Payne’s Pick: Michael Dukakis


Sen. John Kerry, left, with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and then gubernatorial candidate Michael Dukakis in 1982. (AP)

A proposal to let Gov. Deval Patrick name a temporary replacement to Edward M. Kennedy’s vacant Senate seat drew hundreds to the State House in Boston on Wednesday, where legislators opened a public hearing on the bill.

Should lawmakers grant that power to the governor, a number of names have emerged as possible interim successors: Vicki Kennedy, the late senator’s wife; Michael Dukakis, the former Massachusetts governor; and Peter Meade, who leads the Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate at UMass Boston; among others.

Democratic political analyst Dan Payne has narrowed his list to just one: Mike Dukakis, “by many lengths,” Payne tells WBUR.org.

The pros:

  • He’s 75 and will be happy to serve a five month-stint
  • He has respect and name recognition in DC

The cons:

  • He’ll take Amtrak to Washington and not get there until January
  • When confronted with votes on health care reform, he’ll ask: “How come we’re not doing single-payer?”
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  • Dr George Abbott White

    There are few who know the game and players better than Dan Payne, and fewer still who have insight into what will actually play. Mike Dukakis certainly has the experience to appreciate the power of the health care players and ways in which, like Ted Kennedy, the pieces might be made to fit. He knows America does not have a health care system, he knows it has fragments of medicine – increasingly and expensively unconnected. So Dukakis is a wise intermediate choice, I hope he also works to reform one of American medicine’s worst current features, fee-for-service.

  • Cameron Huntley

    How about former state treasurer and gubernatorial candiate Shannon Obrien? She paid her dues by aggressively opposinsg Mitt Romney. and why a not appoiont a woman to the interim post. About time we had more women in our delegation.

  • Michael

    Cameron, why not pick a senator based on their abilities and not on their race or gender? Picking someone because of her gender would be patronizing. Also, the voters have already rejected Shannon O’Brien on a state-wide basis, so obviously she would not be a popular choice.

    Why not pick a politically unconnected, registered independent Quality Engineering professor from MIT? That would be something refreshing and would add balance to the Senate, which already has too many lawyers.

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