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).
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.
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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