POLITICAL NOTES: A Matter of Heroes

A blue-and-white sound truck, trailing behind it the jumble of static and jazz music, rolled along the narrow roads of western Pennsylvania last week into the town the maps call Brush Valley, and the 500 residents call Mechanicsburg. As it stopped before the general store, a dozen children gawked at its placarded sides: "Mrs. Robert L. Coffey Sr. for Congress. Brave Mother of a Brave Son."

From a car following the truck stepped Mrs. Coffey herself, a grey-haired, motherly woman of 55, in a lacy black hat. She was ready to speak a few words, but found no crowd. "Ain't...

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