Jackie Gingrich Cushman

In an attempt to defend her campaign style, Coakley said: "As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park in the cold? Shaking hands?" Which is what Brown was doing. Well, yes, that might have been a good place to start for a Massachusetts politician seeking a job.

When asked about Curt Schilling's support of her opponent, Coakley dismissed Schilling as "another Yankee fan." Not a good thing when referring to a Red Sox pitcher who in 2004 helped defeat the Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

Combined, Coakley's gaffes drew a picture of an out-of-touch, ill-informed candidate.

In contrast, Brown was an almost perfect candidate. Almost perfect is actually better than perfect, since any little flaws only embellish his authenticity (a quality some believe Brown's mentor, Mitt Romney, lacks). Brown, an airborne lieutenant colonel in the Massachusetts National Guard with 30 years service, was pictured nude, but appropriately positioned, in a 1982 issue of Cosmopolitan as the winner of "America's sexiest man" when he was a 22-year-old law student at Boston College.

Brown is energetic, athletic, handsome, articulate and optimistic. His wife Gail Huff is a television reporter who was not visible on the campaign trail due to her career. His daughters, Ayla, a basketball player at Boston College and American Idol semifinalist, and Arianna, a pre-med student at Syracuse University, were involved and supportive of their father.

Brown's victory speech echoed his optimism. "We can do better," he said about the health care bill.

We can do better, and we want candidates who share our belief.

Election nights are special. They remind us of how our nation differs from others. Our citizens have the right, the responsibility, to vote, to choose their representatives.

Tuesday's election should remind all elected officials that the people decide who can conduct the people's business. There are no inherited or entitled seats in the United States, and candidates should not assume that they are safe because of their party affiliation -- even in a traditionally blue state like Massachusetts.

What they should assume is that they are elected to represent the American people -- and if they do not, they will soon join the 10 percent of other Americans who are looking for a job.

Elected officials need to remember that the power they wield is on loan from the American people. These same voters can revoke that power if they so desire.

Can you just imagine Cosmopolitan's next advertisement, "From Centerfold to Senator?"


Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.