I’m proud to say I’ll be voting for Mike Capuano on Tuesday.
I’ve frequently pointed out that Mike has over a decade of experience in Congress. He has a first-hand understanding of the legislative process and knows how to get results. His record of service is impressive, and certainly gives him a leg-up on the other candidates.
But I’m not supporting Mike because of his experience alone. To me, Mike is extraordinary not because of his six terms in Congress, but because of what he’s done with them.
Yes, he’s the only candidate with any real legislative experience. Yes, he understands the dynamics of Congress better than any of his opponents. He has an in-depth knowledge of today’s issues and the challenges we face internationally and at home–and that’s all essential for a good Senator.
But we have big shoes to fill. We have an impressive array of candidates to choose from, and we can do better than good. Mike will make a great Senator. He has experience, but just as importantly, he has foresight, wisdom, and an unwavering commitment to progressive values. And he’s proven time and time again that he has the courage to stand up and fight for them.
Liveandletlive recently pointed out that we tend to elect lifers here in Massachusetts. Healthcare is the most important issue today, but we can’t expect to predict what decisions the Senate will be asked to make in 5, 10, 15 years. Back in 1998, when Capuano was first elected to the House, I doubt anyone expected that he would be asked to vote on the invasion of Iraq, the PATRIOT Act, FISA, or No Child Left Behind. We hadn’t yet realized the implications of our environmental policy or the importance of energy security. No one knew that hundreds of thousands of people would be slaughtered in Darfur while the world turned a blind eye.
I don’t know what we’ll face in the future, and I can’t claim to know how Capuano will vote. But so far, he has been courageous and right on the most important votes of his tenure in Congress. He’s proven that he has the right priorities, and the conviction to fight for them even when it’s unpopular.
The best indication of future action is past action. Mike Capuano is the only person in this race who has already been a legislator, who has shown us how he’ll operate in the Senate. It’s a testament to Mike’s judgement that he stood his ground on so many controversial votes. How many congressmen voted against the PATRIOT Act, No Child Left Behind, and the Iraq War? When Mike spoke out against them, he was in the extreme minority. It’s clear now that he was right, and their former proponents have come around to join him. But Mike stood up when it was the most difficult–which is, consequently, almost always when it matters most.
Mike has never been one to stay on political safe-ground because it’s the easy thing to do. This has been a short campaign, and it’s easy to hide from the issues. But Mike’s consistently engaged the voters, encouraged open discussion, and embraced debate. We need a strong voice in the senate, and Mike has it. Some have called it irritability, I call it passion. Mike knows the importance of compromise, but he also knows what he’s not willing to compromise on–civil liberties, human rights, and war and peace.
One of my favorite quotes (a cookie for anyone who can place it): “If we’re gonna walk into walls, I want us running into them full-speed.” I know I’ll never have to worry about Mike slowing down.
So guys…what did it boil down to for everyone else? What clinched your vote? I can’t wait to cast my ballot for Mike on Tuesday. It’s going to be a tight race–game on!