I’m not thrilled with Martha Coakley; I think the state of Massachusetts could do better. But she’s a much better fit for the state than Scott Brown. Coakley has been battling Brown now with adverts about how he is a Bush/Cheney-like Republican – a low blow, but there is some truth to it: Brown is against gay marriage, against cap-and-trade, uncertain about global warming, for waterboarding, and for regressive tax cuts. Brown said in the most recent debate that he was a fan of the universal coverage Massachusetts has now yet he is against the federal government doing the same. And not only is he against continuing to work for national health insurance reform now, he recently filed a bill in the state to remove some of the coverages that the state currently requires such as infertility treatments and chiropractors. (Now for Coakley to make the leap from removing infertility and chiropractic care to removing mammograms is disingenuous to say the least but she’s fighting fiction with fiction – retaliation for when Brown says that he would be scared if Coakley were elected because of her support for terrorists, for example.)
As for Brown’s line that we should vote for him if we want to decide where we spend our own money, I’m reasonably confident that the amount of my personal discretionary income wouldn’t change one cent if he were elected instead of Coakley. Now if you are among the wealthiest who stand to gain from a regressive tax cut and you are solely concerned about your individual wealth, then I would understand supporting this line of reasoning.
What’s to like about Coakley? Well, not much really. But there’s also not much to dislike. She’ll probably be more moderate than Kennedy was but also much less of a presence in the senate. I would have liked a senator with more fire and passion like Capuano. Sadly the path to electoral success today is not with passion but with measured moderation.
It’s clear that a vote for Brown is a vote against Obama’s plans and policies whereas a vote for Coakley is a vote in support of them. And while I am okay with a vote against the sitting President (I’m not one to consider that unpatriotic!), I don’t think you can vote for Brown and be anything but anti-Obama and a fan of the Bush/Cheney policies. Again, it’s fine if you are. But I believe that there are people who support or voted for Obama who are planning to vote for Brown and may not have thought through the contradictory nature of their planned vote.
For anyone who wants Coakley to win, get out there and vote. It has been shocking to me how many people are vociferously supporting Brown. Even though the polls show that Coakley is ahead, as they say: the only polls that matter are the election results. And there’s a good chance that every Brown supporter is going to vote. Therefore, all the more important that if you are not voting for Brown, you should get out there and vote too!!
For the sake of completeness, although Joe Kennedy may be the nicest, most moderate, and most pragmatic Libertarian to run for office in Massachusetts, he’s still too Libertarian for me.