This Democrat feels betrayed by Coakley’s Incomptetence

As a Democrat, I feel utterly let down by Martha Coakley. In a word, the campaign she ran against Republican Scott Brown STUNK! Except for the last 10 days leading up to the election, you could call it “The Campaign that Wasn’t.”

So Massachusetts won’t have the person in the Senate voting for the Democratic values I treasure. From a practical standpoint, her loss makes President Obama’s job tougher. For the record, I think he’s doing a good job trying hard to make good on his campaign promises. My main issue with him is that he’s way TOO WIMPY with his fruitless obsession in courting Republicans (every time I see Mitch McConnell and John Boehner on TV, I throw up).

Coakley: a lousy campaign. credit: Masslive.com

Coakley: a lousy campaign. credit: Masslive.com

Back to Coakley: more than one person on election day itself commented on how few Coakley signs were plunked down in yards. In front of our polling place, Brown’s energized and angry followers were out in force, holding signs and enthusiastically waving at passing cars. Coakley had two or three supporters out there and sometimes none. I heard this repeated about several towns.

As one fellow Dem said, “I wish Brown was a Democrat.”

This morning’s Globe carried a good piece on her failed campaign and how she let leads of 17 points or more slip away  after the the first of the year. I was stunned to learn that she held no public events between Dec. 23-30  (word was she was vacationing in the Caribbean!!) while Scotto was driving around in his fabled truck meeting voters.

That’s the arrogance that swung independents over to Brown.

Even before the primary, I never saw her on the North Shore where I live. She wasn’t out pressing the flesh and as the Globe article put it, making voters feel “respected.” In the primary, I voted for scrappy Rep. Mike Capuano because he came off as a fighter. Martha seemed   controlled, calculating and a bit cold. She showed little of herself while Brown exhibited himself as an open book and likable guy.

That’s until last Saturday when Martha came to Michael’s Harborside restaurant in Newburyport. Finally, her campaign showed signs of life, but it was too late. Meanwhile, Brown’s supporters lined Route 1 on the hillside above Michael’s letting Coakley know she was under siege. The scene was right out of a 50s western with the Indians on the ridge about to slaughter the cavalry.

Edward Jr. at Ted's funeral. credit: SDNN.com

Edward Jr. at Ted's funeral. credit: SDNN.com

My wife and I both commented this morning that we thought Martha would have made a good senator. She grew on me the more she got out in the campaign. That’s the way it’s supposed to happen, right?

But yesterday, she also said she’s running for Attorney General again this Fall. The dust hasn’t even settled and this career bureaucrat is acting like it’s business as usual. I’m not sure I’d vote her her this Fall until she recognizes how badly she screwed up and acknowledges in some way that she let down fellow Democrats, Independents and maybe a Republican or two.

She bears sole responsibility for losing the seat held by Ted Kennedy for 47 years because she did not work hard enough. To use a sports metaphor, she didn’t want victory badly enough.  Could she have made up the five point difference with a better campaign? That’s about 100,000 votes, but she only needed better than half of those for a victory. I think she could have.

The Kennedy legacy still stands, but oh does it feel like the Kennedy influence around here just swirled down the drain with TV news showing all those Brown signs in Hyannisport.  Joe Kennedy, who doesn’t ring my bell all that much, would have beaten Brown. I think Vickie would have, too. But the Kennedy I liked the most is Ted Kennedy Jr. who spoke so movingly about his father at the funeral.

Maybe’s it’s that he sounds and looks like his father. Ted Jr. has conquered cancer and loss of his leg at a young age. He’s stared down death and comes off articulate and wonderfully genuine. I hope he enters politics so “The Dream lives on.”

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15 Comments

  1. Chris says:

    Female politicians are often held to a double standard by the media and are often called “cold” or “calculating” simply because they need to compensate in a profession dominated by men. However, I think in this case, those adjectives were actually quite appropriate and not sexist. Despite supporting Obama in the primary, I always thought that accusations against Hillary of being “cold” were unfair…she campaigned like a workhorse and actually quite grew on me throughout the primary.

    This seat will be won back in two years, no doubt about it. McGovern, Markey, Capuano, or just about any Kennedy could beat Brown, especially when Obama is back on the ticket and young and minority voters are back out in force to support him (hopefully!).

  2. RAGO says:

    As one of those Indians on the ridge at Michael’s (an appropriate analogy BTW), I’d like to share the opinons of those who waited in anticipation of Martha’s arrival.

