We have our first official endorsement in the race for US Senate – Phase Two!
Don’t get too excited, because it’s an endorsement from Paul G. Kirk Jr., the guy keeping US Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s seat warm, for Martha Coakley, for whom he said he would stump hard. Gee, shock after shock here.
Just as it’s soooooooooooo surprising that AG Coakley’s rivals in the primary – Congressman Michael E. Capuano, Alan A. Khazei, and Stephen G. Pagliuca – immediately jumped on the Coakley Bandwagon. My favorite line from a Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the ever-tactful Rep. Capuano: “There is no way in hell we’re going to elect a Republican to Ted Kennedy’s seat. Period.”
I’m probably wasting my breath reminding him the seat belongs to whoever the voters decide it belongs to, huh?
If I were Coakley I’d distance myself from Capuano ASAP…the guy’s campaign poison.
The Republican candidate for the race, State Senator Scott P. Brown (R – Wrentham), received an endorsement as well, from Barbara Anderson, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. She called Sen. Brown “a solid friend to the taxpayer in his time on Beacon Hill. He represents our best opportunity to put a check on the spending excesses that inevitably fall on the taxpayers to fund.”
Speaking of Sen. Brown, he has now pulled out two classic Political Strategies That Don’t Really Work in the second leg of his campaign. Last week I mentioned he’d thrown down the “I challenge you not to accept special interest donations” gauntlet, and a few days later he tacked on the “I won’t raise taxes and I challenge you to do the same” gambit.
AG Coakley disregarded that latter challenge, calling it a “gimmick,” and you know what? She’s right; the promise to lower taxes is a tired and worn-out gimmick pushes voters’ buttons and provokes a gut response – though the only people who respond to it are generally people who are already supporting the candidate.
Sen. Brown definitely has more spark than AG Coakley and hopefully he’ll add some much-needed zing to the proceedings, but for the love of all creatures great and small I hope he stops speaking in cliché sound bites.
Now, as you may see in this week’s letters to the editor section (up front, page four), I apparently made a new friend with a lady in Sandwich who took me to task for listing several of the PACs from which Sen. Brown has accepted donations (see above remarks about his Special Interest Donation Challenge).
She thought it unfair for me to list off the PACs without doing the same for AG Coakley. Well, never be said I’m not up for giving Democrats as much grief as Republicans (because I am…oh, yes, I am).
For Sen. Scott I listed 12 PACs: one each representing political, auto industry, insurance industry, real estate industry, construction tradesmen, and health care industry interests; and three each representing banks or other financial institutions, and police/corrections/public safety officers.
For my apples-to-apples comparison, here are 12 PACs, listed in the same order by category, who have at some point thrown money at AG Coakley: the National Women’s Political Caucus, New Car Dealers, the Insurance Agents and Brokers of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the American Health Care Association; FMR LLC (Fidelity), Bank of America, Citizens Bank, the Professional Fire Fighters of MA People’s Committee, the New Bedford Police Union, and the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union.
Please notice that in my quick review, I found five PACs – the Insurance Agents and Brokers of Massachusetts, the Mass. Association of Realtors, FMR LLC, Bank of America, and the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union – who at some point donated to both AG Coakley and Sen. Brown.
That all said, I think my ardent Sen. Brown supporter missed my point: I chided the senator for challenging AG Coakley to refrain from accepting special interest donations when he has done the same, and accepted from some of the very same pots of money. If he wants to keep special interest money out of politics, Sen. Brown needs to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
Say, did you know there is a third-party candidate in this race? No? And you probably won’t hear much if anything about him, what with the Boston media’s penchant for ignoring anyone without a D or R following their name.
Well, I like to spread the love as best as I can, so here is the so-called fringe candidate who will occupy space on the January 19, 2010 special election ballot (and thanks to the folks at the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office, who always do bang-up work!).
The gent is Joseph L. “No Relation” Kennedy of Dedham, who last Monday turned in more than 13,000 signatures to the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office, making him (so he says) “officially the first candidate on the final ballot.”
According to the secretary’s office, Mr. Kennedy has chosen the designation “Liberty” in the space that normally lists a party affiliation. Um…okay.
Interestingly, Mr. Kennedy has already had an impact on the race as an unwitting catalyst. Let me ‘splain: there are seven scheduled debates between December 22 and January 14, 2010, and Sen. Brown has agreed to appear at all seven (that’s good), but AG Coakley has not (that’s bad).
But the reason why she’s refusing is because Mr. Kennedy has not been invited to any of them.
Now, that is both good and bad. It’s good because she’s right: Kennedy may not have had a primary race, but A) that’s hardly his fault and B) he collected enough signatures to earn a spot on the ballot, so he is a legitimate candidate and should be involved in the debates.
It’s bad because I personally do not expect many if any of the debate sponsors (which include the likes of WBZ-TV, the Boston Globe, New England Cable News, and WCVB-TV) to accede to this request (see above comment about how the Boston media treats third-party candidates).
At first glance their political tunnel vision seems understandable; third-parties do very poorly in major elections in Massachusetts, so why waste resources on ballot fodder? But, I would argue, maybe some of these folks would fare better in elections if they received the same level of media attention as those in the Big Two Parties.
If everyone involved sticks to their guns, we’ll see seven debates in which Sen. Brown gets free airtime to promote his platform. That won’t hurt him any, but it could hurt AG Coakley; voters may see her as taking an admirable stand on principle, but they might also see someone who took advantage of a convenient excuse to duck a head-to-head with Sen. Brown.
If push comes to shove, I’d rather see AG Coakley acquiesce and appear at the debates.
Final note of the week: We also have one write-in candidate (hahahahahahaha! Good luck with THAT!) in John Howard, whose campaign cornerstone is based on – and I swear this is for real – “the three laws of The Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise.” Those laws are, in a nutshell (with the emphasis on “nut”): stop human cloning, gene modification to create “designer babies,” and “same-sex conception.”
Wait, that’s only the first law in three-part harmony. The second and third laws are: recognize same-sex civil unions at the federal level, and “stop marriage from losing the right to conceive children together using the marriage’s own genes.” Yeah, I don’t quite understand that last one either.
If you want to waste a few minutes reading his manifesto (and check out the photo that makes him look like he should be organizing weekend “Dungeons & Dragons” games in his parents’ basement), go to www.voteforjohnhoward.com.
Political news and announcements may be sent to Michael Bailey, Region editor and senior political reporter, at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.