“And the lights went out in
First: Voter Excitement. The Republicans clearly had the excitement level in this race. One of the many under-appreciated truisms of politics is that races aren’t necessarily won by convincing the other side to switch their vote or even get the undecided voters to break their way. It’s won by getting YOUR voters to the polls and the other side failing to do that. In a sentence, that’s what happened here. Clearly, Republicans and more conservative independents were fired up about the opportunity to send a message regarding what’s been happening nationally over the last year. They are fed up with the federal government’s spending and the health care bill became the prime example of it. In the meantime, the Democrats were NOT excited about Martha Coakley.
I spoke with my cousin last night who lives in
Second: Democratic Overconfidence. Think about it. If I had said after Ted Kennedy passed away in August that a conservative Republican was going to win the special election to fill his seat, you would have laughed me out of the room. I think the Democrats were thinking that way as well. Consider this: Scott Brown’s campaign was going on an ad blitz on this campaign as soon as the primary was over. The Coakley campaign acted as if the election was over once she won the primary. The simple fact is, she didn’t get serious about campaigning in this election until just a few weeks ago. I heard another pundit put it perfectly by saying, when Scott Brown was campaigning actively through the Christmas season, Martha Coakley was, literally, on vacation. It was only after the Coakley campaign realized that it might lose that it sprang into action. By that time it was too late. She had already been labeled by the other side and it was going to be difficult for her to reframe the election at that late hour.
Third: The Candidate. Along with some of the tactical mistakes of her campaign mentioned above, Martha Coakley turned out to be a weak candidate. She was too easily tied to
All these things added up to a disastrous result for the Democrats and a HUGE victory for the Republicans winning that all important 41st seat in the Senate. I must say I am bittersweet about the result. Those of you who know me and my politics know that I still consider myself a moderate Republican and I enjoy seeing the party have a victory. I also feel that the Democrats deserved it for essentially setting this scenario up. Prior to 2004, the interim Senator appointed by Governor Patrick would have stayed in office until 2012, completing Senator Kennedy’s term. But in 2004, the Democrats changed the law because at the time they were worried about Republican Governor Mitt Romney appointing a replacement for John Kerry if he had won the presidential election against President Bush. So in some respects, the Democrats deserved this for trying to change the rules last time.
However, those of you who have followed my blog lately, know that I have been in support of the health care reform that is currently being debated. If this election ends up spelling the defeat of that legislation, I must say that I will be disappointed and for that reason, the result is bitter sweet.
So what now? I must give Luke Russert, of NBC News and son of the late Tim Russert, credit for this line, but I think it’s too good not to reprint – in the words of Axl Rose, Democrats must be asking themselves, “Where do we go now?” In the next day or two, I hope to post what options are available to the Democrats who are still hoping to pass health care reform. For now, I just keep thinking that the Democrats still must be thinking that as for health care reform “the lights [may have] went out in