February 1, 2010
Most Brookline residents assumed Democratic candidate Martha Coakley would win the Massachusetts special Senate election because Massachusetts is usually a blue state. The Senate seat, tragically devoid due to Ted Kennedy’s death last August, has become crucial in the potential legislation regarding national healthcare. But come January 19, 2010 Republican candidate Scott Brown was victorious. The election results came as a major shock to Brookline voters.
On January 14th, an editorial ran in The Brookline TAB calling for Brookline voters to ensure former Massachusetts Senator, Edward “Ted” Kennedy’s “greatest public policy desire: to see national healthcare become a reality” be fulfilled by Coakley. The article supports the assertion by stating Coakley’s ample experience as state Attorney General and as Middlesex County District Attorney. Whereas Republican candidate Scott Brown is glib and charismatic, yet “his comments show either a lack of understanding or a lack of seriousness about the choices the nation faces. He has said he doesn’t know if climate change is a problem. He has said he doesn’t consider waterboarding to be torture…as an attorney who serves in the Mass. National Guard’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps, he should know better.” The editorial ran alongside photos of Coakley speaking to an 8th grade social studies class December 21st at Brookline’s Baker School.
“I voted for Coakley and it was the first time I ever had to hold my nose while voting for someone. It was an election where no candidates were good,” said 32-year-old artist Paul Theriault who has lived in Coolidge Corner for the past 11 years. Brookline residents agree that the choice of solid candidates was virtually zero in the special election. Jennifer Miller of Pill Hill said: “I thought it was a choice-less race. Scott Brown won because of his charisma; he also won because he ran a better campaign. It’s just blasphemous that a Republican is taking Kennedy’s seat.”
“If no one knew how to run a campaign, then they don’t deserve to win an election,” Theriault said, “democrats need to really get aggressive with their policy-making; they should actually try to write laws and enact bills rather than relying on their status as ‘the democratic candidate’ in Massachusetts.”
Obama campaigning on behalf of Coakley at Northeastern University in order to boost support for the democratic candidate was widely seen as a poor, last-minute effort. “Scott Brown didn’t have to depend on the President. It just looks like Coakley wasn’t capable enough or strong enough without Obama by her side,” said 18-year-old Emanuelle Cardoso, originally from Somerville and now lives in Brookline Village. Parissa Salimian, a sophomore at Boston University, also thought Obama did not have enough of an impact: “It was honestly just too late, they scrambled at the end and the democrats just blew it.”
24-year-old Justin Marchetti who has lived in Brookline for the past two years stated: “I know he inherited a whole heap of problems: two wars a terrible economy and he came out being extremely ambitious, but now I think he’s learning a little bit more about the presidency and how he has to deal with things. That’s why Scott Brown won because the people are dissatisfied with Obama’s lack of progress.” Marchetti concluded that democratic failure should serve as a warning sign for the Obama administration to “appeal to his constituency better and make good on his campaign promises, or else the democrats will get nothing done.”
But 20-year old Kaitlena Cash has a more optimistic outlook: “I was born and raised in Massachusetts so it’s a very big change, but I actually think it might be okay in the long-run.” Most of the Brookline voters seem to share this view; they are not overjoyed with Scott Brown being in the Senate, but they haven’t lost hope in President Obama.