I still find it hard to believe that Ted Kennedy‘s Senate seat might actually pass into Republican hands in next Tuesday’s special election. Especially when those hands belong to a no-name state senator who has the full-throated support of the Tea Party crowd (even though he is a moderate, and not an ultra-conservative).
Surely, a voice still says inside me, the recent polls showing Scott Brown with a very realistic chance of defeating Martha Coakley will be enough to galvanize Democratic voters into turning out in large numbers? Surely, all those voters who still, if you’ll pardon the term, lionize Ted Kennedy will not let his seat fall into Scott Brown’s hands? Particularly since it would jeopardize the healthcare bill, the legislation that Ted Kennedy fought for all his life, the legislation that he was able to see starting to turn into a reality in the last days of his life, the legislation that was supposed to become his legacy.
That voice is still there, saying these things, but I’m not sure if I can convince myself that it is the voice of objective assessment and not the voice of wish-fulfillment fantasies.
An article in today’s Boston Herald points out that, if Coakley manages to lose Kennedy’s seat, she has only herself to blame. In an act of colossal political hubris, with the election less than four weeks away, Coakley decided to take six days off from the campaign trail for Christmas:
Martha Coakley’s six-day break from the campaign trail may go down in history as the most poorly timed respite by any candidate in recent memory – and a vacation that will live in infamy as far as political strategists are concerned.
“To be silent in terms of your own personal and public appearances and then dark on television is just breathtakingly ignorant,” one Democratic campaign strategist told the Herald yesterday. “Republicans are going to claim that the fact that Coakley is having a problem winning in Massachusetts is related to people’s concerns about Obamacare – when the reality is Coakley’s struggle should be blamed on her and an incompetent campaign strategy.”
The strategist is among a chorus of party operatives who are red-hot mad that Coakley’s campaign has drained Democratic resources in the Bay State and beyond – a misfortune that traces back to Dec. 23, when Coakley began her six-day streak off the campaign trail.
It wasn’t until Jan. 6, a week after Brown launched his first television ad linking himself to former President John F. Kennedy, that Coakley began airing her general election ads.
Doing so wasted precious hours that opponent Scott Brown used to define himself – and to define her – said GOP strategist Jason Kauppi.
Yes, the stakes are high. A victory for Scott Brown may or may not derail the healthcare bill (the House could just swallow hard, and pass the Senate version of the bill and send it to the president for his signature; or the compromise bill could be sent back to the Senate for a vote before Brown takes his seat, which he cannot do for at least 15 days after the election), but it would certainly bring everything else on the Democrats’ agenda to a grinding halt. It would practically bring the business of governing the nation to a grinding halt.
Still, if Brown ends up winning, it’ll be hard to disagree with the notion that perhaps Coakley deserved to lose.