Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Brown defeats Coakley in Massachusetts

The news out of the Bay State isn't good tonight. Republican Scott Brown has defeated Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley in the race to succeed deceased liberal icon Ted Kennedy, a seat that Democrats held since 1962. The win by Brown decreases the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate to 59-41, bringing the filibuster back into play for Republicans.

With tonight's victory, conservatives are sure to crow that the tide has turned and this is an indication of what is to come in 2010.

What's disturbing for Democrats is that this is the second time in recent months where President Obama has come to help out a flailing candidate in a major statewide race but couldn't salvage anything. (The first time was Creigh Deeds last autumn, who also ran an uninspired and complacent campaign).

But Republican claims of winning based on better ideas,or a repudiation of Democratic policies or President Obama simply don't hold water.

Just as in Virginia, this election was won by a Republican because an anemic Democratic campaign didn't do the necessary work to win. One diarist on Daily Kos has suggested Coakley's loss is due to infighting within the Massachusetts Democratic Party, which certainly could have been a major contributing factor. Circular firing squads don't tend to produce electoral victories.

Even in liberal Massachusetts, wrapping yourself in the Kennedy cloak does not a Senator make. Last time I checked Kennedy was not spelled C-O-A-K-L-E-Y, nor was anyone named Kennedy on the ballot for the Democrats.

But it seems that Martha Coakley thought that strategy would lead her to victory. She ended up being done in by troubles she created for herself.

And she failed to effectively counter the always-on Republican Noise Machine, which provided a big propaganda assist for Brown.

Democrats running in 2010 would do well to build strong field programs and reach out to voters both online and in-person. Without George W. Bush to kick around (or even with him), it simply isn't enough to have a D next to your name and win. Campaigns are essentially a job interview. Those who want to win need to work hard each and every day and communicate with voters.

Voters don't appreciate being taken for granted by lazy, uninspiring candidates like Creigh Deeds and Martha Coakley. They want to be represented by someone who's going to go to bat for them against the powers-that-be. Scott Brown has just managed to fool a lot of people into thinking he's that someone.

Here's hoping he gets a strong challenge in 2012 from a Bay State Democrat who knows how to run a real campaign.


Blogger Michael said...

"Last time I checked Kennedy was not spelled C-O-A-K-L-E-Y, nor was anyone named Kennedy on the ballot."

Actually there was a candidate on the ballot named Kennedy - Joe Kennedey got 1% of the vote.

January 19, 2010 8:21 PM  
Blogger Steve Zemke said...

Oops, actually there was a Kennedy on the ballot named Joseph Kennedy who was no relation to The well known Kennedy family that included Ted Kennedy. This Joe Kennedy got less than 1% of the vote and was a Libertarian running as a Independent.

Your statement is right that no one should feel as if the seat is there's and unfortunately Coakley not campaigning for a month was overconfidence. She's not alone at fault because the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee obviously wasn't paying attention either. The results say no seat should ever be taken for granted and Democrats need to run hard for every seat.

The irony here is that voters supported the party that gave them the unemployment and economic meltdown. Their vote will now contribute to less being done to change things rather than more. Most Massachusetts voters already have health care coverage - it's the rest of the country that will suffer if we don't get legislation passed to increase coverage.

January 19, 2010 11:16 PM  
Blogger Martha Koester said...

I've heard from several people in MA that it was certainly no help that several prminent Dems in the state legislature have recently been caught with their hands in the till.

January 19, 2010 11:52 PM  

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