Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Genuine indecision

Si, it'll be Coakley vs. Capuano for the Senate (plus some millionaire and an aspiring Axelrod clone).

On the Axelrod metrics -- "leadership", "optimism", "judgment" and all those other feel-good subjective impressions that don't tell you a damn about how a candidate will actually govern -- I prefer Coakley. She has a better way of talking to people and listening. In rare and brief personal encounters, she always struck me as a thinker with an ability to look beyond the next re-election campaign. I imagine that she'd be effective in the insular Senate world. However, the only issue on her website is health care, so I have no idea how she'd act on education or foreign policy, my top two issues. I can't commit to anyone who keeps those kind of secrets.

On the other hand is Capuano, who does mention non-health care issues, but also ignores education. Capuano has been in Congress for ten years, and I can't think of anything he's done. Sure he gives good speeches on all the good things and often joins with other groups of people, but I haven't seen much from him in the way of leadership. Plus, his very first press conference as a candidate included a needless attack on Coakley. I realize he'll have to throw some slime to bring down her astronomical favorables, but being unable to wait a single day shows a lack of class.

I think Coakley would be a slightly more effective Senator, but I don't know what issues and positions she'd be effective moving. I want to support her, but have no reason to -- and reason to wonder if Capuano might be a better pick. So as of now I'm genuinely undecided. Anyone else in the same boat?


Ryan said...

Capuano was integral to getting Nancy Pelosi the gavel. If anything's a mark of "leadership," it's that. I'm very, very open in terms of who I'll vote for this election, but Capauno has been a decent member of the House and is certainly capable of filling a leadership vacuum. It's really going to come down to who I think can be more effective and who will be the most liberal -- for my vote.

James Patrick Conway said...

Capuano took bold progressive stances against the conduct of the war in Afghanistan and against farm subsidies, leadership that demonstrates he doesn't always follow the party line. He was also one of the few anti-war Congressmen to actually propose defunding the war as a method to ending the conflict. I would agree that the candidate's stances (or lack thereof) on education is a bit disconcerting. I think Capuano has more legislative experience and accomplishments to his name. Coakley has never served in a legislative capacity before and might be daunted by the task of getting Committees and moving up in seniority to best help MA. I think with his connections in both houses it would be easier for Capuano to do more good for MA. I like Coakley, I think she would make a better Governor than a Senator and hope if she loses this race that she turn her sights either on primarying Deval or beating Baker in 2014. I would also gladly support her for the nomination.

James Patrick Conway said...

Lastly I agree that Khazei hasn't brought much to the table, though I am not surprised the drones over at BMG are flocking to the newest, freshest, most inexperienced face they can find. His signature issue, public service, is a narrow one and one that has already been advanced with sweeping legislation bearing our late Senators name, and on the issues I am sure he mirrors Coakley and Capuano but prefer them since they have more experience. Don't see the point of his candidacy to be honest.