No one has ever described Sen. Ed Markey better than Billy Bulger did at those St. Patrick’s Day breakfasts in South Boston so many years ago:
“To a battle of wits he comes unarmed.”
In fact, it’s probably truer today than it was back in the day at Halitosis Hall.
At age 76, the senator whose last real job was driving an ice-cream truck in Malden – hence his nickname “Mr. Frosty” – has been be-clowning himself in public for more than a half-century now.
But give Mr. Frosty credit for one thing. He always been able to ID the latest headline-generating trend, or controversy, and to somehow use whatever it is to make a fool of himself.
Now he’s going at it with Elon Musk, and as usual, it’s not going well for Markey because to a battle of wits… well, you know.
On a local Democrat chat show last weekend, Mr. Frosty said that Twitter could become a threat to public health because of the changes in the way blue check marks are handed out.
“So um so someone could impersonate the CDC for eight dollars, pay for it, not be authenticated and then on that site say ‘CDC says vaccinations are not good for you.’ That’s a public health and safety problem.”
Forget the fact that after the Fauci fiasco, if the CDC did declare that vaccinations were a public health hazard, more than half the population would be more inclined to believe that the shots were good for them.
As the Wall Street Journal pointed out in an editorial yesterday:
“Public Distrust of Health Officials Is Anthony Fauci’s Legacy.”
Exactly. Which explains why nobody is getting boosted anymore, not even in credulous blue states like Massachusetts. Even those $75 gift cards to Market Basket aren’t the job done.
But Mr. Frosty thinks he’s got the street cred to take on Musk. See, a few weeks back, he let some Democrat operative with a press pass from the Washington Post get a fake blue-check mark in his name.
As the world yawned, the senator denounced Twitter and said that Musk was “putting profits over people and debt over stopping disinformation.”
Musk tweeted a perfect response to Mr. Frosty in explaining why someone had been able to hijack his name.
“Perhaps it is because your real account sounds like a parody.”
Perfect. I haven’t seen Mr. Frosty slapped around like this since his old girlfriend threw him out of the car at the Oak Grove T station back in 1984. That late-night lovers’ spat unfolded as his first US Senate campaign imploded after he was stumped on local TV by some really tough questions like: Which side is the US on in Nicaragua? (Remember the Sandinistas? Mr. Frosty didn’t.)
As always, Markey is the wrong place at the wrong time. He used to be pro-life, now he’s pro-abortion. I assume he used to be a fan of the Bill of Rights, but no longer. Now he fears the First Amendment more than a primary challenge in 2026 from Michelle Wu or Ayanna Pressley.
Here’s how Musk summed up the fight he’s in with keeping Twitter free:
“This is a battle for the future of civilization. If free speech is lost even in America, tyranny is all that lies ahead.”
Markey’s latest dust-up with Musk, and his utter cluelessness about the issues he’s declaiming on, reminds me of one of his first crusades. It was back in the late 1970’s, after his landslide victory for Congress with 22 percent of the vote in a special election.
The next big thing back then was not Twitter, but cable TV. And Fast Eddie came up with an issue, complete with a prop. The problem was that the cable companies were charging I think a buck per month for use of a remote control.
Markey started carrying one of those bulky early remote controls in his coat pocket. It served a double purpose for the lightweight’s lightweight – first, it provided enough ballast to keep him from being blown away in a stiff wind.
And at public appearances, he would pull it out of his pocket, hold it up, wave it around and tell the crowd, I’m the one who made sure those evil cable companies can’t charge you a buck a month anymore for your remote control.
The voters in his not-terribly-bright district (they are now represented by Colorado blow-in Katherine Clark) would cheer… at least for a little while, until they realized that the cable companies had just eliminated the $1 line item for the remote and then upped the charges for 3 or 5 bucks somewhere else on the bill.
That was Eddie Markey then. In those days, we called him a K-Mart Kennedy – with his RFK-coiffed hair and his faux-JFK accent, it was pretty clear the lame game he was playing. There was a lot of it going around in Massachusetts.
Markey even tried the ultimate Kennedy stunt, trying to get his novice brother elected to the US House seat next to his. Lightning did not strike twice.
There have been so many magic moments in Markey’s career. His first vote in the Senate – “Present!” on a Mideast war resolution. Or his paean on the Senate floor to the 2017 Super Bowl champions – “the Boston Patriots,” a mere 47 years after they changed their name to New England.
He lives in Maryland now. Most of his long-ago neighbors in Malden couldn’t pick him out of a lineup, nor would they want to. But he did do one thing for Massachusetts – the K-Mart Kennedy ended the Curse of the Real Kennedys by defeating JoJoJo Kennedy in 2020.
Of course he did have a little help from The Squad, especially AOC. What the remote control was him to 1979, what Twitter is to 2022, AOC was to 2020. A prop, the next big thing.
In addition to Mr. Frosty, Ed Markey is also known as The Man That Time Forgot. If only the rest of could forget him.