There was, of course, plenty about last week's special election for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat that was tough  to square. Kennedy had made health care reform his "life's work," yet Massachusetts voters went for the guy who is against the current health care legislation. And this in one of the few places in the country that operates with near universal health care.
Some observers also chalked the results up as a referendum on the White House's economic policies. But Massachusetts is, apparently, actually doing fairly well  compared to where things were at around this time last year. In a recent poll of small-business owners, 42% of them said they would make new hires this year, compared with only 29% last year. And venture capital has been gushing into the state in far great amounts than it has been in most other parts of the country (look for the Boston installment of our ongoing series  on promising places to start new businesses in this section soon).
Yes, the New England recovery is moving at a rate closer in speed to, say, David Ortiz than to Jacoby Ellsbury , and unemployment continues to creep in the wrong direction, but many other signs are pointing toward a slow but steady turnaround. Should the Massachusetts recovery continue to develop, it will be interesting to see how, if at all, that effects November's midterm elections.