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Martha’s Mistakes

Picture 58 Not one to comment on broader political issues but just can’t help myself today after awakening to the news that Kennedy’s Senate seat has gone to the Republican upstart Scott Brown.  Whatever happened to carrying on Kennedy’s legacy for healthcare reform, something Martha Coakley vowed to support and Brown vowed to defeat? Has Massachusetts really gone Red (or just a lighter shade of Blue)?

Reflecting on my own thoughts and vote for Martha, have come up with the following missteps of Martha’s that ultimately led to her losing what was considered a sure thing, Kennedy’s seat in Congress.

1) Assuming the cat is in the bag. Skating to an overwhelming victory in the Democratic primary, Martha naturally assumed that Kennedy’s seat was her’s for the taking.  Sure, the Republicans would put someone on their ticket, a sacrificial lamb, but a serious contender, no.  Surprise, surprise.  Yes, the Republicans put forward a relatively unknown State Senator from a small community, but this unknown Scott Brown proved to be an extremely engaging and aggressive politician.  By the time Martha’s political machine realized that they had a serious challenger on their hands, it was too late, his momentum too great.

2) Forgetting Tip O’Neill’s most famous quote, “all politics are local”: Martha’s stump speeches spoke often of carrying on the agenda for change that brought Obama to office.  That resonated well with the Democratic faithful (and Democratic leadership) but like the rest of the nation, Massachusetts voters are increasingly independent, siding with neither party, instead looking for a candidate that will be their voice in Washington fighting for their specific needs and concerns.  Martha’s “voice” was not her own, was not that of the Massachusetts electorate, but that of a political machine which is increasingly being viewed as detached from the current reality of most citizens in the nation, Massachusetts included.

3) Failure to engage and capture the imagination: What can I say, listening to Martha speak was about as exciting as watching spring thaw of a frozen New England pond.  As much as I can not stand the majority of Brown’s positions (against healthcare reform, still thinks climate change is not anthropomorphically induced, likes to use the terrorism scare tactics of the Bush era, etc.) I have to admit, he was an engaging and dynamic speaker.

This vote is not necessarily a vote against Obama and his policies, despite such pronunciations in numerous right of center publications.  No, this was a local election about local issues.  The candidate that won was the one who was most successful in taking the pulse of the local electorate, empathize with their concerns and reflect back to them that he understands and will do something about it.

Now it is Washington’s turn to get out of their stretch limos and connect to the local populace and begin addressing some of the very real issues and needs of the body politic or risk losing more than the passage of a Bill before Congress.

John Moore is an IT Analyst at Chilmark Research, where this post was first published.

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12 replies »

  1. ExhaustedMD,
    Though I frequently do not agree with her, believe Peggy Noonan to be one of the finest, if not best writer today on US politics. I read her each week and she always has me thinking/reconsidering my own positions.
    And as for her creeps and nuts column, in full agreement.

  2. If Ted Kennedy was still alive and ran under a campaign of “Same Old Stool”, ie keep on crapping on the constituents, and won by a sizeable margin, then all it says about the voters in Massachusetts is they deserve the representation they elect. Sorry, it is nothing less than shameful that people think being in elected office is a lifetime profession, when that was NOT the intention of this process called democracy. And now, there is all this alleged outrage and demand for accountability. Well, Americans, if you truly believe and embrace these feelings and truths, then it is your duty to deny ALL incumbents beyond 12 years of term any further time in office, irregardless of party affiliation. That is the message that would be strongly heard and received by Democrats and Republicans.
    As Peggy Noonan so wisely wrote in her column in Jan 22’s WSJ: it is time to deal with the Democrat “Nuts” and the Republican “Creeps”. ‘Cause that is what this two party system has degenerated to. Nuts and Creeps!

  3. John@Chilmark,
    Fine and good. Just don’t tell me government or anyone else can monetize carbon and sell indulgences. It is a scam.

