BOSTON (CBS) –  Senator Scott Brown and his challenger, Elizabeth Warren, debated again last night in Springfield, and both proved once again that they are formidable candidates, bright, articulate, and committed to public service.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

We’re lucky to have good quality people like this competing to represent us.

And by the way, the Western Mass. media consortium did a fine job handling this debate, especially moderator Jim Madigan of the local public TV outlet.

OK, enough Mr. Nice Guy.

What was galling about last night’s debate was the numbing regularity with which both Warren and Brown repeat tired nostrums that they must know are nonsense.

Perhaps to the very casual political observer, these are fresh epiphanies, but even for someone who is used to hearing well-disciplined pols repeat the same lines over and over and over again, the Senate race is becoming alarmingly redundant.

For Brown to claim, as he did last night, that’s he’s anxious to see spending and debt brought under control, but without raising taxes on anybody or touching one of the largest budgetary items, defense spending, simply defies credulity. He makes a good case that he has worked hard to find centrist solutions to problems, but on the most pressing issue confronting the Senate, Brown is offering very thin gruel.

For Warren to talk about asking “millionaires and billionaires” to “pay a bit more” as if that popular pander were any sort of serious fix to our budget problems is beyond belief. She scores when she talks about her advocacy for equal pay for women in the workplace, but defaults when she refuses to acknowledge the religious freedom issues Brown raises about mandatory contraception insurance coverage.

Hey, I get it, these are poll-tested hot buttons each candidate has been coached to keep hitting on.

But it’s still insulting and dismaying to hear two people who could aim much higher stooping so low.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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