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19 January 2010



Scott Brown didn't win this election, Martha Coakley lost it. She will probably be taught in political science class for decades to come on exactly what not to do and how not to behave during an election. Martha Coakley was/is extremely well known in MA and its surrounding states and was generally well thought of. BUT...she was infected with the twin evils of hubris and entitlement. This is a woman who lost a double digit poll lead in a couple of months to an unknown.

She refused to campaign until Brown had eroded her lead and used that free time to redefine her to the state. She seemed to think that she was heading for a coronation instead of an election. Yes, the national democratic party can be blamed for not keeping a sharp enough eye on this race until the proverbial house was on fire, but Obama shouldn't even have had to campaign for this.

If the republicans didn't feel emboldened before, well, this just injected them with steriods and jetfuel. You have to give them credit, they ran the country into the ground and the poor house for eight years, but they are still controlling the national debate on pretty much everything and have the democrats begging for mercy. Sigh...I'm getting a drink.


Yes, of course, nothing to see here. This has nothing to do with the lack of enthusiasm among Dems, the way healthcare reform was handled, the Dems giving in on everything and largely depressing their base even in bright blue Massachusetts. It's all Coakley's fault. NOT.

I'm sorry but if you don't think the president SHOULD have campaigned for his 60th vote to block a filibuster for HIS healthcare reform...thats the problem. Obama didnt come in until the last minute because the polls showed Coakley losing and we all know he doesnt stick his neck out for anyone. This should have been an hands on deck from everyone.


So Obama and the Dems can handpick Teddy's replacement and tell the NY governor to stand down for election. But the president cant even be bothered to look into or campaign for his 60th senator to pass health reform?

Alrighty then.

I was very slow to believe them before...but Rod and Pam said it a few times before. 2010 will be a rough ride for LGBTs. Fasten your seat belts.




This whole debacle is way overblown. No message was sent. The people who voted for Brown do not stand with the LGBT community in the first place. Independents don't stand for anything except being on the winning side.

Since the Dems no longer have 60 votes in the Senate, there is no reason to keep Lieberman around. Kick him out of the Dem caucus now. I know, I know. That's wishful thinking.


The White House and congressional Dems will point out that this is evidence that Democrats are too far "to the left" and that voters prefer more conservative candidates. Then they will throw LGBT issues and the whole progressive agenda under the bus.


@ Dalton

Unfortunately, you are more correct than most people. Brown ran on "fiscal responsibility" which is a code phrase for sit pat and don't do anything risky or bold. That's the leading mantra of independents.


I agree with Dalton.

Just wait until you hear the very same message we have heard after every major election since Jimmy Carter lost in 1980:

“The Democrats are too far to the left. They need to move further to the center.”

Translation: The Democrats need to be even more Republican than they already are.

There will be no acknowledgement whatsover by the party leaders that millions of voters are disgusted with the Democrats for having abandoned what those millions had thought were the Democrats’ principles. (Yes, those millions were deluded, but that’s another subject.)

There are the two political parties in the United States. One is right wing, and the other is neo-Nazi. You can take your pick. (Or you can vote third party.)


The much hoped for LGBT friendly legislation that was promised by Obama and everybody has been pushing and screaming for and have not been delivered, will now almost certainly not get passed unless Obama has a rabbit up his sleave.

I also predict that he will be a one term president. How sad that all that hope has faded to nothing in such a short period. I hope Obama proves me wrong but lets just say I'm not going to hold my breath.

From the start he never really did get the urgency and now much is lost. Lets see how far his bipartisanship gets him now. So far its been nowhere...


@ Dalton

Very true


This does NOT bode well for 2010. If Obama would have put Congress' feet to the fire and made them pass healthcare this past summer this would not be an issue, but now health care, the environment, energy, transportation, everything will grind to a halt because the Repubs would rather do nothing than give Obama anything...

Obama better very quickly call Bill Clinton for some lessons on how to deal with a rabid Repub Congress if he wants to keep his job in 2012. The gloves have to come off and the fighting has to stop. The Obama leadership style must change starting today-- it's a whole new ballgame and it will be a VERY bumpy ride from here on out.


Boomers are former middle class hippies. Hippies were nihilists who lived off their parents and signed up for every government program in order to get ‘The Man.’ The media, politicians and our children should not be surprised by the self centered, selfish “I got my government healthcare!” but anti-government attitude of the middle aged Massachusetts Tea Party(ish) voters.
Welcome to Boomer Nation.


Martha Coakley bungled this badly- this had less to do with Obama, and more to do with typical mid-term voter response, and Scott Brown was able to capitalize on the sentiment that this was a done deal. Ask yourself- would you voted for Martha Coakley if she didn't work for it as hard as Brown did? Kudos to him for making it happen, and boos to the National and Massachusetts Democrats who took this for granted.

