Monday, January 18, 2010

we've seen this show before

It's time for a political tangent- those of you who don't care or hate my politics please come back later this week, when I finally get around to more decade recaps, and actually review recent offerings by Vijay Iyer, Rudresh Mahanthappa, and Rez Abassi. Now then:

I posted this as my Facebook comment yesterday, but felt like saying more about it. In case you don't read the news, tomorrow in Massachusetts voters will elect Ted Kennedy's successor in the Senate, in a surprisingly close race between Democratic attorney general Martha Coakley and Republican state senator Scott Brown- here's some analysis from the NY Times.

This race reminds me eerily of the Bush-Gore 2000 campaign- not in the hanging chads and court case sense (I somehow doubt it will come to that), but in voter mood and the disconnect between what people say they want and how they say they'll vote. You have a very likable, handsome (certainly moreso than Bush) very conservative (for Massachusetts, anyway) Republican anyway running a great campaign against a seemingly aloof Democrat, who people are more likely to agree with on positions, but who is running a campaign that could charitably be called lackluster. (I'd use the word awful) Then you had a lot of folks vote Bush because he was the one they'd rather have a beer with. Now you have Brown, a former Cosmo model who rides around the state in a pickup and smiles real big. (To be fair, his grammar is vastly better than Bush's) Then and now you have an electorate disenchanted with what they see as the mess in Washington- then the moral and ethical stink the Clinton White House left, now the bad economy, sputtering legislative agenda and seeming aloofness of Washington (and certainly Boston) Democrats.

People, step back a second. By most reasonable measure most Massachusetts residents are worse off economically, and less optimistic about their prospects, than they were in 2001.
But what you have in Scott Brown is a man advancing the agenda of, well, George Bush circa 2001. There is one candidate who has actually gone after corporate and government corruption, huge causes of our current mess, and it isn't Scott Brown. Based on statements re: waterboarding and "war on terror" legal issues, there is one lawyer (they're both lawyers) in the race who actually seems to understand law regarding war, and it isn't Scott Brown. You catch a pattern here?

I know Coakley is a uninspiring candidate who's run a terrible campaign, but I firmly believe, based on both record and policy positions, she will be a much better senator than Brown. (We forget that for his first ten years, Ted Kennedy was nothing to write home about, but I digress.) But I would ask voters to remember what happened the last time we chose a "likable" major officeholder ahead of a competent one, and how that puppy worked out. So Massholes, vote tomorrow, vote Coakley. Thanks.

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