From: gas7474 [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sun 12/6/2009 2:39 PM
Subject: Will the Real Mike Capuano Please Stand Up
Dear Dukakis “Family”,
Like all of you, I have always been among Michael Dukakis’ biggest
supporters. Accordingly, I was also among the recipients of his
recent e-mail message in which he endorsed Michael Capuano’s candidacy
for United States Senator. I can’t tell you how surprised and
disappointed I am by Michael’s decision to do this.
I realize this race has unavoidably divided liberal Democrats. On the
face of it, the differences between the four candidates appear to be
few. As you may have read in the Boston Globe, I am supporting Martha
Coakley. Undoubtedly many of you are supporting her as well. It
wouldn’t surprise me if others are supporting Alan Khazei, who, though
few give him any chance of winning, seems to have solid progressive
values. But Mike Capuano?
I cannot fathom how any loyal Dukakis supporter (let alone, the former
governor himself) who remembers who Michael Capuano really is could
possibly mistake him for a liberal democrat.
I’ll admit that more recently, as a Congressman, he appears to be
liberal and has the voting record to prove it. But, as someone who
served on the Somerville Board of Alderman with Mike, was State
Senator during his tenure as Mayor of Somerville, with all due respect
to our former Governor, I have to disagree with his characterization
of Michael Capuano’s political career BEFORE he became Congressman
Capuano. The fact is, despite his more recent transformation,
Somerville Alderman or Mayor Mike Capuano wouldn’t have been caught
dead in a room full of Dukakis supporters.
Like all of you, when it came to Michael Dukakis, I was a true
believer, from the beginning — a key Somerville Dukakis organizer and
loyal supporter. I know who the Somerville people are who worked on
every Dukakis campaign. I assure you, Michael Capuano was not one of
them. Michael Capuano never supported Michael Dukakis.
On the contrary, not only did he often rail against Dukakis and
liberals, he used my well known association with Michael Dukakis to
attack me in a Democratic State Committee race saying, “Albano is too
liberal to represent this district. He’s a Dukakis liberal”. It’s
worth mentioning that in that same race he also circulated an
endorsement letter from “Mass Citizens for Life”, though he now claims
to be pro-choice.
Dukakis characterized Capuano as having been “one of the best Mayor’s
in the Commonwealth”. Again, Governor, with all due respect, there
are legions of progressive Somervillians (who were in the minority at
that time) who worked tirelessly to defeat him each time he ran, who
would strongly disagree with that assessment.
Dukakis said he first met Mike Capuano, when Capuano was a young
staffer at the State House. What he failed to mention was Capuano
worked in the office of the corrupt, though powerful House Majority
Whip, Vincent Piro, who was caught on tape taking a bribe from an FBI
agent and later indicted.
Many of you courageously supported me in successful campaigns for
State Senator against Mr. Piro in 1984 and 1986, and again, when I
faced a stiff republican challenger in 1990. Michael Capuano was not
so courageous. He did not support me in either of my campaigns against
Piro, and in 1990, as Mayor of Somerville, he put the muscle of his
entire organization behind my republican opponent. Michael’s blatant
support of a Republican nominee in a state senate race is all the more
egregious a betrayal of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, since as
you may recall, the 1990 campaign season ended up being a watershed
election in which many Democrats were defeated and the Republican
Party captured many legislative seats and the Governor’s office.
The first time Michael Capuano ran for Congress he was not the
progressive candidate of choice in the race. In fact, he benefitted
from the fact that two of his opponents had to share that honor and
divided the liberal vote. That, and a crowded field enabled Capuano
to win a congressional seat in a predominantly liberal district
without getting many liberal votes, and by consolidating the moderate
and conservative votes.
Since that time he has behaved as required given the district he
represents, effectively broadening his base by moving to the left.
His votes against the Patriot Act and against the Iraq War, for
example, were not so much courageous as expedient for anyone
representing the 8th District. It’s just smart politics. But is it
While I applaud and agree with those votes, given everything I know
about the man’s entire political career, I can’t help but doubt
Michael Capuano’s new found liberalism. I’m concerned that as US
Senator he will no longer be accountable only to the liberal voters of
the 8th district, but instead to a much broader, more moderate
constituency. Can he be counted upon to vote the way he has as US
Representative if he becomes a United States Senator? What if he’s not
really a liberal, but just plays one in the Eighth District? Can we
afford to take that chance in a race for a seat this important and
this potentially permanent? Can someone who quite possibly
transformed himself into a liberal for the sake of political
expediency really be, as he so emphatically claims, the rightful heir
to Senator Kennedy’s legacy of unshakable liberalism. I don’t think