FITCHBURG, Mass. — St. Anthony of Padua Church has traditionally served an Italian blue-collar congregation and the politicial views of those in the pews at 8 a.m. mass may not be indicative of all Catholics in Massachusetts. With that disclaimer, however, Martha Coakley may be on the verge of the most brutal Catholic backlash since the Inquisition.
The Democratic attorney general’s adamant support of late-term abortion obviously puts her at odds with faithful Catholics, but many of those attending morning mass — including lifelong Democrats — were harshly critical of Coakley in other ways. Her round-the-clock negative ad blitz against Republican Scott Brown was repeatedly mentioned as “awful” and “horrible.”
Other parishioners expressed indignation at Coakley’s remark to WBSM radio host Ken Pittman about the “conscience clause” for pro-life healthcare workers: “You can have religious freedom but you probably shouldn’t work in the emergency room.” And not a few Red Sox fans were outraged by the Democrats’ ignorant assertion that Boston baseball legend Curt Schilling is a Yankees fan. (My host here has his own blog post about this morning’s reaction.)
This was an unscientific survey, of course, and the latest polls (reportedly including Coakley’s own interal polls) indicate Brown just beginning to establish a narrow lead, but the plural of anecdote is data and there is abundant evidence that the Republican’s supporters have far more enthusiasm and energy than Coakley’s demoralized and gaffe-prone campaign.
More than 500 Brown boosters turned out Saturday night in Middleboro, cheering the candidate as he concluded the first day of a three-day “Bold New Leadership” bus tour.
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