The Important Thing Is Just To Vote

This article is more than 11 years old.

It's as if we are just getting to know these candidates.

This campaign — if we can call it that — is ending too soon, especially considering we’re more used to the years-long marathons running up to presidential election day than we’ve been with this short eight-week-long affair.

Martha, Mike, Alan, Steve, Scott and Jack E. — we hardly knew ya. At least that’s true for all but the two of you who will be going forward to the final election in January.

Should we read predictions of low voter turnout as a signal of the fact that this campaign came at the time of the year when we’re most distracted, the holidays?

Bob Oakes is the host of WBUR's Morning Edition.
Bob Oakes is the host of WBUR's Morning Edition.

Is it lack of interest in these candidates? Is it a lack of confidence that, over time, whichever one is elected won’t develop into the next Ted Kennedy?

After all, the bar is so high. President Obama described Kennedy as "not only one of the greatest senators of our time, but one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy."

But you shouldn’t allow that lack of current stature to keep you from taking an 11th hour look at this field of candidates because — while they all have their peccadillos — they each show potential.

Democrats: While Attorney General Martha Coakley has been called colorless and icy, she is as smart and as sharp as any candidates you’ll ever find. The same could be said about the passion Congressman Michael Capuano shows about the issues he believes in, even though he’s been labeled too hot, temper-wise.

Among the Democratic newcomers, City Year co-founder Alan Khazei, who’s called wonkish, has a vision worth review. And businessman Steve Paliuca, who’s tossed oodles of his personal fortune around to buy name recognition, buried himself in briefing papers to bone up on the issues — reminding us of the way Sen Kennedy used to educate him-self.

Even the overshadowed are worth a look. The GOP’s state Sen. Scott Brown is coolly confident, and Republican Jack E.. Robinson did run a few successful businesses.

Ducking out on voting Tuesday is the easy way to go.

But considering the attention that Sen. Kennedy drew to Massachusetts — the money and jobs he brought here and the fact that we’ll be counting on this new senator to do the same as much as is possible for a Capitol Hill newcomer — ducking out is the wrong way to go.

This program aired on December 7, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

Bob Oakes Twitter Host, Morning Edition
Bob Oakes has been WBUR's Morning Edition anchor since 1992.