  4. Red RedSoxFan,
    With a deep scientific background in planetary sciences (Physical Oceanography), a number of years at MIT, many more in the environmental sciences (analytical chem), I do know of what I speak when it comes to anthropogenic climate change. Note, I do not say global warming as you have done for frankly we still do not know how the global heat engine (ocean) will ultimately respond to all of the greenhouse gases we are pumping into the atmosphere at an ever increasing rate.
    Suggest you take a closer look at the research on the close correlation of climate/atmospheric temp fluctuations as a function of greenhouse gas concentrations in atmosphere – quite a bit of research from the study of the ice cores in Greenland.
    And at the end of the day, is it not wise of us as a species to simply act in a more conservative fashion then we have in the past and be stewards of this precious planet rather then acting like selfish pigs and spoiling its beauty for those who follow, our children?

  5. The actual vote (i.e., excluding the rampant fraud endemic to MA machine politics) was probably a landslide in favor of Brown. Anyone who is even remotely familiar with how Joe Kennedy, Sr. originally got into power and how he got his son Jack elected US Senator, then President, knows what I’m talking about. Fortunately, America is finally starting to wake up a little. We may have even delayed the inevitable collapse of this country a few years with this election. However, it is only a small temporary victory for freedom and against tyranny. Brown is definitely a “moderate” to somewhat “liberal” Repub, as noted above. He has been making blatant overtures to win over more Dems in MA. Remember that the seat is up again in 2012. His re-election campaign has already begun.
    Anthropomorphic GW? It is astonishing how so many people who otherwise seem to be at least half-intelligent have swallowed this propaganda wholesale. At best, the science is totally unsettled. Not that pollution is good (it isn’t) or recycling is bad (it’s good), but the objective evidence is, on balance, in favor of no discernible anthropomorphic effect. The so-called intelligentsia need to learn to remain skeptical on all matters even if a skeptical position is unfashionable among their circle. Like every other field, climatology is full of complete frauds and politics. There has been nothing short of vile political persecution of any rational scientist who dares raise questions or doubts about the “accepted” positions espoused by Gore, IPCC, et al. It may take a couple of decades, but the truth will eventually be brought to light regarding the rampant fraud that is being perpetrated by the AGW players. Bernie Madoff will look like Mother Teresa in comparison by the time everything is exposed. (Hopefully, we will not have devolved into a third world banana republic by then…)

  6. SHE GOT WHUPPED, BADLY
    After Slick Willie’s crew got hammered in 1994, he at least had a grip on reality and said “we got our butts whipped.”
    Senator-for-Life Kennedy would have won? Look at all the incumbents leaving, like rats from a sinking ship. They know 2010 is going to be a blood-bath for DEADWOOD incumbents. And SWIMMER was deadwood — ask Mary Jo Kopecne’s family.
    What part of WE’RE BROKE don’t you STEAL-O-CRATS get?
    You’ll STEAL more tax money over my cold dead body.

  7. The rabid lefties can’t allow themselves to think the country, including Massachusetts, did not embrace the Reid Pelosi Obama vision of America. A confused leftie is a joy forever.

  8. Did the industry pull off the master stroke by paying Martha to lose?
    While here we are discussing vague theories which we believe in regardless of the event.

  9. Anyone who couldn’t spell Massachusetts, thought there were no terrorists in Afghanistan, and believed that Curt “Bloody Sock” Schilling was a Yankee fan didn’t deserve consideration for the US Senate.

  10. I agree also. I’m not really sure this is a “tide changing” event either. If Teddy Kennedy was running, we all know he would have won. If so, what happened to all the angry voters?
    Another example of your point is that Scott Brown was in many of his TV ads. Martha was in very few of her ads. She thought it was in the bag just like the primary. She was wrong, and now look at the consequences. However after some time, my hope is that we’ll find our way thru the forest. Atlantic’s web site has an article claiming that Brown may be the most liberal Republican. More than Olympia Snowe.

  11. Well said. I think #1 was enough to derail her campaign; she started campaigning so late, that by the time the polls showed she was in jeopardy of losing, it was too late for her to turn things around.

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