Alex Blaze

Coakley/Brown, the day after

Filed By Alex Blaze | January 20, 2010 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: election campaigns, jon stewart, Martha Coakley, Massachusetts, scott brown, tea baggers, the daily show, voters

Jon Stewart goes over just some of the incompetence from the Coakley campaign. Did you know she went on vacation just a couple weeks before the election? Or that Scott Brown held more three times the number of public events than Coakley did?

There are three dominant explanations for Coakley's loss right now:

  1. Voters were tired of socialism/big government/health care/liberalism/tax increases so they voted for the right-winger.
  2. Martha Coakley was an incompetent campaigner, the DNC didn't help, and Scott Brown ran a good campaign.
  3. The base was depressed because Obama and national Democrats haven't delivered on their campaign promises.

We won't know the truth, because to know it would require us to conduct exit polls of people who didn't show up to the election because the people who stayed home made a decision that affected the outcome of this election, too. Plus most people probably don't know themselves exactly what made them vote a certain way or not vote at all.

I suspect there are a few voters who'd actually be in several of the categories at once: they know something is still wrong, that the economy isn't improving and the banksters are still getting away with what they were doing before, so they voted for the person who had a more coherent message, even if that message was all about deficits. Brown was speaking to people's populist anger ("the people's seat," etc.) and, even though his solutions to the current recession won't work, at least he sounded like he'd address the problem.

But the dominant narrative in the end it most likely to be the first, at least among the political establishment. Congressional Democrats and the White House would do well to just ignore it and try to learn the real lessons of this election, but I doubt they will. A real-live tea bagger just won a Senate race in Massachusetts! Run to the right for your lives!

Oh, and I think it's obvious that Brown will be on shaky ground in 2012. Who should Massachusetts Democrats run against him?

Update: Add a #4 to that list, racism and sexism:

Donny Deutsch led off. "It's interesting, we've obviously had our first African-American president, we've had the female candidates and whatnot," Deutsch opined. "You look at him, and he looks like the real candidate, the traditional candidate. And is there a visceral comfort in that to people? I'm just curious." You tell us, Donny.

Mike Barnicle threw in his trademark sexism: "He looks like the high school football coach, who everybody knows, and he's running against the substitute teacher who takes no interest in her classroom students." (Yes, just the way Hillary Clinton reminded every man of his first wife. Stay classy, Mike Barnicle!) Peggy Noonan greeted that with a loopy "Ha ha ha ha!" I kid you not, watch below.

Then Noonan let loose: "There's something else going on. He's a sort of a new sort of a Republican. Old style was a Boston Brahmin liberal Republican ... This is something new now: He's a regular guy, looks like an American, from the middle or self-made into a middle-, upper-middle-class guy. We're seeing an evolution of what a Republican is now." [...]

But something else is also true: Scott Brown is riding a wave of discomfort with big change in our society and in Washington -- not only with big government, but with exactly who runs big government. The influence of the tea partiers and the GOP fringe on Brown's success can't be overstated. In the Washington Independent David Weigel quoted a phone-banker who had a dreamy Brown supporter tell her the GOP insurgent was "the white Obama." Ah, so that's what we need, a white Obama?

As Noonan, Deutsch and Barnicle went on and on about Brown's appeal as a "traditional candidate" and high school football coach, I couldn't help thinking about his centerfold in Cosmopolitan. Now, I like beefcake as much as the next gal, and I'm happy to let the GOP be the party of sexual Puritanism. I still have to say: No female candidate would ever survive a race for Senate with a photo spread like that in her past. It's unthinkable. The double standard is appalling.

But then it's always been clear there are different standards for a guy who "looks like an American."

Although I doubt that'll gain much traction. The big political media participate in casual racism and sexism, they don't critique it.

Update II: More evidence of confusion from voters in this election:


by 3 to 2 among Obama voters who voted for Brown
by 6 to 1 among Obama voters who stayed home
(18% of Obama supporters who voted supported Brown.)


82% of Obama voters who voted for Brown
86% of Obama voters who stayed home


57% of Brown voters say Obama "not delivering enough" on change he promised
49% to 37% among voters who stayed home

It's hard to get a real feel for candidates in a month, especially when one isn't campaigning that much. Hopefully this message will get to the people who need to hear it.

