Today on Blogcritics
Home » Culture and Society » The Massachusetts Miracle?

The Massachusetts Miracle?

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Next week in Massachusetts, a special election to fill the Senate seat of the departed Ted Kennedy will take place. The Republican candidate Scott Brown has overcome a huge 30-point deficit in the polls to pull within two points of Democrat Martha Coakley, according to a recent Rasmussen poll. With less than a week to go before the election, the candidates took the stage for a last debate.

The physical contrast was striking. A fit and chiseled Brown (he once posed in the buff for Cosmopolitan) looked ready for action. Though appearing pale and almost lethargic, Coakley interrupted Brown on issues she felt played to her advantage, mainly abortion. This could be a mistake. As Creigh Deeds found out in Virginia, the social issues seem to have taken a back seat to the economy. On his short side, Brown didn't have much to offer on the economic side except tax cuts and stopping Obamacare as the 41st Republican Senator. For Republicans, that may be enough, but will it convince the 50 percent of Massachusetts voters who call themselves Independents?

Also on stage was third party candidate Joe Kennedy (no relation to Ted), who was a pretty much a one trick pony devoted to stopping spending. When moderator David Gergen drew him out as to how to cut spending, Kennedy took the bait and said he'd go after entitlements like Medicare and social security. After this political self-immolation, Gergen (looking rather old himself — I guess he needs to get back to those soft lights on CNN) tossed a softball to Coakley about how her campaign was going. Her tepid response said volumes about a candidate who seems to want to appear substantive without actually saying anything specific. She couldn't even nail the fattest of political pitches. Her flat response about working hard landed with a thud.

Her other responses were the usual Democratic rote about that dastardly pair Bush/Cheney or about how something must be done on health care. The moronic "anything is better than the status quo" argument doesn't hold water because we don't really know what the "anything" is. More importantly, we don't' know how will we pay for the "anything." Coakley simply said it's deficit neutral, leaving out the half-billion in cuts for the Medicare program that may or may not occur.

Before the debate, state Democrats may have hurt Coakley by saying even if Brown is elected they will hold up his swearing in until the health care vote is taken in D.C. This delay could be as long as a month, unlike a recent Democrat special election winner Nikki Tsongas, who was sworn in two days after her special election win. This brazen con job doesn't help the Democratic brand, the health care debate or Coakley. It simply highlights the rapacious one party system in the Bay state.

With regard to foreign policy, what Coakley stands for is largely a mystery. However, she wants to give Al Qaeda civilian trials and she asserts that Al Qaeda has withdrawn from Afghanistan and the U.S. should pull out. This last claim makes the false assumption that if we left Afghanistan, Bin Laden and company would not return. Brown hammered Coakley on her anti-war stance and her support of Al-Qaeda civilian trials, particularly the Christmas Day Bomber. He also showed up her dubious claim of an Al Qaeda-free Afghanistan by pointing out that Bin Laden and the boys would love Afghanistan as a base to topple Pakistan and, thereby, get nuclear missiles.

What was the final tally? This observer would say Brown bested Coakley, but more on energy and image than actual arguments or rebuttals. Before somebody says Brown is all fluff, you have to say that JFK wasn't exactly known for his substantive policies before becoming president. His young handsome countenance was a marked difference from the aged warrior Ike or the rather oily Richard Nixon. Image was important then as now. In their famous TV debate, Kennedy won among TV viewers, while Nixon actually was preferred by radio listeners. In the current Senate debate, Scott Brown looked engaged and energized, while Coakley seemed distant and sported a rather thin smug smile from time to time.

In a sense, Scott Brown has already won. Everyone now knows how amazingly weak the Democratic party is in a race that should have been a cakewalk. Now this could be an early protest vote against a radically unpopular Democratic governor, Obama pal Deval Patrick. His lone achievement, if you can call it that, has been to raise the sales tax. With his approval numbers in the low 30s, Patrick stands little chance of re-election this year. Even a visit by President Obama failed to stir enthusiasm at a Patrick fundraiser in December that was sparsely attended.

Given the anti-Washington, anti-Beacon Hill mood, a flaccid machine candidate like Coakley could lose. However, should Brown lose by a point or two, the damage will have been done anyway. In the original blue state, the message will be unmistakable. Democrats ran the last two cycles against incumbency as change agents. Now, they are the incumbents. Having offered wild spending, more taxes, and 10% unemployment, the Democrats are about to feel the pain of the electorate in a most visceral way. In head-spinning fashion, the former agents of "change" are now in danger of being changed. If the facts could be a rally cry, it might be "Change the change!"

Powered by

About Mr Dock Ellis

  • Arch Conservative

    Regardless of whether or not Brown wins, the closeness of this race in such a blue state…..the thought that a Republican could come so close to swooping in and stealing the seat that belonged to “the liberal lion of the Senate…” is just a precursor to the bloodbath that awaits the Democrats this November.

    Then we can go back to the GOP cornholing us instead of the Dems.

    Oh happy day!

  • Baronius

    You didn’t mention the moment that’s getting the most attention. When Gergen asked Brown essentially, how dare you take the Kennedy seat, Brown answered that the seat isn’t the Kennedys’, it’s the people’s. Brown made 49 states worth of friends with that comment, but there are plenty of people in Massachusetts who believe that Senate seat really does belong to the Kennedys.

    It’ll be interesting. My gut says that a Massachusetts senate seat is a bridge too far for the Republicans. Then again, the GOP has dominated the governor’s races in the past twenty years, so the people can find the R lever, and my gut has a lousy win/loss record.

  • Arch Conservative

    Apparently not too many give a shit about the MA Senate race.

