WASHINGTON (CBS) – At its highest levels, politics can be a glamorous business. We don’t have royalty in this country, so we settle for the celebrity of big-time politicians, sports stars, and show-biz types.
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And while it’s true that all of the above take their share of lumps at times, especially the pols, the fact is, presidents and some congressman and even the occasional governor are given the red-carpet treatment, fawned over and pursued by the media as if every word they say is a perfect pearl of wisdom, even when they have little of substance to say.
Every time I come down to Washington on business, I see it firsthand, and I understand how politicians can have their head swollen to unacceptable proportions by the flattery of it all.
In fact, we’re adding two new members to the Massachusetts delegation Thursday who are at risk of having that happen.
Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren was a national celebrity before she ran for office here, and could quickly become a fixture on every major political TV show if she wants to.
Congressman-elect Joe Kennedy is, in case you hadn’t noticed, a Kennedy, and an especially handsome and well-mannered sample of the species at that.
Will Warren and Kennedy give in to the allure of mega-celebrity?
They better not.
What we here in Massachusetts need right now more than anything is not new political royalty, but workers bees preserving and expanding our federal funding while keeping the feds from meddling too much with our business.
Devotion to this unglamorous, unpublicized, gritty, often boring work is what made Ted Kennedy a great senator at his best.
Refusal to be distracted by ambition or celebrity is what has made Tom Menino a great mayor at his best.
So let’s hope Elizabeth and Joe give the talk shows a miss for awhile, and instead get their hands dirty.
That’s how we’ll know they care about us more than the limelight.
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.