G.O.P. Used Energy and Stealth to Win Seat

As conservatives mobilized, Democrats paid little attention to a contest that should have been nothing to worry about.

Comments: 125

  1. The key to the entire thing was how the Tea Party groups stayed under the radar as to not make him seem radical! This was Sun Tzu Politics!

  2. On election morning, I flipped through the local Boston area TV stations. During the Fox station's 8-8:30am broadcast (Jean Lavanchey, Kim Carrigan), the third announcer stated his support, "And YOU know who I'm voting for today....", encouraging listeners to get out and do the same. Carrigan and Lavanchey smiled and nodded. I was horrified. Journalism? Jingoism.

    Let's not be naive. Fox television had a huge role nationally and locally in actively promoting the telegenic Brown.

  3. do not underestimate the power of david gergen's debate question
    to mr. brown regarding the so called "kennedy seat" in the senate.
    his answer that it is "the people's seat" struck a chord with lots
    of folks here in belmont heights MA.


  4. It's fine for David Axelrod to say they were "caught napping" on the Mass. election.

    But that casual, throw-away comment is callous, if not downright obscene, given the stakes involved for, among others, people with pre-existing conditions.

    "Ooops" is small solace for millions of Americans who need insurance coverage in order to get health care -- including millions who are already ill and will only get worse or die without help.

    If this bill goes down, putting aside all political rhetoric, spinning and pathetic excuses from the Obama team (who are supposed to be the geniuses at politics and campaigns), there are some Americans who will die because they can't get health care.

    This isn't just a political battle, or a we won/you lost fracas -- we are talking life and death to some American citizens.

    So perhaps Mr. Axelrod and crew, who managed to make few mistakes in getting their candidate elected, might pay a bit more attention going forward, although other Times' coverage seems to indicate that their candidate is already folding under pressure.

    If the GOP and Tea Baggers could (and did) figure out hey, if we win this seat we can derail healthcare reform, surely Axelrod, Emmanuel and Jarrett could have figured out hey, if we lose this seat, we might LOSE healthcare reform.

    They can redeem themselves if they keep the president from caving in to what is now seeming to be his almost pathologic need to be "bipartisan" and abandoning the bill. God help all of us who need insurance coverage if the House Dems are equally fearful.

  5. The real reason for Coakley's defeat is the failrure of Democrats to support and act upon the President's campaign promises.

    Obama promised a public option for health insurace, and he failed due to lack of unity in his party.

    Obama promised the closing of Gitmo. FAIL.

    Obama promised an end to the war in Iraq. FAIL.

    Massachusetts voters are simply reflecting the national mood, which is that the party and leaders that we elected to undo the work of the Republicans over the last 8-14 years (if you count 1996 as the start of Republican dominance despite Clinton being int he White House) are failing to live up to their task. This has turned some Democrats against the own party leaders, motivated independent to stay home (what's the difference between Dems and Repubs now?), and certainly not placated Republicans, who by and large seem to be foaming at the mouth at the prospect of "socialization" of the whole country. Obviously, that isn't happening, but that's what GOP-friendly "news" sources would have them believe.

    Until the Democrats get their PR machine in good running order, and until Democrats manage to maintain some semblance of party unity and leadership, these losses will continue to mount, emboldening Republicans and "Tea Party" loons and eventually turning the whole country into one giant Tea Party.

    Does that sound unlikely? Well, it was unlikely that Obama would gain th nom, unlikely that he would then win, and unlikely that Coakley would lose. So it seems unlikely is more likely than we'd otherwise like to think.

  6. There's not a lot of difference between the effort to keep Brown from looking too radical and what Democrats did last year with Obama's liberal record.

  7. Adam, Jeff, Kate, and Michael:

    Can you really not admit that voters were angry about Obama's healthcare plan and its voyage through Congress? Do you really believe that all the "anger" was fueled by "the bailouts of Wall Street and the banks, the big year-end bonuses for powerful executives, and the rapidly ballooning federal deficit" but not healthcare?

    This article completely misses the point.

  8. The thuggery and implied threats from conservative operatives from outside the state who descended on Massachusetts in the last days of the campaign were frightening. Please reference Joan Vennochi's column in the Boston Globe and Senator Kerry's comments for more information on the frightening and shameful tactics that these operatives used.

  9. Stealth??? The widespread disappointment with Barry among the Tea Party, GOP and Dems is hardly as secret.

  10. Democrats are losers..whats new...what difference does it make even if they have 100 senate seats...wussies

  11. As much as I hate to say it, this would not have happened with Chuck Schumer at the DSCC.

  12. Why did you not comment on the over-the-top negatives adds run by Coakley against Scott Brown trying to define him as something he is not. The negative Democratic campaigning was a big contributor to Coakley's loss in this race. People are tired of partisan and personal attacks. Scott Brown focused on the issues as they related to the Massachusetts voter. Coakley read from the tired old Democratic playbook. The Democrats need a new playbook. The Republicans have reworked their message and even the blue dog voters of Massachusetts like it.

