In a call-in blogger round table this evening, three of us got in a few questions for U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano. In the contest for the U.S. Senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy, he appears to be the one plain talker.
We're in the process of getting him on Left Ahead! for a full podcast. In preparation, tonight's quick session was a good introduction. I didn't feel I was had, lied to or worked. That's refreshing from a politician.
For this blog, there's a mixed message on the Defense of Marriage Act. Capuano has long been an advocate for gay rights, including same-sex marriage. He is one of a group in the House who re-introduces bills to overturn DOMA regularly.
This fits in the three things he says he will never compromise on — civil liberties, human rights, and war and peace.
Unfortunately, he wasn't hopeful short term on DOMA. "We just don't have the votes on the floor of the House...and maybe even in the Senate." He says he will keep trying.
He agreed with me that President Obama should follow through on his promise to use his bully pulpit for LGBT issues. "That may not change many minds, but more important, it's the right thing to do," he added, saying it would be a powerful message from the leader of the free world.
I look forward to a longer chat with him. He's very candid. While he's been a lawyer since 1977 and a politician (five-term Somerville mayor from 1990 and U.S. Rep. since 1998), he doesn't seem too slick to believe.
I believe him when he says everyone in the Senate race will have enough money to compete, but that he won't have the most. He seems positive that this special election with a Dec. 8th primary and Jan. 19th final will be decided on issues. He has a fully articulated set of those.
Our AG Martha Coakley jumped in weeks ahead of everyone else, and several rich guys have followed with Capuano. He figures he still has them all beat on issues and for the voters who would want to continue in Kennedy's progressive tradition.
As a teaser for a future podcast, I'll pass along what he sees as his strong points:
- He sees the move from House to Senate as lateral, with none of the other candidates with any related experience at all.
- From the beginning, he's been against the death penalty, the Iraq War and the PATRIOT Act, with votes and speeches.
- He has a long history of a progressive political philosophy in the mold of Kennedy.
- He has a track record in the House of the other, the parochial side of politics. "Bringing home the bacon, that is my forte," he said.
Tags: massmarrier, Massachusetts, Capuano, Senate, Kennedy