A lot of people haven’t made up their minds even today, and one reason is that the candidates seem to be so similar on the issues. Well, if you’re looking for an actual substantive difference on the issues between Mike Capuano and Martha Coakley, here it is:
Coakley: More war on drugs.
Capuano: Less war on drugs.
Coakley: Defended the PATRIOT Act.
Capuano: Opposed the PATRIOT Act.
Martha Coakley, as Attorney General, has presided over a criminal justice system that does a tremendous amount of collateral damage, and could use a lot of improvement. She’s been in a position to do that, and at best, she’s been a weak reformer. What she’s been strong on, throughout her career, is advocating for harsher punishment – whether it be for a mentally disabled convict in Alabama, or an obviously innocent Massachusetts man who was railroaded into jail through egregious prosecutorial misconduct (something Coakley doesn’t seem to care much about), or those two guys who put up Mooninites around Boston.
Which brings me to another big contrast: While they seem to agree on almost every issue except for freedom & the criminal justice system, on many of those issues,
– We know Coakley’s position because she said so
– We know Capuano’s position because he’s voted on it and worked for it in his decade in Congress.
So isn’t it interesting that Coakley has positioned herself as a progressive identical to Capuano on every single issue except for the ones she’s actually been responsible for in her career in public office?