Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ed Markey

I haven't done a post yet on the new Senator from Massachusetts, mainly because there was no surprise here, and he's presumably about as predictable a new Senator as is possible.

I have talked about how Ed Markey is a setback for getting the Senate to be younger, but if you're looking for trivia, Eric Ostermeier has plenty more: about older Senators winning special elections, and about Markey's new record for longest House service before moving to the Senate. 

I don't have much to say substantively about Markey. I suspect he'll be a disappointing Senator because he'll find it difficult to adjust to the way the Senate does things, but I certainly could be entirely wrong about that. I'm thinking, at least a bit, about one-term North Dakota Senator Mark Andrews, who didn't adjust well.  

So instead I'll go with something even more trivial than what Ostermeier had...alphabetic quirks of the current Senate. See, Mo Cowan, the interim placeholder Markey will be replacing, was one of -- get this -- 16 Senators whose names begin with a "C." OK, I'm not going to go back through history, but that does seem like rather a lot to me. Anyway, Markey will beef up the "M" caucus; he'll be the 12th. 

Oh, and when Markey is sworn in it will cut in half the number of African American Senators, back down form a historically high two back down to one. Easy enough to look up...beginning with Edward Brooke taking office in 1967, there's been one black Senator for 24 of the 46 years up through 2012, leaving 22 years with zero black Senators. Then Tim Scott was sworn in this January, and Mo Cowan served from February until whenever Markey takes office. It is possible -- or maybe likely -- that Cory Booker will soon join Scott, presumably getting back to two for the remainder of at least the 113th Senate. 

One more: in case anyone is wondering, Markey does not appear to be a dynastic politician. I wouldn't count John Kerry, either (his father was a foreign service officer, although apparently "One of Kerry's maternal great-great-grandfathers was Robert Charles Winthrop, the 22nd Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives." In case anyone is wondering, short-timer New Jersey Senator Jeff Chiesa isn't a dynastic politician, either (nor is Cory Booker, whose parents were IBM executives).

10 comments:

  1. 16 C's is a lot. There have been 157 previous C Senators, but *many* more B, H, M, P, S, and W's. Walker and Williams lead the W's, but not one Washington.

    And Mo is the second Cowan, after Edgar, Civil War Republican of Pennsylvania.

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    1. The 16 'C' senators is right in line with the population average. See

      http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_percent_distribution_of_first_letters_in_last_names_in_the_US

      for the percentages of the US population whose surnames begin with each letter. The percentage for 'C' is 7.52, so the expected number in a random sample of 100 people is 15.

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    2. Yikes! Let me rephrase that....

      "... so the expected number in a random sample of 100 people is between 7 and 8."

      The 16 'C' senators is *twice* the population average of people with last 'C' surnames. If the subpopulation of citizens from which the senate is drawn (what ever that is) has the same percentage of 'C' surnames, then the probability of the senate having 16 or more 'C' surnames is about one-third of one percent (1 in 318).

      So yes, 16 is a lot. (Or the pool of possible senators has a lot more people with 'C' surnames.)

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  2. The name is Chiesa, not Chiasa.
    (It means "church" in Italian.)

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    Replies
    1. I'm pathetic; I looked it up, and still got it wrong. Fixed; thanks.

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  3. Two trivia notes:

    (1) Markey's district last elected a Republican to Congress in...1952! (It was then numbered the Eighth Congressional District, and had somewhat different borders; it consisted of North Reading, Reading, Lynnfield, Wakefield, Saugus, Melrose, Medford, Malden, Everett, Stoneham, and part of Somerville.) In 1952, for the last time it (narrowly) re-elected GOP Congressman Angier Goodwin. In 1954, Goodwin was defeated by Torbert Macdonald, a Democrat and former Harvard roommate of JFK. Since 1954, the district (later renumbered the Seventh and then the Fifth, and of course redistricted several times) has been represented by only two members of Congress: Macdonald, and after Macdonald's death in 1976, Markey.

    (2) Markey defeated Gomez by a 55-45 margin virtually identical to that by which Kerry won *his* first Senate race against Republican Ray Shamie in 1984.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Senate_election_in_Massachusetts,_1984

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  4. As an MA voter, I'll add a bit more substance here. I second the dearth of hope for Markey as a good or interesting senator. To me, he looks like a liberal hack. It's disappointing that no better Dem opted to run. (I think the fix was in among most of the House delegation.) Thank God he's old. At least he won't be around too long.

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    1. Don't be so sure. Generations of Rhode Island politicians waited around for Theodore Green to retire. Which he finally did at the age of 93... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_F._Green

      Staying free of scandal and taking the standard liberal positions on issues will quite possibly be enough to enable Markey to stay in the Senate as long as he's healthy.

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    2. Ach, you're right! Since he's been in the House since the mid-70's, I thought he was older. At 66, he might hang on for a while. I just have to hope otherwise.

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    3. Just to be clear about my opinion: I think he was a very solid Member of the House. I just have my doubts about anyone making the transition. Legislating in the Senate is just a lot different, and he's had a ton of time to get set in his ways.

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