BOSTON (CBS) – Poor Mike Capuano.

The former Somerville mayor won election to Congress in 1998 and for the next 20 years spent all but four of them in the minority of the house, a tough place to be if you want to get anything done.

Capuano bided his time, built strong relationships with leaders like Nancy Pelosi, and was poised to reap the benefits of seniority when the Democrats seized control of the house this fall.

But along came Boston city councilor Ayanna Pressley, who stunned Capuano in the primary last summer. And understandably enough, Capuano isn’t too happy about it.

Ayanna Pressley and U.S. Rep. Mike Capuano. (WBZ-TV)

Earlier this week he told a radio interviewer that his defeat wasn’t a referendum on him, but the result of liberal backlash against the party establishment by “a lot of young people that don’t have a clue what happened yesterday, never mind five or ten years ago.”

Spoken like a true baby boomer baffled and annoyed by inevitable generational turnover. I’ve seen no evidence that younger voters were the major reason for Capuano’s defeat, nor any proof that the ones who did vote for Pressley did so out of cluelessness over “what happened yesterday.”

A likelier explanation is that voters of all ages dissatisfied with how Congress has been addressing their concerns saw in councilor Pressley someone with more energy and better listening skills – no disrespect intended.

Capuano says just changing the players won’t change the system, but it seems there were plenty of voters who figured it’s a start. It’ll be up to Pressley to live up to their mandate, and up to Capuano to help her, once the sting fades.

Talk back to me via email at, or use Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

Jon Keller

  1. Theodore Oule says:

    Capuano has mo obligation to help Pressley.

    In fact, it might be best for Capuano to ride off into the sunset amd let Pressley make her own mistakes and learn the business of being a Congresswoman herself.

    She’ll have plenty of time as she will be around for a long time since Massachusetts is considered just one BIG safe district for Democrats.

    When Pressley is in her sixties, she’ll be toppled by another “shiny object” that you bored types in the media decide to latch onto.

    Pressley will have the privilege of being off the radar as the bimbo from Brooklyn with a “degree” from Boston University will attract the attention, so she will have a chance to learn without the media scrutiny. Whether she learns or not is up to her.

    But one thing is for sure, Massachusetts, in its infinite wisdom, has ceded a great deal of power in Congress, a level of power that will take years, if ever, to re-establish.

    Brilliant ! Absolutely BRILLIANT ! ! !

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