Our congressman, Mike Capuano, has jumped from the frying pan into the fire.
He’s pulling his papers to run for Ted Kennedy’s empty Senate seat.
This is sure to set off more than a few political debates here and throughout Suffolk County and the state.
Can Capuano win?
This is the question.
I believe he can.
However, his campaign has to be all about shock and awe – not to give it a label that reminds us of a faraway war in the sand.
Capuano has to come running out of the box and run faster into the race and cross the line before everyone else.
How can he do this?
I believe Capuano needs to dominate the television advertising marketplace, for this is where the race will be won or lost – and this is where most of his campaign money will go, whether he wants to believe it or not.
He can separate himself from all the other candidates with brilliant, graphic, compelling television advertising that puts his name on the lips of voters throughout the state every morning, following their appearance on television.
His advertising cannot be what everyone else does.
It has to be distinctly different in order to show the value of the leadership he would bring to the US Senate for Massachusetts.
If his advertising doesn’t stand out, he cannot win.
Capuano needs to brand himself, like a successful product – and he needs to do this fast, upfront, and boldly.
He also must understand that this isn’t a statewide race where he can be going to the small towns and suburbs to do much campaigning.
This campaign will be won or lost in the big cities – with Boston primary among them.
In addition, he won’t have time to raise much more money than he has on hand – so he needs to start spending immediately and make efforts at fundraising nearer to the end of the campaign. To waste the energy on raising more money before concentrating on message and strategy would be a mistake.
As to what he will say and where he stands … it doesn’t matter.
Voters are angry. Voters are upset. Voters are mumbling and rumbling among themselves.
Voters want to hear a candidate taking their anger as his own, and Capuano is extremely good at this political game.
In recent months, he has become one of the most outspoken congressmen of our time.
Three or four of his C-span outbursts against bankers, automakers and insurance people that almost brought down the US economy would make for fabulous television advertising.
Smart, angry, to the point – no music in the background – fast and furious and out there.
This is what he needs to do at the very least, or I can assure him, he won’t come close to winning.