    It wasn’t solely about her campaign’s assumed victory and lack of visibility until the very end. It was about the entire scenario that has unfolded the last 12 months in Washington. The promise of “change” and open govt–only to have a bait and switch to a hijacking of the process by the left and an unprecedented sequence of; closed door meetings, buying of votes, special interest deals for unions, and total disregard for the public’s growing anger over growth of government spending while the economy tanks and the deficit grows.

    Most of the people on that hill that I spoke with at Michael’s and later in Market Sq. on Sunday were Independents who favored some type of healthcare–just not the one being proposed the way it was being ramrodded through the process. They seek a balance and a return to the middle along with involvement in the process by all sides. We shouldn’t even have to ask for this. But, that’s what it has come down to and that is why Martha lost.

    Could she have salvaged her candidacy had she campaigned vigourously right after the primaries? Perhaps. However, her complacency breathed life into Brown’s campaign that gave us opponents hope. Once the momentum started, this became a campaign way beyond Martha and Healthcare. It became a referendum on the current dealings in Washington and an avenue to send a much larger message.

  3. Jim says:

    Great post, John. I could not agree more. I was a Coakley fan while she was the AG (and still is..at least for a while longer)but her lack of passion and desire was a big let down for me — and for many voters. What happens two years from now will depend on many of the same issues that mattered to voters in this election, jobs and the economy.

  4. John says:

    Jim, agree on all points except your choice of candidate!

  5. Tracy says:

    Great post, John. Much as I hate lawn signs, it was ridiculous for Coakley to blow off that part of her campaign almost entirely. A friend who worked for her a little told me she’s heard the carpenter’s union was scrambling as late as Sunday before the election to get Coakley lawn signs made, but that obviously was way too late.

    Would love to see Capuano wipe the floor with Brown. He’s a brawler (though — because he declined to support Coakley publicly like a good party man should — something of a rat fink as well).

  6. Hawk H. Hickman says:

    Dear John (and this is a Dear John letter),

    We were proudly standing on the Gillis Bridge Saturday and if you think this was some sort of anomoly or voter aberration, you are mistaken. As a 66 year old voter born in Hyannis in 1943 and having to suffer through years of the Chappiqiddick Kid and the rest of the loonie liberals running this state for most of my life, I was delighted to see Martha go down as we voted for “Downtown Scottie Brown”. Capuano and all the rest of the nitwit liberals are going down the drain over the next year.

    We will be going after Barnie Frank, Harry Reid, Nancy “Bella Lugosi” Pelosi, Arlan Spector, Barbara Boxer, Ed Markey and many others. They will taste the collective voter wrath for the arrogance they have shown during the last year as they tried to ram the Health Care Bill down our throats and tripled the federal debt.

    What you saw in Mass., and Newburyport in particular, will be repeated many times as the Independent voters step forward, together with the Tea Party. Take your liberal Socialist agenda and go hide some place, because we are coming after you with a vengance.

    Hawk

  7. John says:

    Bring it on, Hawk. You’re just another visionless right-wing nutjob who’s angry, but doesn’t know why. My guess is you live very comfortably in Hyannis and are ready to stick it to the less fortunate with your selfishness and singular anti-tax message. How you must suffer! What crap.

    You sound like the kind of person who’d step over a wounded child in the street to pick up a $20 bill.

    Your assumption that all the independents are turning into mini Rush Limbaughs like you is, happily, a gross miscalculation.

  8. Jon says:

    John,

    The very fact that you choose to personally attack Hawk because of his opinions indicates just another reason why Coakley went down in flames. Positions and facts carry more weight than insults. Is that best argument you can provide? As my father used to say, insults and foul language only help to prove the ignorance of the issuer. Don’t be fooled to think that old standbys like Capuano et al will rise up and claim victory in the future. I don’t think Scott Brown won because Martha ran a lousy campaign, although admittedly she ceased campaigning after the primary. The public has grown tired of the same old same old, and I do think it is entirely party agnostic.

  9. John says:

    Prometheuscgi,

    You make a good so I’ll tone it down for a second….but as Democrats, it’s time to take the gloves off and fire the back with same intensity you fire at us. Read my post on Obama where I tried to be reasonable and present the evidence. Maybe Capuano would not have made a difference…and maybe Alan Khazei would have turned out to be the Dems’ Scott Brown if he could have held up to a bruising campaign.

