…is that an elephant is an otter because they both have four legs. Those mammals have about as much in common as Coakley’s and Capuano’s postures on the health care bill.
Thus far, I’ve been more neutral on Coakley v Capuano than any past Democratic primary (see my last post: “Capuano or Coakley for Senate“). This latest bull has pushed me off that neutrality. And what Coakley’s supporters, people who know better, are pushing is bull — trying to equivocate two very different things. And hoping nobody notices.
On health care, Capuano is willing to play out the game to the bitter end then use the coup de grace of a no vote when and only when necessary. Coakley would refuse to retake the field if losing at halftime of a football game — better to lose in a forfeit. She’d vote no right quick.
Capuano has said that if the final bill, after the Senate and conference, includes the odious Stupak anti-choice provision (which it won’t), he’d vote no. This isn’t flip-flopping, it’s the legislative process. Granted, it’s the part of the process that desperate opponents exploit in an effort to scare impressionable voters, but it’s still part of the process. Generally, you want to give fundamental reform for the better every chance before you give up.
Coakley said that if a bill at any time included the provision she’d vote no, regardless of consequences. She’s ready to give up at the first sign of difficulty. Coakley would choose to preserve wider access to abortion over any public health care system if forced. In her world, a real chance at health care reform is as frequent and likely as a chance to preserve access to abortion.
Note that Capuano is willing to let the process play out, to let the Senate or conference shear off Stupak (which, again, it will). When Capuano advocates a smart approach that requires reading the final bill, he’s razzed for it. They are both pro-choice and are both against restricting access to abortion in the final regime.
BUT….but….Coakley is far more willing to jeopardize health care reform in order to preserve that access. Flexing her itchy trigger finger, Coakley struggles to advocate for two good ideas at once, and would instead torpedo the whole effort at the outset. That kind of impulsivity has no place in a deliberative body dedicated to good policy.
PS: Forgive me, but when it comes to defending choice, I’ll look to battle-hardened Democratic warriors such as Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi (two yes votes) before Martha Coakley.