Coakley being a bad candidate seems to be a trend: NJ gov John Corzine, and State Sen Criegh Deeds were also poor candidates, all three could not make the connection to the voters and make their case.

There was a lot at stake, and Coakley dropped the ball.


“Obama better very quickly call Bill Clinton for some lessons on how to deal with a rabid Repub Congress..."

Clinton’s method of “dealing” with the Republicans was doing what they wanted in the first place— against the will of many or most of his own party.

Examples:NAFTA, Welfare “reform”, Criminal “reform”, Repealing Glass-Steagall, Telecommunications deregulation act, DOMA.

Is that what you want?


(In the list above, “Telecommunications” should just have been “Communications.” This is the bill that allowed further conglomeration of mass media.)

Rod Mc

@ Mjolnir, Ravenback, Bill:

I disagree and have said so for months. There is a serious enthusiasm gap among between Democrats and the Republicans. It's been quite evident for some time and the health care fiasco (=favorable terms to PhRMA, insurance friendly regs, dropping public option and Medicare, ignoring House Dems) only made it worse.

At almost every opportunity, Obama and Congressional Democrats repeatedly throw the base under the bus. Obama had a mandate and healthy majorities in both houses. He spurned it by being cautious, reaching out to Republicans who are not supporting him and alienating the people who elected him. Then they expect the base to come out in special elections and midterms to protect their majorities. That is not base politics.

Contrast that with Republicans who are driven by base politics. Maybe they understand little else, but they know how to toss bones to their faithful.

You can continue into denial and blame everything on Martha Coakley. True, she wasn't the best candidate. But even a moderately enthusiastic Democratic candidate in freakin Massachusetts SHOULD be able to beat a hard right, anti-gay conservative Republican.

The bottom line: Democrats didn't turn out, the base didn't turn out. And the base aren't the millenials and the independents that nominated Obama, the base are the voters who can be counted on to work the phones and vote in most primaries. What has the state or national party done for them?

And I'm going to have to say this again: Health care has sucked all the oxygen out of the room. We should have moved on ENDA when we had the willpower and Obama had the political capital. Instead, many of you gave cover to the president and Democrats by insisting "we do HCR first" which was shorthand for "do nothing on gay rights". Now it looks like we probably won't get HCR and it's very unlikely we will get ENDA this Congress ... or maybe this term -RM

S. Flemming

My two cents ...I think there's plenty of blame to spread around, but the bulk is with Obama and the White House. Right from the start, he overestimated the potential of a successful bipartisan approach and underestimated the opposition he'd face both from elected officials and the public. Had he put his foot on their necks months ago and made it clear that he was going to get key things done with or without them, he wouldn't be in this mess. I didn't like Bush, but one thing I can say about him is he did what he did and stuck by it ... no matter how crazy it was. Obama has to become a stronger leader and assert himself or he'll continue to stumble. This election was most certainly a declarative statement on where he stands nationally ... don't get it twisted. I know all of the Kennedys are rolling over in their graves. This never should have happened.


@ Jim

Clinton got something, and that's far more than what Obama is going to get until the midterms, when I predict he will get even less. And this is despite his deep desire to give them something. He played Clinton when he didn't have to, now he has to. Also, you forget that Clinton was willing to shut the government down before caving in to all of the crazy Repub demands. Will Obama show that sort of backbone against these tea party crazies? Given history, I doubt it very much.

I agree with Rod that Obama wasted his time in trying to reach out to Repubs when he didn't have to. He could not light a fire under his own Congress to get them to act swiftly, and he made a mistake in letting Congress sort out health care reform all on its own (which resulted in confusion, another layer of backroom deals, and a drawn out process that took attention away from the economy). He HAS NO CHOICE but to deal with Repubs now, so he needs to get Clinton on the phone to think about how to get a few on board and when to dig in his heels.

D. Askew

This isn't a shock. Obama, Rahmbo, Axelrod, and their congressional henchmen have spent the past year throwing gays under the bus, breaking campaign promises all over the place, selling out to private insurance companies, continuing Bush's warmongering, squandering their super-majority, bending over and taking it straight up the ass from people like Joe Lieberman(before thanking them and asking for more), all the while demonizing the far left base of the party, writing us off as "irrelevant" whiners and labeling us a loud minority within the party. Then in the past few weeks they've been sending out a SOS to get the hard left to swoop in and pull their asses out the fire. And surprise, surprise it didn't work. I guess liberals aren't so irrelevant to the party after all…

Have fun in November guys.

