Coakley: May fail to hold (Ted Kennedy)The Peoples Senate seat for Democrats.
BOSTON It's all about health care. The race to replace Ted Kennedy in the US Senate has come down to one issue, and it's not Sen. Kennedy's "legacy." It's the misshapen health-care bills that have scared the bejesus out of an ever-growing majority of American voters, even in this bluest of states.
Asked his view of the bill, the Republican candidate, state Sen. Scott Brown, says succinctly: "It kinda stinks." A month ago, he was 30 points behind his Democratic opponent -- the don't-make-no-waves attorney general, Martha Coakley.
She was cruising, playing the one card she never leaves home without -- the gender card.
Then the specifics of ObamaCare started leaking out. The cuts in Medicare -- $500 billion, or as Brown prefers to say, "half a trillion dollars." Then the state's union members began to hear about the president's insistence on a 40 percent tax on their "Cadillac" health-care plans.
Overnight, the old dichotomies -- Democrat-Republican, red-blue -- lost their resonance. This has become a struggle for self-preservation -- medical and fiscal. As the old folk song goes, Which side are you on?
"This race affects everyone -- everyone," Brown says over and over again. "Forget about the letter after my name. If I win, this broken health-care bill goes back to the drawing board."