In Rebellious Air Sweeps Even Kennedy Turf, the Boston Globe reports today on how the election played out on the home turf of the Kennedys, Hyannis Port. It is quite a read, representing local reporting at its best. (If there were more of this sort of reporting, and local newspapers would not be in quite the same trouble as they are.) Here are some excerpts:
In this quiet seaside village where his family was rooted, Senator Edward M. Kennedy was a familiar figure, known by many residents as a friend and neighbor. But yesterday, Ted Kennedy’s hometown did not look or sound like a place deeply attached to the senator’s liberal legacy, with blue-and-red Scott Brown signs propped in shop windows and driveways, and many voters voicing an appetite for change. . .
Five months after the summer day when hundreds lined the streets to pay tribute to Kennedy, and a bagpiper played at foot of the Sagamore Bridge to mark his final journey off the Cape, the election day mood in Hyannis was anything but sentimental. Main Street business owners plastered Brown signs in their windows, passing pickup trucks boasting oversize Brown stickers, and many voters cited opposition to the federal health care plan - which Kennedy spent decades helping to build - as the key to their support for Brown. . .
In downtown Hyannis, where he had managed to find room for two Brown signs on his compact storefront, La Petite France Cafe owner Ian Parent railed against the notion that the Kennedy legacy should have any hold on the Senate seat.
“It’s the people’s seat, it’s not Ted Kennedy’s seat, and people have lost sight of that,’’ he said, standing by a rack stacked with loaves of fresh-baked bread. “Ted Kennedy never voted to help small business.’’
Most of the response to his signs had been positive, he said, but yesterday morning a customer called and told him she would never come into the cafe again. She hung up on him before he could respond, said Parent.
Two doors down from the cafe, another Brown sign hung in the window of Jack’s Drum Shop. Manager Stewart Johnston said Brown’s pledge to block the federal health care plan was most important to him.
Sandwiched between the two Brown supporters, scrimshaw artist and Black Whale Gallery owner Nancy Lyon said she was laying low, while quietly hoping for a Coakley win.
Just imagine. In the home turf of the Kennedys, a loyal Democratic voter "was laying low".
After too much power for too long and too many problems in Iraq, the Democratic tide in the 2006 elections was no surprise. After the financial meltdown in summer/fall 2008, the additional Democratic tide was also no surprise. But America can surprise. The foundering, floundering healthcare effort, which the president promised would be done by August, energized a state that had already provided for its uninsured. As the Boston Globe reports in another article today, Voter anger caught fire in final days, the Brown campaign benefitted from $12 M raised over the Internet and a growing amount of out-of-staters coming to Massachusetts to assist the effort.
Scott Brown appears to be no radical right member, but he did support waterboarding. As the title of this post suggests, his victory is a sign that one bulwark of our society, small business, feels that it has largely been left out of the Democratic agenda and wants in. That inclusiveness will likely be good for the economy and good for the country.
The technical breakout of the stock market that was commented on here around yearend from the giant dome that was being traced from the March rally now has another psychological support. Investors should not get carried away, however. The balance of Federal power has not changed much, but for now, the sense is that even in Hyannis Port, many people want balanced change.
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