AMHERST – They filed in and out of coffeehouses, all but crying in their cappuccinos, barely touching their carrot cake muffins, still in shock that Scott Brown – a Republican! – had been elected to the US Senate in the state that pioneered universal health care, legalized same-sex marriage, and normally sends 12 Democrats to Congress.It's Brown, Scott Brown.
In the days since the unthinkable happened, diehard Democrats have been forced to confront results that suggest Massachusetts votes much the way rest of the country does – blue on the edges with a big red swath in the middle. They have grappled with the possibility that the Commonwealth, until this week viewed by the much of the country as an outpost of extreme liberalism, may not be all that. And that has left them blue – in the other meaning of the word – over Martha Coakley’s defeat.
There is no better place to sense that mood than Amherst and Cambridge, two outposts of extreme liberalism in Massachusetts. They share a self-effacing nickname – “The People’s Republic.’’ They share (along with Provincetown) the distinction of being the most pro-Coakley communities, having handed her 84 percent of the vote. And they share the shock.
“I’m upset. I’m heartbroken. I just hate the idea that the Republicans have just won,’’ said Nick Seamon, owner of The Black Sheep, a bakery/bastion of liberalism on Main Street in Amherst. Yesterday, Seamon served up one of his best-selling Republican Party cookies (“because they are full of fruits and nuts’’), and summed up the jolt delivered by the vote.
“We tend to be a little insulated here. We don’t spend a lot of time in Central Massachusetts, or wherever they voted for whatever his name was,’’ Seamon said.
It reminds me of the day after the 1994 elections when I attended a workshop of teachers and they all assumed that every teacher in the room felt as depressed and demoralized as they did. They couldn't believe they lived in a country where the majority of people would vote for Republicans to control the House of Representatives. In their eyes, the Apocalypse had arrived. And now it's come to Amherst and Cambridge.
Then Crittenden leads to this even funnier article about poor, poor John Kerry. He's finally out from the shadow of Ted Kennedy. He's finally become the state's senior senator. He thinks that, in Massachusetts at least, he can grab the spotlight. And now here comes a photogenic senator that the whole country is talking about. And no one really cares that Kerry is now the senior senator from Massachusetts. As Crittenden concludes,
It’s like a weird and terrible destiny. Not quite a Kennedy, not much as a senator, not quite president, and now, when his party holds White House, House and Senate, and he’s racked up all the seniority, not quite relevant.Hee, hee. And Iran wouldn't even let him in the country to chide them on their nuclear ambitions. His eclipse in relevance couldn't happen to a nicer blowhard.