The Cape Cod Times has endorsed Scott Brown. I doubt that the paper’s endorsement is a particularly big deal in and of itself. But the reasoning behind the endorsement shows, I think, why Brown is running overwhelmingly ahead among independent voters and seems even to be making headway among Democrats. Here is what the endorsement says (the emphasis is mine in all cases):
Impressed with his energy and with hopes for his independence, we support Scott Brown in the special election for U.S. Senate. Although we do not agree with Brown’s position on health care reform, voters should consider the whole package when they go to the polls Tuesday. And when we took a closer look at Brown and his platform, we liked what we saw.
Brown is an independent Republican who supports President Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan. He supports women’s right to choose, though he opposes partial-birth abortion and believes in strong parental notification laws.
On issues important to Cape Cod, he opposes the wind factory on Nantucket Sound, unlike Martha Coakley. If elected, he said he would work hard to bolster the tourism-based economy on Cape Cod and the Islands. And unlike many conservative Republicans, he supports environmental protection and the permanent preservation of precious open spaces.
In order to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, Brown supports “reasonable and appropriate development of alternative energy,” such as wind, solar, nuclear, geothermal and improved hydroelectric facilities.
Brown also brings to the race a perspective that no other candidate can claim: As a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard, he is uniquely aware of the importance and sacrifice of our men and women serving in the armed forces. His military experience has informed his stance on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said he appreciates President Obama’s thoughtfulness about American involvement in both countries.
We don’t agree with Brown on everything. For example, he opposes the national cap-and-trade program because he thinks it would impose higher costs on families and businesses. We believe a national program to reduce carbon emissions will not only reduce global warming but spur green energy technologies and create millions of high-tech jobs.
Although Brown opposes the current health care reform bill in Washington, he believes that all Americans deserve health care coverage. He supported the Massachusetts health care law that expanded coverage in 2006, and he believes individual states should follow suit.
There are many people who would like to make this race a referendum on the current health care debate, but the election is more than one issue, no matter how important that issue might be. This election is about representing the people of Massachusetts on all issues.
While we have common ground with Coakley on some points, we have our concerns about her ability to be effective in Washington based on her underwhelming campaign. With the luxury of being the front-runner since the first day of this race, Coakley has done little to demonstrate her passion for the office and commitment to the people. She squandered an opportunity to show vision but instead has run a campaign that seemed intended to run out the clock.
It is no surprise that Brown has been gaining momentum in a state, even though Democrats outnumber Republicans three to one. He has run an energetic campaign and has been outspoken on the issues. More importantly, however, we believe he is less likely of the two candidates to toe the party line. For example, in an editorial board meeting with the Cape Cod Times earlier this week, Brown was critical of President Bush and defended President Obama regarding the current financial crisis.
In his last re-election to the state Senate in 2008, Brown won by a 59-41 percent margin. Part of his success comes from his willingness to work with Democrats on important issues. “I would not have been overwhelmingly re-elected if I didn’t know how to work across party lines,” Brown said in the primary. “If the Democrats have a good idea, I’d be happy to vote with them.”
Brown is exactly what Washington needs — someone who will vote his conscience rather than spew party rhetoric.
The notion of change as an important ingredient here cannot be underestimated, not because the Democrats are necessarily on the wrong path, but because good government is enhanced by two viable parties.
In the special Senate election on Tuesday, we recommend Scott Brown.