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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Martha Coakley's Political House On Fire

Martha Coakley just returned from six days on vacation in the middle of a special election. Ever since the December 8 primary, Coakley has attempted to portray an air of inevitability, by seeming not to care about Scott Brown's candidacy, refusing to debate him one-on-one, and by touting misleading fundraising numbers to make it seem as if money is pouring in (Martha, will you release your post-primary numbers?)

Welcome back from vacation. Your political house is on fire.

Brown has gone viral, is gaining support, and money really is pouring into his campaign, which is astounding because just three weeks ago he was relatively unknown. Three things have happened in the last three weeks to make this election competitive:
  1. Coakley's "read my lips" moment: During the campaign, Coakley promised as a matter of "principle" not to support the Senate health bill if it contained restrictions on abortion. This promise was a prime fundraising tool. Just days after the primary, Coakley went back on this promise, and now is in the Harry Reid/Ben Nelson camp, to the anger of the left-wing base.
  2. Obamacare is sinking in popularity: Harry Reid and the Democrats in the Senate demonstrated, in the weeks leading up to Christmas eve, the absolute moral corruption in Washington, D.C., by legally bribing Senators to vote for the health care bill. By supporting these efforts, Coakley has shown herself to be just more of the same (and her own maneuvers around the campaign finance laws drive that point home). At a time when the country is facing monumental deficits and national debt, Coakley handed Brown the central issue in the campaign - Democratic efforts to force through a health care bill which is unpopular and economically ruinous. Had Coakley stood by her "principles" she would not be in this position.
  3. Brown has gone viral: Largely shunned by the Republican establishment, Brown has utilized an online strategy which has ignited a grassroots campaign to get Brown elected. Do a Google search of blogs, and you will see that Brown is the talk of the internet, and most posts about Coakley are negative. While the mainstream media still holds great sway, Brown is seen as rising and Coakley as more of the same. Brown is winning the online battle.
The best sign that Coakley knows she is in trouble is that she has gone negative, running television ads comparing Brown to George W. Bush. Just more proof that Coakley doesn't get it. The blame Bush tactic worked last year but now people are blaming Obama and the Democrats in Congress. We have seen what a year of Democratic rule means, and people are scared that the wheels are falling off.

The political story of 2010? Martha Coakley's political house caught fire while she was on vacation. The only question is, will the house burn to the ground by January 19?

Update: For analysis of Coakley's fundraising spin, check out Coakley $25 Tweet A Sign of Trouble

Update: While Coakley remained aloof, Brown was outside the Boston Garden Fenway Park greeting fans before a Bruins game, where he ran into well-known Boston comedian Lenny Clarke, who expressed a "we've had enough" attitude felt throughout the country:

And, here's an interesting graphic comparing Scott Brown's Twitter followers with those of Coakley over the past month. As you can see, the number of Brown's followers rose dramatically in the past two weeks in "hockey stick" fashion, while Coakley has pretty much flatlined:

Related Posts:
Martha Coakley's Secret Bank Account - Part 2
Scott Brown Winning The Online Battle
Martha Coakley Passes Out Some Walking Around Money

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  1. This is too exciting! Great post, and thanks so much for the link. I have linked back to you in an update.

  2. The Winter Classic was actually at Fenway Park.

  3. I rather hope she stays in denial. If she rallies, she might get some of her remaining supporters to the polls. Let her think she's got it in the bag, that blaming Bush is a wonderful strategy (hasn't she heard? people across the blogosphere are stating that they miss President Bush, including liberals like those at HillBuzz), and that her paying lip service to whichever group is in front of her is wonderful (it worked for BO, right?).

  4. I tend to agree with Fuzzy. My "on-site" observation is that the average Bay Stater is only vaguely aware of the upcoming election. There aren't many TV or radio ads airing and the holidays are obviously a much greater focus of attention and energy. I think if you asked people who they THINK will win, they would overwhelmingly pick Coakley. There is simply nothing I see that would indicate to the ordinary voter that Brown is surging or that this is turning into a genuinely competitive race. (Obviously, one can find that sentiment being expressed in conservative blogs like this, but I don't count myself or similarly obsessed partisans as an "ordinary voter.")

    That said, I don't think the absence of any obvious pro-Brown surge at this point is necessarily a bad thing in terms of his chances of eking out a win. I'm certain his supporters are far more enthusiastic and motivated than are Coakley's. The vast majority of the AG's voters will be pulling the lever for the "D" next to her name rather than for the candidate. And they'll be doing so out of force of habit rather than on account of genuine enthusiasm for the party. Even realizing this is an uphill battle, Brown's supporters will turn out and get their family and friends to do the same.

    If Brown wins this, IMO, it will be "The Tortoise and the Hare -- The Sequel." Coakley will have taken her apparent vote-getting strengths for granted until it was too late. Brown will have kept plugging away, gaining ground steadily but inconspicuously.

    So, the lack of hoopla surrounding this race could wind up working in Brown's favor. At the very least, it presents Coakley with a potential strategic conundrum. Coakley could have difficulty in a low-profile, low-turnout election matching votes against a candidate with a highly motivated base of support who is nevertheless flying well under the media radar (to switch metaphors). Yet, she will be loath to do anything that might signal to the media and the wider electorate that she is indeed locked in a potentially tight race, as this could open the floodgate of favorable attention for her relatively unknown opponent. My guess is that Coakley's people will have their stethoscopes to the ground over the next ten days trying to detect whether Brown is actually on the move or whether his apparent internet boomlet is all smoke and mirrors (to switch metaphors twice more).

  5. The vacation that Evelle Younger took right after a debate with incumbent Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown, may have cost him an election, too. But at least the Democrat was willing to debate in that California governor's race!

  6. Wait . . . that Twitter-follower graphic you have posted . . . it's a legitimate hockey stick!

    And by the way, Sissy, nice pun in the title! I love it. Good one!

  7. OMG, Twitter statistics, you are the MAN!!! WHy even have teh election? Twitter followers are more inmtporant than votes. duhhhhh

  8. Good piece. Thank you for saying it so succinctly! I have linked to this point on my Scott Brown page. http://reddiva.wordpress.com/scott-brown-senate-ma/

  9. I'm excited! I found out about this at Mitt Romney Central and I can't tell you how hard all of the people there are working to help Scott Brown win this thing!

  10. Twitter graphics now representing political desires. hmmm... Now I understand how desperate good news can be wanted. If Palin could not win, with all her Facebook followers then how can Brown win, twitting down the road. ( I know about Palin and her facebook debut) Mass. voters are a little more sophisticated than to be influence by twitter popularity.
    This post is just plain silly..the left wing is mad at Coakley so they are going to vote for Brown?????