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I think the voters saw Brown as more authentic than Coakley. I don't think it ever became about ideas or ideology. It wasn't about Liberal or Conservative, either. It was about who is more believable.

The same thing happened when Obama was elected - we believed him. Today, we believe him less. Tomorrow ... we'll see.

I agree that ideology probably didn't play a big role here in reality. Some of those voters' comments.... sheesh.

After the election of Obama and that glorious moment for America (and the world), we allowed ourselves to forget how stupid the masses can be, how easily duped they are into voting against their own best interest. After all, four short years earlier the same people shocked the world by electing Bush, again.

Massachusetts taking a big squishy dump on the memory of Ted Kennedy (who won't even spin in his grave this morning, being just too disgusted to bother) and all he stood for, is a wake up call that the people who formed most of the McCain/Palin crowd (which morphed into the Tea Party crowd) is winning the minds of the people with their fast and loose use of the truth.

With all the blather (and lies) over Obamacare socialism, the Sheepal have forgotten it was the Republicans who drove us into this ditch.

But like you, I'm not blaiming the Sheepal so much. It's the damn spineless Democrats. And Lieberman, goddamn! Someone needs to throw him under the first bus smokin'.

Thanx for sharing this, and allowing me to vent ....

T. Siluwe : After your own unacceptable (and dangerous) positions during the Duke lacrosse rape hoax, you shouldn't be referring to anyone else as Sheepal. Just accept that the very smart people of Massachusetts have chosen for themselves.

Still stalking me, you lunatic? Still got that same ol' tired bug up your bum? LOL

How sad and pathetic your life must be to find me so ceaselessly fascinating. I'm actually flattered ... just a little.

Face it. Conservatism is marketed better, progressive is a suspicion generating word, and liberal means that "I pay higher taxes so illegals can sit in this country and not work."


But they sell...

Chitown Kev | January 20, 2010 4:19 PM

I've seen lots of polls conducted before the election, particularly the PPP poll conducted on Sunday.

What was striking was that 57% of the respondents believed that Scott Brown was conservative. So the majority of the electorate seems not to have been fooled by his politics.

They just weren't that into Martha, period, it seems. At least that's much of what I got out of the PPP poll.

To say that Coakley didn't campaign is perhaps giving her too much credit.

Starting with a 58% - 27% lead in the middle of November 09, she lost by almost 5% on Jan 19.

The Dems just didn't think "Kennedy's seat" would go to a Republican.

In fact, Brown got off one of his best (and most repeated) one-liners when he replied to the 'Kennedy's seat' idea by remarking "it's not Kennedy's seat, it's the people's seat..."

Coakley, on the other hand, was noted for making remarks such as 'you don't expect me to stay here and shake hands out in the cold and rain, do you?'

I voted for Coakley, and still thinik she would have made a really good senator.

But she didn't just run a bad campaign, she ran a lousy campaign.

And, no, I don't think sexism (nor racism) played any real part in this race.

Again, in November she was leading 58-27%. After beating 3 men in the Democratic primary.

And Obama is still popular with the majority of Mass voters.

Brown was able to moderate his stance, to come across as more in touch with people's anxieties and fears, and he went out and met the people.

He worked for the job, he really wanted to be elected.

As my husband (who strongly supported Coakley, and did not want to see Brown win) said - "Coakley deserved to lose."

Comments re: 'sheepal' or allegations of racism and/or sexism are insulting, and only demean the ones making the claims.

I didn't want Brown to win, but I understand why he did.


You've made a great assessment of the situation, and from ground zero at that. I won't argue.

I never thought it was sexism or racism, but my 'sheepal' comment stands. But don't take it as a dig at Mass. per se, it's more of a general human thing. And I also believe Mass. putting the Republican in, even though Coakley ran a horrid campaign, was a 'sheepal'-like move if there ever was one. How quickly we forget who was behind the wheel when we ran off the road.

However, hopefully, this will work out for the best, giving the Democrats the kick in the balls they so desperately deserve.