    Here in NH it’s been the talk of the town for the past week. There’s nothing quite as ugly as a desparate liberal Democrat lashing out.

    Camelot is dead. Scott Brown didn’t kill it but he sure as hell is doing his part to help us forget it.

  • mrdockellis

    Interesting update:
    Coakley was at a fundraiser in DC with beaucoup healthcare lobbyists, probably trying to cut a deal.

    Afterward, one of Coakley’s entourage roughed up a Weekly Standard reporter trying to ask a question.

    Back in the Bay State, rumor has it they are going to do a voter roll purge. This will take place actually after the election so they can disqualify absentee ballots that come in for Brown.

    This post election purge is why they say it will take weeks to certify the winner. That time will be used to manipulate the results, if the race is close and it looks to be very close.

    The Democratic Machine is in High gear.

    THE FIX IS IN!!

  • Arch Conservative

    You bet your candy ass the fix is in Dock.

    When teddy died the Dems felt a need to get someone into office ASAP because “the people needed representation in Washington”

    Now that there’s going to be an election and it’s not up to a Democrat governor to appoint who will go to Washington the Dems are singing a different tune and talking about no deadlines to certify the winner.

    I live in NH so I get the MA stations on TV and Coakley is airing non-stop attack ads. The best one is where the narrator tells the audience no less than 57 time sin two 90 seconds that Brown is a “Republican.”

    The Dems are truly scared. We can fully expect them to engage in all manner of underhanded illegal chicanery to steal this one.

  • Baronius

    Dock, the main reason for the promised delay in certification is to give the Senate time for a health care vote while Coakley is still a member.

  • Baronius

    I keep saying that wrong…Kirk is currently in; Coakley’s hoping for the job.

  • SANDYS

    I AM FROM MASS. BUT NOW LIVE IN TEXAS, I WISH TO GOD I COULD VOTE FOR SCOTT BROWN,

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    I’ll say it again. A vote for Scott Brown is an affirmation of Ted Kennedy’s legacy. Ted Kennedy had more friends across the aisle who actually respected him than within his own caucus – that’s fact. The Democrat leadership tolerated Kennedy whilst he remained a splinter in their collective feet. Teddy was a larger than life figure, the reluctant heir to a legacy built by martyrs for a cause which has yet to be defined.

    I loved Ted Kennedy and make no apologies. He lived his life trying to do the right thing by the people who elected him. Unfortunately, he had to operate within the parameters of Democrat Leadership — that’s what a good Irish Roman Catholic Democrat does. He had his personal problems — we all do. And in the midst of all the personal dramas of Ted Kennedy’s life, he never backed down from doing the people’s business. Kicked down by the deaths of three brothers, he picked himself up each time. Displaying a horrific weakness in judgment on that bridge, he lived with the guilt every day and continued to serve. When his young namesake lost a leg to cancer, he fought for other children faced with the same challenge. When his daughter was fighting lung cancer a few years ago, he could have exploited himself. He didn’t. Quietly he went to that Church on Mission Hill and conversed with his God — out of the limelight, away from the crowds. And when his own Party’s President was faltering, he had the courage to challenge. Though he lost, he returned to the Senate with a renewed sense of optimism and determination. That’s the definition of a real public servant.

    Ted Kennedy wasn’t a saint. He was a man who was born into circumstances few of us enjoy. But he never rubbed it in our faces. He never made the least among him feel that he was better or more knowing by virtue of his family. Quietly behind the scenes he would reach out to constituents in pain, gently counseling them. He cared. It was genuine. It was uniquely Ted Kennedy.

    That’s what is missing from this Senate Election. We’ll never replace Teddy with an equal — for there is not one among us who could ever stand as he. Let him sleep, he’s earned his rest and place in history. This Senate seat belongs to us, the people. We must decide who among the three seeking it are deserving of the chance to replace him. The election is not a referendum on Barack Obama; rather it’s a message sent from the good people of this Commonwealth to Washington about how we feel concerning the course laid out by the Legislative Branch. Coakley, Brown and Kennedy (the Libertarian) collectively could never replace Ted Kennedy. They don’t have his determination. So out of the three we must choose and give them two years to prove why they are deserving – not of taking Ted Kennedy’s seat but of representing our interests in the Senate.

  • mrdockellis

    Silas,

    If that wasn’t satire, then I’ll give points for chutzpah. However, you’ll never resurrect Ted Kennedy as anything else except a tremendous waste.

    He wasted his marriage by constantly fooling around. He wasted his shot at the presidency by trying to bed down Mary Jo at Chappy. The Kennedy fixers worked hard to cover it up, but manslaughter, negligent homicide call it what you will was simply too much to cover up.

    A sad dissolute wasted life like his cannot be redeemed by platitudes or generalities.

    Only way to cleanse Massachusetts of the Ted Kennedy stain is to elect Scott Brown. It also shows Massachusetts is ready to move forward from being run by one party (Dems) or one family (Kennedys)

    Tuesday, we can drive the first nail in the coffin of the corrupt Democratic machine in the Bay State!

    Scott Brown for Senate!!!

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Save some nails for the other parties too!

    In fact, why don’t we all start over…

    I can’t believe my bleeding, liberal heart!

  • http://spacehotel.com/ DW

    Looks like you called it, Dock.

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    Tell it to Kennedy’s constituents. No Senator came close to what his office accomplished for folks around the Bay State. And, on that spirit, I cast my ballot for Scott Brown who will be equally as effective in constituent services. Too bad your heroes like Coburn, McConnell, DeMint and Ensign will NEVER comprehend the concept.