Derrick from Philly

"The bottom line: Democrats didn't turn out, the base didn't turn out. And the base aren't the millenials and the independents that nominated Obama"

Rod, your statement is absolutely true. But could your statement be the absolute truth of what faces any Democrat who makes it to the White House? The Democratic "Base" cannot elect a liberal president who stays liberal, and so Democratic Presidents try to please Independents and Moderates. I saw it with Clinton and I saw with Carter...hell, you even see it with Democrats running for president: after tney get the nomination they turn to the center.

How do you handle a Blue Dog Democrat? What do you threaten them with (Webb of Virginia or Nelson or Nebraska)? Or do you bribe them (Mary Landrieu of Louisiana)? If you've got 7 or 8 Democratic senators who you cannot count on isn't it essential to compromise? As distasteful as that is to the Democratic Base, isn't that what Democratic Presidents do?

Baby Bush didn't have to worry about Democratic filibusters--you couldn't get 41 Democratic senators to stick together to stop his agenda... a Blue Dawg is unreliable, remember?

The United States is a conservative country. Even those who come from the ranks of the poor turn conservative when they join the middle-clss.

It's ironic: President Clinton's comment before the South Carolina Democratic Primary back in '08 is what turned me into an "Obamabot" (which I'll always be) "This is a fairytale" said the former president about the Obama phenomenon.

Well, Bill was right (I hate to admit it, I mean, real hate, baby): Americans lied in November 2008. They do not want Barack Obama--even when he moves to the political center to please them. They do want him. They are a selfish, greedy & dishonest people. I almost loved America on Election Night 2008...how naive I was. Yeah, it's been a fairy tale.

But SlimJim can still give this member of the "Democratic Base" what I want: federal judges. Federal judges: those are the bones that are usually given to the liberal wing of the party by Demcoratic Presidents. I hope...pray he won't let Blue Dawgs get in his way on that promise.

And, yes, last night, Massachusetts was a very bitter pill to swollow for this "Obamabot".


Rod, I am hardly a water carrier for Obama or the Democrats and my prior posts on this site should prove that. I was simply stating just how operatically terrible a candidate Martha Coakley was. As I wrote in a post that didn't load, the woman wouldn't even campaign for her own election until it was too late. Simply refused. Since her primary win, she had 19 events, Brown had 66 and drove his pickup truck all over the state banging on every door and nursing the anger of voters all along the way. He understood that the election would be won in the suburbs,exurbs and small towns of MA, not Boston and the cities, where Coakley trounced him. Though the turnout was about 30% in Boston, average for a special election, Brown nursed a base away from the cities and turned them out in droves.

This has nothing to with negating your basic and clear cut argument about about Obama and the national Democratic party. You are 120% correct. Tim Kaine should be looking for another job today. It's been shaky for the democratic party in MA for awhile now, scandals, etc. Plus, Deval Patrick the governor is pretty much despised by everyone, starting with Democrats. If he gets re-elected, sorcery was involved.

And, don't forget that MA residents have voted in two Republicans governors in recent history, William Weld AND Mitt Romney, who oversaw Universal Healthcare in MA. Yes, the ironies keep coming. The state that was pissed off about national health care reform enjoys universal coverage, then elects a guy to go to Washington to kill it for everyone else.

I'm not picking bones,Rod, and as I've said, you've articulated the Democrats' problems succinctly. Sadly, there's nothing new there. They've always hated their base and buy into the conventional wisdom that you must alienate them in order to win the country. The fact that this is proven false by the Republicans never set in. It's already becoming gospel today that the only way for the Democrats to survive in November is to further alienate their core constinuency, left wing bloggers and the netroots in general. Pure Madness, but that's the Democratic Party. I fear that Obama lacks the fire, courage or audacity to fight back. Even now Axelrod and Emannuel are negotiating the terms of surrender.


@ Rod Mc

Sorry Rod, but you are wrong about my position. I have never been a water carrier for Obama. I have always been a pragmatist and tend to state things very bluntly and to the point. I clearly voted for Obama because I didn't want McCain in the White House. And I will clearly state that I will vote for him again in 2012 because I don't want a Republican in the White House. I wanted both HCR and an end to DADT, passage of ENDA, and the end of DOMA. The point I clearly made in my earlier posts was that when the Dems are pushed from the right, they tend to move towards the center. Ever since the 80s when Reagan came to power, that has been the case. And President Clinton, the poster child of the DLC, was case and point. He was responsible for DOMA and DADT. And we are still saddled with those disgusting policies to this very day.

