Next week there’s a big special election in Massachusetts to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the passing of Sen. Edward Kennedy last August. Actually, the seat’s not vacant. The Democratic machine in the Bay State put party retread Paul Kirk in there to keep it warm, presumably for the state’s Democratic attorney general, Martha Coakley, who faces Republican Scott Brown and Independent Joseph Kennedy (not that Joe Kennedy!) on Jan. 19 . The three debated Monday night, and judging by the account in the Boston Globe, it was pretty lively.
Easily the best comeback of the night came from Brown, who’s running in a state where Republicans are outnumbered by Democrats 3-1 and who’s trying to dispel any entitlement Democrats feel because of such a registration edge. Asked by moderator David Gergen whether he felt comfortable taking Kennedy’s seat and becoming the vote that would stop health care, Kennedy’s signature issue, Brown pounced. “With all due respect, it’s not the Kennedys’ seat, it’s not the Democrats’ seat,” Brown said. “It’s the people’s seat.” That, as they say, is bearding the lion in his own den.