by the amount of clout the appointee brings to a short tenure in the Senate.
William “Mo” Cowan, Governor Patrick’s choice to fill the next four months of John Kerry’s term, has the requisite character, a solid knowledge of statewide issues, and has sounded the right notes of confidence and humility. But at 43, with only his stints as Patrick’s legal counsel and chief of staff as top-level credentials, Cowan counts as a surprising — and disappointing — choice. Simply put, Massachusetts is brimming over with political talent, including many potential picks of greater stature than Cowan, and many with vastly greater national experience.
Namely, former Massachusetts governor and failed presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, Ted Kennedy widow Victoria Reggie Kennedy, and – wait for it – unemployed and unlamented former Congressman Barney Frank.
The hardchoosing staff? We would have picked the Duke, who earned a Final Act with his block precinct work to get Deval elected in the first place.
But, apparently, Cowan’s Mo-mentum trumped all that.