  13. Don't blame Massachusetts on the conservatives. Blame it on the Demmings, who seem intent on blindly following one another off the cliff.

    The conservatives are merely playing rope-a-dope, waiting for the Dems to destroy one another with their circular firing squad.

  14. The reaction to and analysis of Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts is overstated.
    Approximately 1.2 million people voted for Brown.
    That is 18% of the Massachusetts population and .004% of the U.S. population.
    The last time I checked, a small segment of the population of one state does not get to decide what is best for the country.
    If the Republicans use this victory to block much needed healthcare reform, they not only dishonor the memory of Edward Kennedy, they betray the vast majority of people in this country who will benefit from reform.

  15. Despite the attempt to portray the Republican victory as a result of "energy and stealth", or Democratic party ineptitutde, perhaps it was simply the issues themselves--a repudiation of Obama's policies, plain and simply. No matter what its merits, the failure to address Tort reform in the Obama plan is clearly repugnant to many.

  16. It seems illogical and self-serving that the so called "well educated" electorate(independents) of Massachuset would torpedo the health care initiative for the rest of the country given they have established the worth of universal health care with their own state plan. Why not let the rest of the country have the same benefits especially given the US economy will lanquish without it. Are the GOP and it's new Independent friends deciding to isolate themselves within their gated communities? The rest of the country has been living a prolonged disaster. Everyday I see another family destroyed by the present system. My patient's health care is relinquished to bandaids at the ER and even a brief trip to the ER can bankrupt and demoralize.

  17. Wait, this counts as NEWS?!? To be honest, I am surprised by what counts as "objectivity" at the NYT. I think most everyone else recognizes the role played by an unpopular health bill and declining approval for the President. Wouldn't THAT be a simpler, better explanation? I didn't see any ads for Brown until the last minute, and same for Coakley. I think the key development was that Republicans realized that for polls in the entire state Coakley was unpopular, specially given that 51% of the state is unaffiliated.

    I sure hope that the NYT stops posting pseudo-"right-wing" conspiracy theories and starts being more descriptive of events.

  18. I was genuinely surprised Martha Coakley lost. But when a Dem voter I know told she would not be voting for Coakley, I asked why, and the voter said "She seems so cold." I think that is something the candidate did not overcome.

    I have since asked voters who voted for Brown what he did in the state senate, and they said: Nothing.

    So, I don't know people voted for Brown.

    He did nothing, and his party is the one that got us into this mess we'll be in for a long time.

  19. People who think there is a lot of difference between Democrats and Republicans are almost too stupid to be allowed to vote. The Democrats want to tell you what to do and how to think alot more aggressively than the Republicans; but, they alll serve their banking and corporate masters.

  20. Democrats should take an additional look at Scott Brown, beyond the one they missed in this senate election. This man who will now be a first term US Senator, and was a state senator, will be in virtually the same position in terms of political background as the man who was recently elected President of the United States. Mr. Brown, like candidate Obama, is a very attractive man, and a man who achieved election victory on a platform of challenging the establishment and bringing change. Even President Obama acknowledged today that Senator Brown was elected based in part on voters being frustrated and wanting change.

    I predict that if Scott Brown performs well over the next couple of years, does well in public, he may very well turn out to be a much more viable presidential candidate for the Republicans than Sarah Palin. Brown is far better educated and professional than Palin (Brown is a graduate of Tufts University, and Boston College Law School, has been practicing as an attorney, and unlike several past and the current president, as well as Mrs. Palin, he has strong military background. He has been active with the National Guard for about 30 years and holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He also has been serving as the Army Guard's head defense attorney in New England.

    Brown may in fact turn out to be the closest thing the Republicans have had in recent memory to their own version of the charismatic and dynamic candidate and eventual Democrat elected President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who also was a son of Massachusetts.

  21. I couldn't disagree more with analysis from Axelrod, Lake et al. The Coakley loss was more predictable than they admit. This year in NJ and Virginia independent voters swung to the GOP after, going for the Democrats in 2006 and 2008. Fifty percent of Mass. voters are independents. They also went heavily Democratic in 2006 and 2008. They went for the GOP this time, just like those in NJ and Virginia. These independents are not "tea-party" types. The handwriting was on the wall all along. The so-called professionals just didn't pay any attention to it.

  22. It's just horrifying. I just do not understand why middle class Americans would ever support a candidate on the Republican Party ticket.

    It only proves disastrous for them time and time again. Is it the lack of political education in this country? or are people just not that aware? Do they not understand that the GOP attacks the middle class over and over again?

  23. The voters of the Bay State have spoken. They and voters, across the nation, will continue, with their votes in November 2010. Politicians, of all parties, and of all stripes - watch out. Senators Boxer and Reid and Speaker Pelosi - bye-bye.