I have on more than one occasion stated that when you build a majority by bringing in conservadems to put you over the top, this is the type of leadership that you get in return. If the majority of the country is liberal or progressive, then you wouldn't have all of the moderates and conservatives that poison the Democratic Party. Let's face it. This is the country -- confused and misguided. This country consistently votes against its best interests because the Repubs successfully use fear and anxiety to get its way. And the American people respond like puppets on a string. Fear is used to get people to sign away their freedoms and principles all in the name of security and safety. Most polling shows that a majority of Americans approve of torture to get information from suspects about potential terrorist attacks. Most polling show that Americans are against the closing of GITMO because it keeps the terrorists from being on American soil. Those are facts and realities. And anxiety is tapped into by Repubs to get Americans to turn against new social agendas because they loathe new taxation and huge deficits. I believe "fiscal responsibility" is the code word.

The American people get exactly what they deserve because they vote for a hodge-podge of politicians that prevent a clear sense of direction and purpose out of our leadership. This is America. What we see is who we are. Instead of everybody blaming someone else for their problems, maybe it's time for us to look in the mirror.

I agree with you Rod on most things, and you do an excellent job in your reporting of the issues of the day, month, a year. But please do not misrepresent my views like you did in your post. My views are my views. I am not allied with anyone else's views on this blog. I will continue to voice my views around here, and I will correct someone if they misrepresent what I have said.

Rod Mc

@Dalton: Preach on brotha. You may sadly be correct.

@ MJOLNIR202: Totally agree w/ everything you said. And I'm not sure why that other comment didn't go thru...length? language? I'll check it out.

@ Ravenback: Your name was added by mistake and I'd like to apologize. You have said numerous times the problems of governing w/ conservative Dems and I agree. But since we're talking about it, iirc on more than one occasion you suggested the White House should "jettison" the public option and repeated the Admin's "we can't move on something until we have 60 votes" talking point. Maybe that's "pragmatism".

"When the Dems are pushed from the right, they tend to move towards the center."

The problem is the framing. The majority of Americans want health care reform or a public option. Those are "centrist" issues framed as "left wing" so the White House and its cheerleaders say "we need to move to the center" which actually becomes a "right" position. Same thing on FISA and surveillance; the majority of Americans are against warrantless surveillance but the GOP framed it as "left wing" so we think we're "moving to the center" when we're actually taking a right wing position.

Torture is against the law and its also something most Dems, and Obama, opposed under Bush. We flipped on all these things (aka "moving to the center") and it shows a lack of principle and a desire to compromise on anything. This is why the base doesn't trust Obama and the Dems. It's more why I don't trust then on LGBT rights. Bush might compromise on some things but was always identified with the base. Obama's claim to fame has always been throwing the base under the bus.

Ravenback, I've always respected and admire your comments, but I do want to call your attention to DADT and DOMA. We can work on DADT now and get the President and Dems to move on it... or keep talking about the anti-gay climate that it passed in almost 20 yrs ago. As far as DOMA is concerned, it passed with some 80% of the House and Senate (incl VP Biden, whom many seem to forget). That's the last law I want to defend, but was there any upside in 1996 to Clinton opposing DOMA with 80% of the Congress behind it? The hate crimes law that was proposed in his final term...only finally passed a few months ago.


@ Rod Mc

I accept your apology, but I don't have any beef with you and I hope that you didn't take it in that way.

Frankly, I don't recall ever saying that the public option should be jettisoned. If I did, then I'll own up to it. I have also said that the Dems don't have the balls to pass anything substantive because they give in too easily. They worry too much about how the Repubs will frame the issue. And in reference to 60 votes, I have also stated that the filibuster must be done away with as well as the holds that a senator can place on nominations. I am a firm believer in majority rule. I believe that a couple of people around here have taken issue with that position because they feel that it would allow Repubs to ram objectionable legislation through. I say let the chips fall where they may. At least the system would be more honest and straightforward and less gimmicky.

I agree 100% with your views on DADT and DOMA. I only brought up Clinton's culpability in those policies to make a point of how Dems cave to the pressure from the right. Clinton could have made Congress override his veto on DOMA. But he chose to capitulate even if he knew that those policies were wrong.

And you are absolutely correct about Obama throwing the base under the bus. But this is a trait shared by most Dem politicians. Until we get politicians who are willing to be one-term pols, they will always rationalize and compromise their views for the sake of getting re-elected. And yes, Bush was true to his base, but isn't that such a low bar to refer to. It's easy to not rock the boat when you settle on the lowest common denominator. Make the country safer and cut people's taxes. Very simple and straightforward. But neither one of those things are bold or uplifting.

Xavier Deron

"Johnson's resounding election in 1964 was accompanied by the election, or re-election, of 28 Democratic senators and 295 Democratic representatives. The heavily Democratic make-up of the 89th Congress prompted some observers to claim that the U.S. now had a "one-and-a-half party system." Johnson would take full advantage of this lopsided alignment to push for his ambitious Great Society programs."


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