Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It Should Be An Interesting Evening

I actually voted in the last election in which a Republican Senator from Massachusetts was on the ballot. I was a first year law student living in the Allston neighborhood of Boston (just accross the Charles from Cambridge). Ed Brooke lost that fall to Paul Tsongas. It's been Democrats ever since.

Tip O'Neill was my Congressman back then and he used to say that all politics are local. But the race between Scott Brown and Martha Coakley is not. It's all about ObamaCare. If it wasn't before the President flew into Boston, it is now.

There is no way for the White House to win this. Even if Coakley squeaks out a victory, a general election for the Senate in Massachusetts is not supposed to be close. Massachusetts will elect a Republican governor, but its national politics are deep blue (although Reagan carried the state twice). If Brown wins, the Blue Dogs will be in revolt. Heck, they may be anyway. The President has to hope the polls are wrong. That seems unlikely.


Anonymous said...

ObamaCare is a small factor, but that's an excuse for Coakley. Plain and simple, she ran a lousy campaign and is a mediocre candidate. She had 19 events. Brown had 66. He pressed the flesh outside Fenway. She didn't know who plays for the Red Sox. And Brown is an attractive candidate for a Republican in Massachusetts, literally and figuratively. He's Cosmo's Sexiest Man alive, plus a few years. That counts for something in politics. And he's actually a moderate Republican. He believes in upholding Roe v. Wade; in civil unions, but not gay marriage; and he voted for Massachusetts' universal health care bill.

Tip was right. Brown's a charismatic candidate who ran a good campaign. Coakley awaited her coronation and stumbled along the way.

Anonymous said...

Your reading of the situation, specifically that HCR is the deciding factor in the race, would be more convincing if MA didn't already have the very reforms that the Senate/House bills would enact, except the cost-saving measures (which should make the national HCR bills more palatable to conservatives). And those MA happen to remain quite popular in the state, even so much that even Brown backs their existence.

Plus, this is some pretty questionable logic: it unquestionably became Obama's race when he flew into Boston w/ Coakley crashing in the polls, yet even if Coakley rebounds to pull out a victory -- presumably aided, if not driven by, the president's involvement -- then it's still somehow a loss for the White House. That, as it happens, seems unlikely.

AnotherTosaVoter said...

Indeed Rick you're engaging in a bit of hackery here.

If the people of Massachusetts voted strictly against health care reform, then they're idiots since it's basically what they have and it has an 80% approval rating. If HCR played a role, it was probably because of all the sweetheart deals made recently with unions, Nebraska, etc., and not the actual policy. Indeed poll after poll shows that when people are actually told what the bill contains, they support it overwhelmingly (understanding the actual policy at hand is never very important in our politics, since most people never do).

I think the simple fact is that people are pretty sick of their government, regardless of party. If the GOP had taken over from the Dems in 2006 and 2008, I think they'd be getting the boot right now. I resemble that remark, I am leaning right now towards voting for either Walker or Neumann over Barrett this fall even though I firmly approve of Mr. Obama and his efforts.

All the spin tomorrow will be emotional and brainless, as usual.

Brew City Brawler said...

Fascinated to hear what ideas/policies that Walker brings to the table that makes him a superior candidate to Barrett.

Brew City Brawler

AnotherTosaVoter said...

BCB, I think our state is way, way over-extended and unfriendly to business. We've made promises we cannot afford.

I'll keep an open mind in the election, and I like Barrett personally. I just think that, given my only two options, it's time for the other team to have a shot.

Brew ICity Brawler said...


Last I checked, the WI GOP played a significant role in overextending promises and I'm deeply skeptical that Walker would take that on. I'm dubious on the "unfriendly to business" theme given WI has been able to attract/retain a fair number of hits (northern IL businesses are now touting WI, a reverse from Earl vs. Thompson era)in recent months and at what point does "friendly" cross over to giving away the store. Last I checked, Mercury wasn't paying any taxes and still managed to squeeze the state for subsidies. I can't imagine Walker creating a more intelligent policy than Barrett in terms of responsibly attracting business. I can't see him doing a a better job of administration. I can't see -- and I could be persuaded otherwide -- where he would really be a better executive than Barrett.

AnotherTosaVoter said...

BCB, you're right about the GOP's history in this state and their more recent history at the federal level shows they're as trustworthy with the purse as a crackhead.

It's entirely likely I'll change my mind 6 times before November. Barrett definitely has a chance to convince me.

Dad29 said...

Watched Brown's speech last night.

A couple of takeaways--Brown mentioned three things that I recall.

1) ObamaCare. He likes 'healthcare reform' but does NOT like either current proposal. Evidently MA voters agree.

2) Taxes. In MA, that's a natch.

3) Criminal vs. military prosecution of terrorists.

Brown is NOT a Conservative. Yes, Coakley's campaign was awful--she is the Bob Dole of the (D) bunch.

But the Obama/Statist agenda did not play well, period.

Rick Esenberg said...

Except that he expressly made it a referndum on health care. Maybe Massachusetts voters don't want to contribute to a federal plan. Maybe they distinguish between their plan and the Obama plan in some way or perhaps they just don't think we ought to federalize health care. Maybe health care stood in for the abrupt shift to the left under the Obama administration. Maybe they didn't like the way in which the thing was passed.

But its quite clear a GOP candidate won in Massachusetts by, in large part, claiming he would stop ObamaCare and won despite the fact that the President came in and claimed that his agenda was "at stake."

Coakley was an awful candidate but also someone who had won a state wide election. Nobody would have dreamed last month that the GOP would pick up Ted Kennedy's seat. Anonymous commenters can certainly choose to ignore that. I guarantee you that the professionals who run campaigns for Democrats will not.

William Tyroler said...

Might also have been a message beyond rejection of Obamacare: according to the Brown camp, "from our own internal polling, the more potent issue here in Massachusetts was terrorism and the treatment of enemy combatants.” Brown made no secret of his support for enhanced interrogation, waterboarding included, something Mass Dems thought "absolutely ridiculous". At least with respect to current public sentiment, they proved themselves as out of touch on national security as on health care reform.

AnotherTosaVoter said...

To the extent health care played a role, I don't think it was the plan specifically, but rather the long, drawn out process and the recent, odious deals that have had to be made (Louisiana, Nebraska, exempting unions from taxes) that I find valid reasons to vote against it and its supporters as well.

Polling data shows that while the reform is not popular overall, once people are told what the bill actually does, people support it (again, remember our Churchill). The process has gotten so drawn out, and so much misinformation (death panels) is out there, that it's become a fog.

Plus, I think the past few years have made it plainly obvious that more and more people (myself included) simply hate the only two options we have. We vote for the out-of-power option and have all the hacks telling us the option we put into power has some kind of mandate, that it's a revolution in their favor. No, sorry, it's not. We (myself included) generally like divided government. The GOP screwed up so badly there was a Dem tidal wave, and now that's going through a correction.

There is no massive grassroots support for the GOP, the Dems are simply in the position of being the incumbents.

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AnotherTosaVoter said...

Rick, I'm still challenging you to explain what your party is offering right now that has any more thought to it than what my 3 year-old could offer.

As to your "preferred alternative must be right" opinion that Brown's victory was all about sending a message to stop Obamacare,

"According to the new Washington Post poll of Massachusetts voters, between approximately one-third and one-half of Brown’s voters claimed that neither Obama (52%) nor the Democratic agenda (29%) in Washington was a factor in their vote...."

"Looking at what Brown’s voters want him to do with respect to health care, we see that they are divided right down the middle: 50% (47% strongly) do want Brown to work to halt Democratic health care efforts, and 48% (40% strongly) want him to work with Democrats to make changes to their proposals. Half of Brown’s voters want him to sink Obama’s agenda, full stop, and approximately half of them want him to collaborate with Democrats. That is what we might call a mixed message. Looking at Brown voters’ opposition to the health care bill itself, we see that two-thirds of them strongly oppose the bill, which is consistent with what we saw earlier, 14% “somewhat oppose” it and 13% actually support it. 26% of Brown voters believe government should be doing more “to solve problems.” 51% of Brown voters support MassCare. Perhaps most amusing, 52% of Brown voters approved of Ted Kennedy’s job performance."

What happened in Massachusetts is exactly what I said: our electorate is schizophrenic. It wants quick, painless change and thanks to our elected officials, partisan hacks, and a pathetic media, it doesn't understand and cannot deal with a comprehensive, deliberative process required to solve such a complex problem as health care.

We're a nation of fat, lazy idiots who expect instant gratification. Thanks in part to the nihilism of your party and the cowardice of the other, we're basically fucked.

Got any music for that?

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