Red Mass./Blue Mass.January 20, 2010Jon Brooks 1 Comment »
First, from Red Mass Group, a site “founded to revitalize the right-wing community in Massachusetts.”
A month ago they mocked you. Three weeks ago you were a mild inconvenience. Two weeks ago you were a irritating rash. One week ago you became a migraine of epic proportions. Yesterday you reminded them it is you, not they, who are the master. You are the people and this victory is yours.
This weekend I traveled from D.C. to Massachusetts on a bus filled with 55 young people who gave up their holiday weekends to volunteer for Scott Brown. We left after work on Friday, drove through the night, and arrived Saturday morning. After about an hour’s rest, we hit the phones and streets to started Getting Out The Vote. Motivated by slogans such as “Freezin’ for a Reason,” “Gettin’ down for Scott Brown,” and “Salvation for the Nation,” our group of dedicated volunteers tirelessly worked for 3 days campaigning for the man who could be the 41st vote against Obamacare and a host of other items on the Democratic agenda.
Though Massachusetts is not accustomed to closely contested elections, the GOTV machine on the ground was well-run. Driven by raw enthusiasm and contagious energy, volunteers and staff pounded out phone calls, held signs in the bitter cold, and walked neighborhoods in the snow. The response from the Massachusetts voters was incredible. They were so excited to express their support for Scott, honked their horns when they saw our Brown signs and sweatshirts, and thanked us for volunteering our time. In all my years of grassroots campaign involvement, I have never felt such palpable excitement from the voters – and I never would have expected it in Massachusetts, where I spent four years in college. To see
how it has changed is surreal.
This race shows that the frustration and buyer’s remorse Americans are feeling around the country is permeating even the bluest states. The rise of Scott Brown shows Republicans how to capitalize on this feeling of discontent with Democrats and their agenda – by running a positive campaign based on solid policy ideas, by utilizing new technologies and old-fashioned grassroots voter outreach, and by staying focused on the fiscal issues that unite us and appeal to voters of all stripes.
Over one year ago President Barack Obama was sworn in as president and today, in what many considered to be a referendum on his presidency and his landmark healthcare plan, he suffered a major defeat. In a major upset State Senator Scott Brown defeated Attorney General Martha Coakley in the special election to fill the US Senate seat held by the late Ted Kennedy. Brown, who at one time was trailing by 31%, has successfully completed one of the most long shot campaigns in the history of Massachusetts politics.
Brown’s victory is almost a guarantee that Obama’s signature health care reform package is dead. When he replaces Paul Kirk as the interim senator he will be the 41st vote that Republicans so desperately coveted because it disarms the Democratic supermajority. When he is seated will be a major issue in the coming weeks…
Coakley called Brown at 9:20pm to concede the race after returns from the major municipalities were high for her but they were not enough to counter Brown’s domination of the suburbs, central Massachusetts and both Shores. Coakley managed to win almost 70% of the vote in Boston and 61% of the vote in Springfield but she struggled to hang on in Worcester with 52% and lost Lowell. She needed to hang on to all four cities in order to win and she failed to do that.
“I’m Scott Brown, I’m from Wrentham and I drive a truck.”
And now, from Blue Mass Group, which provides “reality-based commentary on politics and policy in Massachusetts and around the nation,” and where the mood is a little grim.
OK, here it is, in as simple-as-possible terms, why people in MA turned against the national health care bill to such an extent that they elected Scott Brown.
1. They don’t disagree with the sentiment that all people should be covered. Brown even touted his vote for the MA 2006 law. It’s so popular here that you can’t really run against it. (That infamous Rasmussen poll is an outlier; more representative of the general shape of the polling is here: 58% support.
2. The Democrats+Joe dithered, dickered, bickered and whinged for months. The basic point of getting millions of people covered gets obscured in the admittedly complex details, and controversies real and imagined.
3. The moderates drag it out, demand concessions that are broadly unpopular. The public option is jettisoned. No Medicare buy-in. And then the last straw is Nelson’s outrageous pound of flesh, the spectacularly unfair Nebraska Medicaid Haul.
Now, someone who has an ideological commitment to universal health care can overlook all that, as so much garbage you have to climb over to see the horizon. Me, I look at 30 million people getting health care, and I can overlook a lot.
But I can definitely imagine how one who doesn’t share an ideological passion (or who isn’t exposed to such, as Ted Kennedy would do) would start to smell a rat. Or, more aptly, the sausage going bad.
Just something to keep in mind.
I was one of the first to congratulate Scott Brown and his supporters for their victory yesterday, and I still do today. It was a very impressive showing, and they should be proud of the victory.
But it was not an upbeat campaign. True, Brown himself did not run negative ads like the “you will be raped in a parking lot if you vote for Deval” piece that backfired so badly on previous Republican candidate Kerry Healey, although he did go mildly negative.
He just got smart and realized that he didn’t have to descend to that level himself. Talk radio, the Fox Republican Channel, and the teabagger army that descended on this state from New Hampshire, Virginia, and elsewhere did it for him. From death threats and horrific statements on Facebook to 24/7 radio vitriol, there was an ugly side to the Brown campaign. To his credit, Brown initially spoke out against some of this, but toward the end, he accepted the ugliness. This video is an example. Not especially important in itself, but an important indicator. In any event, only 97,000 people saw this on YouTube: a tiny fraction of the over two million people who voted, even if all the viewers were from Massachusetts and voted, which certainly is not the case.
..if anyone is interested…
* I will never vote for Martha Coakley again, for anything.
* I was at Deval Patrick’s victory rally at the Hynes in ’06 and remember hearing speeches from all the big Dems. Martha’s AG victory speech was flat, dull and could not end fast enough – Dems should have remembered that. Brown, although far from a polished, top-notch political orator, is the far more likable candidate.
* Coakley’s ad strategy sucked. She would run two ads that said “Scott Brown will defeat health care in Washington”, then on the same channel Scott Brown would follow her with two ads that say “Scott Brown will defeat health care in Washington”. Genius!
* Brown, in general, was a class act. He ran classy ads and had a classy victory speech (with a few notable exceptions). People respond to class (see Obama, Barack: 2008)
* Democrats are sucking in Washington right now. They’ve sucked for a long time. I’m beginning to suspect that Scott Brown’s victory is irrelevant to my future because p***y Democrats were just gonna cave and give away the house anyway. I’m not saying that I would passively accept an influx of Republicans into congress, I’m just saying that I am not getting too worked up over one Senate seat. Even if it used to be held by Ted Kennedy.
* I am an unenrolled voter with liberal and progressive values. I have in the past flirted with the idea of registering Democrat. And I do understand and respect the argument that I can’t improve and impact the Democratic Party from the outside and that my participation is needed to make the party more progressive and such. But how do you all keep dealing with the disappointment? The party leadership in Washington is awful. Reid is repulsively bad. Pelosi needs much improvement, to say the least. Dean was replaced with Kaine. Health care was gutted. Little if any progress has been made over the past year. And then we, the left, blow the election to fill Ted Kennedy’s vacant Senate Seat. Why would someone like me ever want to identify myself as an enrolled Democrat?