Kevin Cullen

A firm grasp of the trivial in Senate race

So, you’re one of the 18 percent of likely voters in Massa­chusetts who hasn’t made up their mind on the US Senate race and you’re sitting there on the couch Monday night watching the debate in Lowell. You’re trying to figure out whether to go with Scott Brown or Elizabeth ­Warren and you can’t get that old Peggy Lee song out of your head.

“Is That All There Is?”

David Gregory, the moderator, who will no doubt be denounced by Brown supporters as being a bleeding heart liberal who does his “Meet the Press” shtick for NBC, a.k.a. Pravda on the Potomac, kicked off the debate by introducing the subject that is, without a doubt, the most important, burning issue in the middle of this, the recession without end: What about all this Liz ­Warren and the ­Indians stuff?


I’m sure that all those UMass Lowell kids with debt coming out of their eyeballs couldn’t get enough of it. They’re going to be paying their college loans off until they die, and ­almost 20 percent of the debate was spent on whether Warren got hired at Harvard Law by posing as a Cherokee.

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At this point, “Wheel of Fortune” on one of the Providence stations was starting to look good.

But then Gregory, who will no doubt be accused by Warren supporters of being a conservative tool for trotting out the Native American question right off the bat again, tried to zing Brown over the senator’s claim of having consorted with kings and queens. All these attempts at even-handedness were pretty transparent. What fun is that?

It was pretty obvious that this venue was stacked in Brown’s favor. They were selling beer at Tsongas Arena, but there was not a decent Sancerre to be had at any of the concession stands. What were the Warren people supposed to drink? Bud?

Outrageous. But you didn’t hear any questions about the appalling dearth of wine. Instead it was Scott Brown bleating on about how much of a phony Liz Warren is, and Liz Warren bleating on about how much of a phony Scott Brown is. Actually, that was the only thing they agreed on.


In desperate need of independents to get reelected, Brown said a lot of things that his most enthusiastic supporters don’t want to hear: He’s a proud union member, John Kerry would make a fine secretary of state, and Sonia Sotomayor would be a model Supreme Court chief justice. But so would Antonin Scalia. And Anthony ­Kennedy. And John Roberts. To his credit, Brown only dissed the other justices by not mentioning them. Warren took the easy way out and picked her former boss, Elena Kagan.

Gregory, God love ’im, had to patronize us with a sports question, because you know how when we’re not talkin’ Indians around here we’re talkin’ sports, so he asked the two people who want to represent Massachusetts in the US Senate whether they would fire Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. Of course, the correct ­answer was, “Gee, David, I don’t know. Do you think NBC should fire Bob Greenblatt for presiding over the network that forces Americans to watch ‘The Voice’?”

Alas, the candidates had to make nice and answer the question as if it were legitimate. Warren, the touchy-feely liberal, said she’d give Bobby V another shot. Brown, the free-market conservative, said he’d leave that to the Red Sox brass.

There you have it. All you need to know. For the record, Warren said the middle class was getting hammered only once. And Brown said he was an independent 416 times. Both were all-time lows.

So you’re one of the undecided, sitting on the couch after an hour of this, and you do the only reasonable thing. Put on the “Family Guy” reruns.

Kevin Cullen is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeCullen.