Elizabeth Warren turned in her best performance yet in last night’s debate against Senator Scott Brown, and he, in turn, also largely focused on the issues, with just half the snarky “professor” labels as in the last debate and, thankfully, no return to the tired Cherokee attacks of past encounters. The result was a distillation of their core differences, and, if you have just landed from Mars having heard nothing about the race to date, you’d be able to see what’s at stake and make an informed choice.
Brown stood fast by his absolute no new taxes pledge and asserted his claim to be an independent. Warren faulted his votes against having those earning $1 million a year and up pay more in order to invest in education and jobs. They echoed the Romney/Obama dispute about whether efficiencies in Obamacare would underwrite other health services or cut services to the elderly.
His biggest point was scored when seeming to attribute the high cost of education to administration, especially her salary of $350,000 for teaching a single course. Her best points were in pointing out that, while Brown had cast some votes helpful to women, his lack of consistent support meant that the one chance he had to vote for equal pay for equal work, the one chance he had to vote for birth control and preventive services, the one chance he had to vote for a pro-choice justice for the Supreme Court, he had voted no.
They were both strong on defense and showed that whoever is elected can be expected to support the local defense installations, like Westover, Barnes and Hanscom. Brown was fortified by his military career and his role on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Warren’s performance demonstrated a woman candidate can be assertive but not strident, charming while still informed. Brown sustained his every guy image by talking about time spent in the local restaurant.
This is turning out to be something of a guys versus gals race, and, if neither has breakthrough between now and November 6, election night is going to be a very late night indeed.
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