FYI: There’s a big election on Tuesday

Voters next Tuesday will choose candidates to complete the term of Senator Ted Kennedy. While there are primaries in both political parties, most attention is on the four-person contest – three men and one woman – to be the Democrat nominee.

Published polls suggest that incumbent Attorney General Martha Coakley is best known, although stories this week indicate that the campaign by Congressman Michael Capuano is gaining some momentum. Neither non-profit organizer Alan Khazei nor Bain and Company investor Stephen Pagliuca is likely to be successful, but they can be considered spoilers.

The Tuesday contest is really between Coakley and Capuano, and both have Dorchester connections. Coakley made her first foray into elective politics in 1997 when she owned a home and lived on Pope’s Hill. She ran in the special election to complete the term of former state Rep. Jim Brett when he left to become president of the New England Council. Coakley lost that campaign to Rep. Martin Walsh, finishing a distant fourth in a six-person race. Soon afterwards, she left Dorchester to live in Medford.

Capuano is well known in Dorchester and Mattapan, parts of the district he has represented in Congress since taking the seat once held by Joe Kennedy. The congressman is known for his characteristic straightforward (some would say “blunt”) style. In Washington, he has championed many federal programs to benefit constituents across our neighborhoods.

Experts acknowledge that the science of political polling is an imperfect one, especially in a special election such as next week’s vote. There is no track record for a statewide election held in December, and unfortunately the turnout is expected to be low. In an election as important as this one, the contest is likely to be decided by the campaign that succeeds in bringing out its own vote.
– Ed Forry

There are so many important issues facing Americans this year –high unemployment, people struggling to pay their bills, families dealing with risking their loved ones in the expanding wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – it is with dismay that we note the many inconsequential matters that concern far too many people. Things like:

• What really happened that early morning last week outside Tigers Woods’s home?
• Who the heck is this Lady GaGa,, and why was she here in Boston? Or what’s with this D.C. couple who felt the need to crash a White House state dinner?
The New York Times estimable columnist, Maureen Dowd ,helped to put things in perspective. In Tuesday’s paper, she wrote:
“We live in an age obsessed with ‘reality’ and overrun by fakers. The mock has run amok. This decade will be remembered for the collapse of the Twin Towers, the economy, and any standard of accomplishment for societal prestige. TV and the Internet wallow in the lowest common denominator. Warhol looks like Whistler.

“But if Congress investigates social climbing and party crashing in Washington, it won’t have time for anything else. Because even the outrage over the fakers is fake. The capital has turned up its nose at the tacky trompe l’oeil Virginia horse-country socialites: a faux Redskins cheerleader, and a faux successful businessman auditioning for a ‘reality’ show by feigning a White House invitation. Yet Washington has always been a town full of poseurs, arrivistes, fame-seekers, cheaters, and camera hogs. Lots of people here are trying to crash the party, wangle an invite to the right thing, work the angles and milk their connections to better insinuate their way into the inner circle.”
– E.F.