Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…assuming arguendo that Hillary Clinton will secure the Democratic presidential nomination, the question of who her running mate might be remains one worthy of advance consideration. I have previously speculated that former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick would be a logical choice for many reasons, though I can’t help wondering if Patrick’s advocacy for the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership has diminished his potential appeal to progressives.
Clinton would certainly need a running mate of impeccable progressive credentials. While Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren would fit that description, I’m not certain that Warren, who has made clear her lack of interest in a presidential run, would be desirous of being Clinton’s tag-team partner. So why not consider another progressive icon from the Bay State–Senator Edward Markey?
Future generations will honor Markey’s name for his tireless efforts over the past four decades to hold Big Oil accountable for its misdeeds and further the progress of clean energy. As a Congressman, Markey compiled an exemplary record on gun control, telecommunications, homeland security and net neutrality, to name just a few of the many issues he has led on. Despite being in the Senate for less than two years, Markey has, like Warren, demonstrated his ability to maintain the progressive legacy of Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry.
A running mate has to be an aggressive fighter, and it’s difficult to imagine any more effective figure than Markey in that role. During his years in Congress, Markey has boldly denounced the Republican Party’s investment in irrational ideology, skillfully noting that right-wing philosophy flies in the face of basic common sense. Markey’s rhetorical gifts—remember when he labeled the GOP the “gas and oil party”?—would certainly be an effective tool to combat the slippery slogans spewing from the mouth of whichever Koch ally was selected to be the Republican Vice Presidential candidate.
It’s interesting to note that there was a grassroots effort to have Markey replace Walter Mondale as President Carter’s running mate in 1980. I’m not certain that a Carter-Markey ticket would have defeated Ronald Reagan and George Bush in 1980, but wouldn’t it be ironic if a Clinton-Markey ticket beat a Reaganite and Jeb Bush in 2016?