    At the and of day, it’s all your perspective and I am tired of the Republican swill, distortions and hit squads. As a journalist, I was taught “people before property” and that’s dovetails with my Democratic philosophy. Republicans cling to an out of date notion of the free market and low taxes, but I’ve got news for you – you can’t take it with you. I believing in building a better society, country and a better world.

    As for independents, I don’t know what they believe.

  10. Gordon Stuart says:

    John,

    If I were a staunch Democrat, I wouldn’t feel betrayed by Martha Coakley in that election as much as I’d feel betrayed by Barrack Obama. Nor, would I be as concerned. Coakley’s loss was not good for the Democrats. However, Obama’s remarks after the loss will hurt the Democrats more than the loss itself.

    If you recall, Obama said: “People are angry and they’re frustrated, not just because of what’s happened in the last year or two years, but what’s happened over the last eight years.” OK, they are mad at George Bush. So….they go out and vote for a Republican? That makes no sense. The comment clearly illustrates to most people that Obama is out of touch with reality or “grasping for straws” and the people don’t want either. They want constructive change.

    The backlash from his comment has been phenomenal. I think Mark Steyn does a pretty good job articulating the sentiments of most Conservatives in the article: http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=518859. You may say: that’s just a Conservative’s point of view and you’d be right. However, it is obvious many Independents are thinking the same thing and that is why Obama’s popularity and confidence ratings are heading South. To compound his problem, Obama is upsetting Liberals too. None of this bodes well for Obama or the Democrats because whoever runs for public office needs the Independents’ support.

    I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “fools rush in, where wise men fear to tread”. I can tell you from this moderate, independent’s point of view, Obama is talking and acting like a fool! He would serve himself and the Democratic Party better by keeping his mouth shut once in a while and listening to the people. Secondly, if the Democrats want to maintain control, Obama and the Democratic Congress should stop shoving their pet initiatives down the peoples’ throats and start putting the brakes on Government spending.

    With the comments he made last week, Obama lost a lot of credibility and it will be hard to recover. Peoples’ memories may be short. We may not remember the details, but we will all remember the arrogance exhibited by our President and will not likely forgive that. Trust me, this week will cost Obama dearly in four years and it will cost the Democratic Party in Mid-Term Elections. The fact Coakley ran a bad campaign is irrelevant. Obama’s words and actions will be far more costly to the Democrats than Coakley’s loss! He may be the boss today, but unless he starts changing his tune, it is obvious he won’t be the boss for very long. Like I said, if I were a staunch Democrat, I wouldn’t feel nearly as betrayed by Martha Coakley as I’d feel betrayed by Barrack Obama. The fact is, at this point most Americans feel betrayed by Barrack Obama and don’t give a damn about Martha Coakley and that is what the Democrats should be concerned about. Gordon

  11. Hawk H. Hickman says:

    John,

    I am not a right wing nut job nor am I living comfortably down in Hyannis. I am a retired person who looks aghast and askance at the deficit tripling since “The Chosen one” took office. What we have now in Congress is a bunch of politicians (both Democrat and Republican) who are addicted to spending. They need an intervention and to seek a 12 step program for their addiction. We will help them in November by voting them out of office if they have not cured their addiction by then.

    Additionally, I give to charity every year, of my own volition, out of my own pocket, as opposed to being forced to give through imposed taxes. My motorcycle club contributes over 25 complete Thanksgiving meals to needy families in the Plymouth/South Shore area every year and Christmas gifts to needy children every year. In addition we give to needy families whose breadwinner is out of work due to a disabling motorcycle accident. To the extent that we are not taxed to death by the spend and tax feds, we are able to give to locals in need.

    We are sick of the guilt ridden politicians like Ted Kennedy who want to assuage their guilt by forcing us to fund their pet projects, regardless of the state of our country’s financial state.

    If you and the Obamaites cannot see the writing on the wall by now, you will soon be forced to see it as the groundswell of opposition rises to a roar that will shake Washington to its very depths

    Hawk

  12. John says:

    Hawk,

    There’s probably several frustrations we have in common, but I don’t share your views on Obama…he inherited Bush’s mess. I also urge you to read the
    analysis in the Globe this morning of why people voted for Scott Brown. It’s was hardly throw the Dems or Obama out and the Republicans come in for more criticism for Washington gridlock than the Dems (I am a moderate Democrat, BTW…maybe moderately liberal). We’ll see if that groundswell you talk about really exists. I think not.

