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JFK or Ted K? The choice is clearly there on the ballot
The Lowell Sun
by PETER LUCAS (formerly of Boston Herald, Boston Globe)
If President Jack Kennedy’s name were John Fitzgerald, rather than John Fitzgerald Kennedy, he probably could not get elected to the U.S. Senate in modern-day Massachusetts. Actually, he probably could not even have won the Democratic nomination for the job in last month’s primary election.
The reason? Well, not only would he have run as an unknown, he would also have been labeled a right-wing conservative, a man way too far to the right to be acceptable to the whacked-out liberals in Massachusetts who control the Democratic Party — and the democratic process — in this one-party state.
Jack Kennedy, you see, believed in a strong national defense, in stockpiling missiles, in an expanded military budget, in standing up to the Soviet Union and its dictator, Nikita Khrushchev, in overthrowing Fidel Castro in Cuba and deposing the Diem brothers in South Vietnam. He was a Cold War warrior who surrounded himself with some pretty tough advisers. He believed that it was the job of the United States to defend and promote freedom and liberty around the globe. He did not bow to anyone. He thought tax cuts stimulated the economy and created jobs. He believed that a rising tide lifted all boats, and he was right.
Now, Republican state Sen. Scott Brown, who is running for the U.S. Senate in next Tuesday’s special election, is no Jack Kennedy. Truth be told, neither was the late Sen. Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy, whose seat Brown is seeking to win in an uphill contest against
Attorney General Martha Coakley, the much-favored Democratic nominee. Unlike Jack, Ted Kennedy never met a tax hike he did not love, and the last war he supported was the War on Poverty, which we lost.
While the four Democrats running for the office fought each other in the primary over who would be the next Ted Kennedy (Coakley was the shrill soprano Ice Queen running against the Three Tenors), Scott Brown did them all one better by becoming the next Jack Kennedy. They could have Ted Kennedy and all the big-spending liberal baggage associated with the lion of the Senate. Brown would morph into Jack Kennedy, the Cold War warrior, the tax cutter, the World War II hero. It was a bold and brilliant maneuver.
You’ve seen the television ad. There is the black-and-white picture of Jack Kennedy talking about tax cuts and the economy. Suddenly, Kennedy morphs into Scott Brown, in color no less, and Brown ends up completing Kennedy’s remarks.
And like Jack Kennedy, Scott Brown has a military record he can rightly brag about. He is a lieutenant colonel in the National Guard and has participated in assignments in such countries as Kazakhstan and Paraguay. As a military man, he has taken courses in Islam, al-Qaida, the Geneva Conventions and protocols dealing with the treatment of prisoners of war. So when Scott Brown talks about things military, you tend to listen.
Which is why his strong stand on defense of the United States in the War on Terror has resonated with the public and has put Coakley, a candidate with no military or foreign experience, on the defensive. It is also why Brown has been able to gain on Coakley in the polls.
The issues have broken Brown’s way, not only from the lagging economy and unemployment but to national security and the War on Terror. Brown supports President Obama’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan; Coakley does not. Brown wants to bring the Nigerian terrorist who tried to blow up a jet over Detroit on Christmas Day before a military tribunal because he is a war criminal, like 9-11 terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the rest of his killer crew; Coakley would read them their Miranda rights before granting them a taxpayer-financed soapbox of a civilian trial. Coakley would empty out Guantanamo and shut it down; Brown would keep the prison open and well-stocked with war criminals. Brown would use “enhanced interrogation” techniques to obtain information from these terrorist killers; Coakley would get them civilian lawyers.
Unlike the Democratic primary, when all four candidates sang from the same songbook, this final election to complete Ted Kennedy’s term has given the voters a clear choice between two very different politicians. The bottom-line question is this: Who do you trust more to protect you, your family and your country from terrorists, him or her? Voting for Martha is voting for Ted; voting for Scott is voting for Jack. Take your pick.
Peter Lucas’ political column appears Tuesday and Friday. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.