This morning I picked up a copy of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, a respectable local newspaper of a centrist orientation. The above-the-fold article reports that Martha Coakley, the front runner for the Democratic primary ahead of the election to replace Senator Kennedy, would vote against the health care reform bill because the anti-abortion Stupak amendment passed. My my, Democrats are always trying to outdo themselves in devilishness, but this is ridiculous. Even the far-left Boston Globe thinks she's gone too far (naturally, the Globe treats abortion as an obligation recipients of government subsidized health care would be "forced" to pay for). The other three contenders for the nomination, despite their pro-choice position, would still have voted for the bill, so perhaps it would be worth the time of registered Democrats to vote for one of the either Capuano, Khazei, or Pagliuca as they see fit (I recommend Capuano- if he won there'd be an opening for a Republican challenger in his district). Neither of the Republican candidates- moderate Scott Brown and liberal Jack E. Robinson III- for the seat are stellar, but I suppose expecting there to be one pro-life candidate among the six is rather too much in the Bay State.
[UPDATE: Rep. Capuano performed a singularly royal flip-flop on the issue in just one day, so that leaves just two somewhat more pragmatic pro-choicers to choose from.]
However, my own representative, Richard Neal, deserves a shout out- he voted for the Stupak amendment (he even gets flowers in his picture). He deserves our thanks for that- Northampton's congressional district does not deserve a Democrat of his decency. Still, he's far from ideal, so imagine my pleasure when I learned that, after twelve years of running unopposed, he has not one, but two Republican challengers lined up for November 2010! Tom Wesley (right) is a Navy veteran, while Dr. Jay Fleitman (left) has a special place in my heart- like Our Pundit, he's a Republican from Northampton! His campaign has apparently been active since April, so he apparently missed me during the summer. But he has- brave, brave soul!- been campaigning in the streets of
The first foray into a public venue that is not already political, and the sidewalk sale in Northampton does just fine. A warm, sunny day, the sidewalks are full. It seemed like it would be a good idea to find out who is from my district, so I approached folks by asking if they were from Northampton or Hadley. It shouldn't have surprised my that 9 in 10 were not. There were a large percentage from Connecticut, and NY, with a smattering from Florida as well as a Hawaiian.
I expected to get assaulted by the locals, as Northampton is a very Democratic town, but only one of the natives absolutely refused to even look at a Republican. He needs a sense of humor...
Having one of their local physicians running for congress is clearly a curiosity.
He may not be Dr. Paul, but he may yet prove to be just the prescription for the Springfield district's woes. Their issues pages aren't much different, but Mr. Wesley is reputed to be more conservative by the bloggers I've surveyed, while Fleitman is more a one issue (health care) man. Naturally, neither of them is bragging about their pro-life or pro-family credentials, if they have any. Otherwise, Dr. Fleitman seems to be Jewish, whilst Wesley makes note of his involvement in the West Avon Congregational Church. It's nice that he's a Christian (Rep. Neal is Catholic), but in Northampton the Congregational Church is best known for abetting the heathens, colluding with the atheist Left, and making obnoxiously un-patriotic displays around Independence Day. But he doesn't seem to be of that mold (maybe in West Avon Congregationalists are still Christians)- might he be, rather, the next Calvin Coolidge? That exemplar of all that was best in the New England Protestant spirit would be ashamed of the UCC today. May Wesley impress the schismatics of the commonwealth with his fine example.