Things would be different if Larry Rasky were around.
He was Joe Biden’s go to guy in Massachusetts, even before people knew who Biden was, or what he would become.
On that note, outside of the political and media world, few people knew who Rasky was too.
If Rasky were around today, though, former Gov. Deval Patrick, for instance. who once served in the Justice Department, would be under consideration to become President-elect Joe Biden’s attorney general.
Rasky would have made sure of that.
And why not? Patrick, now working at Bain Capital, is as qualified as anyone else around. He was not only the first African American elected governor in Massachusetts but was head of the Civil Rights Division in the Justice department under President Bill Clinton.
In addition, he briefly ran for president in the Democratic primary, and he is close to Barack Obama who no doubt is advising his former vice president on appointments.
Rasky might have even helped Sen. Elizabeth Warren land a Biden administration job and have found a meaningful position for outgoing U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III.
Rasky could have made things like that happen. Rasky himself might have ended up in a top White House position, perhaps chief of staff, were he here. He was that close to Biden.
But Rasky, 69, who ran Rasky Partners, a public relations firm, died in March from complications stemming from COVID-19, after a long, fruitful and worthy career.
The list of local and national politicians he advised and helped in his laid-back, low-key manner, was amazing. They ranged from Jimmy Carter and John Glenn to Boston Mayor Ray Flynn, State Treasurer Bob Crane, John Kerry and Eddie Markey, to name a few.
Rasky was successful because he understood the language and art of politics, and in doing favors. Politics is not brain surgery. Stripped of everything else, a successful politician is usually (though not always) a person who cares for people and who helps those in need.
Rasky, before his firm became big time, signed on as Biden’s press secretary during Biden’s disastrous 1988 campaign for president.
The pair — an odd couple — struck up a friendship that lasted over the years even when it appeared that Biden would not be elected to anything outside of the U.S. Senate.
As it was, Rasky had launched “Unite the Country,” a super PAC to raise money for Biden’s 2020 campaign for president. “He was a real friend,” Biden said upon Rasky’s death.
Now with Rasky gone, Democratic operatives in Massachusetts seeking to connect with Biden for jobs and favors do not have a heavyweight to call. Cabinet and sub-cabinet positions are being filled without serious input from Massachusetts political figures. There is no one to replace Rasky.
Mayor Marty Walsh, a Biden supporter, has his own problems in running the city and warding off at least two city councilors who are running against him.
Yes, it is true that Biden’s first major appointment was to name John Kerry as his climate czar. Both served in the Senate together and Kerry was secretary of state under Obama and Biden.
And it is also true that Biden appointed Dr. Rochelle Walensky of Massachusetts General Hospital as head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Annie Tomasini, 41, who worked for Rasky, as an Oval Office gatekeeper.
Rasky would have approved of all three, especially the naming of Tomasini.
Ordinarily Kerry, because of his friendship and professional association with Biden, would be the man to see — the go to guy — in Massachusetts in order to get to Biden.
But Kerry has his own agenda, and that is to save the planet by rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement. Saving the world is more important than getting guys jobs.
Besides, Kerry in his long years in politics was never a “go to” guy. Instead, he conducted a “Kerry First” policy which, after taking care of himself, forgot about everybody else outside of his elitist Washington orbit.
“The only time we heard from him,” one top Democrat said, “was when he needed something, not when we did. We miss Rasky. We’ve got nobody.”
Deval Patrick misses him, too. Perhaps Obama will play Rasky for Patrick, if he hasn’t already.
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