    Let up on the rage, already. It’s not good for you. Glad you’re doing some good deeds. Was glad to see Brown this morning reach out to Boston’s black leaders. I’ll be watching (and hoping) for his “independence.”

    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2010/01/27/what_voters_were_saying_at_the_polls/

  13. John,

    I have just finished reading the Globe article that you recommended. I generally don’t read the Globe, because it is highly biased towards Liberalism and Democratic agendas. So, having said that, I take everything that the article says with a big grain of salt.

    Here is my post election poll of myself (and this is the general consensus amongst all my friends who voted for Scott). We voted for Scott to:

    1. Rid the Senate of the super majority so that each and every bill, including the Health Car Bill, is forced to have long and hard Senate and public discourse and cannot be “rammed” through just because it is on Obama’s, Pelosi’s and Reid’s “must do” agenda.

    2. Display our extreme displeasure at the arrogance exhibited by the Democrats and their leaders throughout the entire year and their tripling of the national debt.

    3. To stop a Health Care Bill that not only was atrocious, but one which had to have at least three giant payoffs (The Louisiana Purchase, The Nebraska Corn pone and the Union Cadillac Health Plan exemption).

    4. To rid the State of Mass. once and for all of the notion that the Kennedys, even from their deathbeds and afterlife, will continue to be the tail that wags the political body of Mass.

    5. To put a man’s man in office, one with a refreshing message and a refreshing family. A man who is truly a man of the people. Additionally, one who actually has office holding experience and private sector experience, as opposed to Harvard, Ivory Tower, Elitist, Community Organizer, Public Sector experience.

    What I suggest for you and the other Democrats who voted for Coakley and still don’t understand fully what happened, is to read the Herald at least as much as you read the Globe, paying particular attention to the editorials. Then turn on WRKO 680 and listen to Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh and Howie Carr. Also swith over to WTTK 96.9 fm for Michael Graham, Jay Severin and Michele McPhee.

    Then, whenever you can, switch over the TV from NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN etc. to Fox New and take in what O’Reilly, Glen Beck and Hannity are presenting. In this way, you will round out your knowledge of what’s actually happening and not be taken by surprise again.

    Now, moving the the State of the Union Speech, the real State of the Union speech was given by the voters on 1/19. That was a speech to Congress that we are fed up and don’t want to hear anymore of their Bolshevik baloney. One example-Giving millions of dollars to Amtrak and national rail is just another make work, pork barrel project that will cost tons and lose money. Every Amtrak line in the country loses money each year, so now we are going to expand that loser arena? Please! Jobs are created when individuals and corporations are taxed less and have more money for capital expenditures and hiring. That’s the bottom line. No government has ever created a meaningful, lasting job. The jobs that are created by government are short term endeavors, usually full of pork barrel items and paid for by tax money that would have produced far more jobs if kept in the hands of the private sector.

    America became the wealthiest and most generous nation in the world by having an unfettered economy free to expand and create more wealth for everyone. It is the most magnificent economic engine ever seen on Earth. Sadly, it is now being attacked both at home and abroad by interests that want to bring her down for various reasons.

    Don’t be fooled John. A better world is created by free people operating in a free economy, not by Bolshevik/Communist/Socialist trying to redistribute wealth.

    Hawk

  14. Reaganism
    “You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream — the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order — or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. Plutarch warned, ‘The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.’ The Founding Fathers knew a government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing.”

    President Ronald Reagan

  15. John says:

    Sorry Hawk, but every commentator and politician you mention is far to extreme right so I have assume that’s what your are. Calling Obama a Bolshevik would be an insult if it wasn’t so absurd…it’s rhetoric we haven’t heard since McCarthyism in the 50s.

    I believe there is a middle route and that’s what the country as a centrist nation wants. I’m willing to give Brown a chance. Maybe Pelosi is too partisan and frankly, I’m not sure she and Barack share a close relationship. But stop with the coming to getcha stuff. Also, I’m tired of hearing about the Founding Fathers having a monopoly on genius when there’s no way they could have seen 225 years into the future. And the taxation obsession is a false issue – Barack has not raised taxes and is not proposing to on any family making under $250k.

    I could go on and on, but I am not going to change your mind…I will say as a journalist for 33 years (PC Week, Globe, WSJ), Fox violates every tenet of objective reporting. It’s vile and most of my colleagues agree. I grant you MSNBC is just as bad, but not 7×24 party propaganda…I don’t like Olberman either.

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