Republican State Senator Scott Brown won the Massachusetts Senate seat occupied by Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy since 1962 (until his death last year) in a special election against state Attorney General Martha Coakley. Brown came away with 52%; Coakley 47%. Republicans gleeful; Democrats demoralized and begin to take their usual places in the circular firing squad.
How did he do it, this Scott Brown when he was trailing by double digits in polls months ago? How did he do it in a “liberal blue state”? (Even though Massachusetts has its “Massassippi” moments – yes I have a few roots and connections there so I know.)
Markos of Daily Kos has a brilliant and insightful answer of how Brown took it from Coakley:
There’s several messages to learn from this fiasco, but chief among them — if you decide to run for office, then respect the freakin’ voters and work your ass off for their vote. They are angry, frustrated, and looking for a sign that you get their concerns. Going on vacation doesn’t cut it. Campaigning your heart out gets you a good of the way there.
Last night I was tracking the campaign online until Coakley conceded close to the 10 PM hour. Not only was it my bedtime, I guess it was her’s as well. This local Bay State election was framed outside the state on saving or killing “health care reform.” But what’s amazing to me is out side that and the party affiliation frame, unless I was reading the Boston Globe or other MA news outlets daily (and I’m not sure even about that), I had no idea what either candidate stands for in terms of policy.
Based on new reports, smears, and other media, here’s what I had in hand about Coakley:
- Party affiliation – Democrat.
- Current job – state attorney general of Massachusetts.
- Will be the crucial vote on health care by keeping the 60 seat majority if elected to the U.S. Senate.
- Doesn’t know a Red Sox player from a Yankee fan. (Unless that was a joke that batted 0)
- She’ a woman.
- She’s white or Euro-American.
- Not high on shaking hands outside Fenway Park.
- Pretty tough on dirty white collar types – read a decent litigator.
Here’s what I knew about Scott Brown:
- Party affiliation – Republican.
- Current job – state senator for Massachusetts.
- Drives a pick up truck.
- Has been seen at Tea Party rallies (affiliation with Tea Party is TBD).
- Posted nude for Cosmopolitan back in the day (centerfold nude).
- Got pecks (or had them).
- He’s a man.
- He’s white or Euro-American
- Married a TV news reporter.
- Daughter was on “American Idol.”
- Wants people to believe he’s the next JFK. (Hopefully Brown’s middle initial isn’t an “O”).
- Voted at least 90% of the time with his state party – on what, I have no idea.
- Will vote down any and all health care and insurance reform if elected to the U.S. Senate.
- Maybe pro-choice with limitations (based on past record; but this is a wait and see now).
Was this an election or a beauty pageant?
Now that we have the outcome, it’s time to get on with the nation’s business. Democrats calling for a stop time on everything to lick their wounds and/or back off in fear of 2010 are not about the nation’s business. As someone advised me about the entertainment business, “People like to see the hustle.” That’s what Scott Brown gave the people in Massachusetts. From my perspective Coakley’s team ran a Hillary ’08 campaign – they took it for granted and didn’t build on their momentum and lead.
Coakley’s pollster Celinda Lake blames the Obama administration.
“If Scott Brown wins tonight he’ll win because he became the change-oriented candidate. Voters are still voting for the change they voted for in 2008, but they want to see it. And right now they think they’ve got economic policies for Washington that are delivering more for banks than Main Street.”
I guess Lake doesn’t want to work in politics anymore, at least with the DNC. As my folks used to say, “Every tub has to stand on its own bottom.” Good time to link to my post on the Wisdom of Failure; and this post is a good companion piece too. I’ll turn the final word over to Jon Stewart for the “just desserts.” (January 18, 2010). In the mean time, I gotta hustle!
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