  24. Can't blame Bush for this one.

  25. This election shows how inept the Democrats have been, and how effective Republicans have been with their fear mongering and block everything approach. Obama better wake up, do a gut check and lead.

  26. I'm reminded of the phrase "dumber than dirt." So often, arrogance and ignorance turn out to be the same thing. Still, it seems like the Democrats can't bear to admit that the majority of Americans DO NOT WANT HEALTH CARE REFORM that destroys Medicare and taxes what they deem to be "cadillac plans." People who oppose this plan(s) are deemed to be racist, greedy "I got mine" sorts--not true. Many would be happy to pay a bit more in taxes to support basic health services for all if only they didn't have to give up their own coverage in the bargain. And there are LOTS of places to cut to enable such reform--cut services for illegal immigrants, anyone?

  27. The article said:

    "Across the country, the bailouts of Wall Street and the banks, the big year-end bonuses for powerful executives, and the rapidly ballooning federal deficit were feeding populist anger and resentment of the Obama administration while providing the Tea Party movement fresh energy and issues around which to organize."

    I almost fell out of my chair laughing when I read this. Yes, "The People" are angry about the above actions which they see occurring due to the policies of the Administration. But what in the name of the Lord did they think the GOP was going to do if McCain won? Did they think the Bailouts of Wall Street would end? Did they think the bonuses would not be paid? How imbecilic do you have to be to think that things would have been much different with the GOP??? The Democrats, by all appearances, haven't done virtually anything different than a GOP admin would have done. So what do people in Mass do? They vote in anger for the party that would have done the same things at an even greater level of destructiveness! A very good strategy.

    The American people get the governance they deserve. They are fickle, ignorant and self-destructive...so their leaders (Dems or Repubs) fulfill their desires. Yes we are generous and at heart good folks....but that at the end of the day makes us even more gullible. Many years ago, as a US Military Officer, I consented to put my life on the line for this society. I would never contemplate doing that today.

  28. An honorable election won by an honorable candidate. It's better to win with energy and stealth than it is to snow the masses with promises of "change" for the better.

  29. This wouldn't have happened if Howard Dean had still been in charge of the DNC. Until the Democrats learn to read the electorate, they will be fighting an uphill battle.

    Attention should be given to the fact that the normal distribution of IQ in a population always indicates that 50% of the population has an IQ below 100 and 50% has an IQ above 100. (Republican play to this fact all the time.)

    Considering the population as a whole, our educational system has failed in the important areas of teaching critical thinking skills, the fundamentals of logical thinking, and inductive and deductive reasoning. Being aware of the fallacy of sweeping generalizations is also necessary in order to reach valid conclusions. (Sections of the electorate can be easily misled.)

    The fact that 50% of the electorate has an IQ less than 100 means that this group finds it difficult to deal with complexity. This group, in a democracy, has the voting privilege. As a result, the best approach to formulating legislation and to promoting the understanding of that legislation requires that the legislation must be kept simple and easily understood. It is better to have many simple Bills than one very complex Bill that tries to accomplish too much.

    This offers an explanation of why Republicans make every effort to produce complex and convoluted legislation and to promote destructive propaganda regarding the elements of legislation that they militate against. Confusing the electorate and condemning/obfuscating the intent and motivations of the opposing Party is their principle playbook. (The Republicans are not nice people - that is simple and thus easily understood.)

    As this relates to the issue of Health Care, produce a simple Bill in the House promoting a Single Payer System and/or Public Option and pass it to the Senate. In the Senate do whatever has to be done logistically to pass this Bill - no amendments and much arm-twisting. Do not compromise the essentials. (The time has come to retire Mr. Nice Guy.)

    In June of 2009, a large majority favored a Public Option. As the Bill grew more complex and concessions were made to various groups/persons the electorate support of the Bill gradually diminished. Lieberman delivered the kiss of death. (Complexity confuses, frustrates, and angers people.)

    Let Republicans filibuster if they so wish. But in any case show them to be the obstructionists that they are and the electorate will be able to understand this simple fact. They already understand options and "choice" is an important buzz word. Time is of the essence so get on with it - ASAP. I truly hope it can all be simply done. But at least simply try and....... keep it simple.

    Republicans are not reasonable people and therefore they attract unreasonable, confused people. Simple.

  30. The Obama inner has to acknowledge strike three at this point. There complaint that they didn't get asked for help soon enough was lame even the first time they used it -- why weren't they on top of the situation. Virginia, New Jersey, and now, of all places, Massachusetts.

    The only good to come of this is a dimunition of the power of Joe Lieberman, whose 60th vote has lost its force, now being only a 59th. Can't anyone offer Lieberman an early retirement package that would be better than what the insurance industry provides him to keep him in office?

  31. It took less than a year ("happy" anniversary BTW Mr. President) for the Democratic Party to take its eyes off the ball and let republicans steal a seat in Congress. Not any seat, mind you, but a key one for the passage of so many pieces of legistation that we desperately need.

    I sure hope that Mr. Axelrod and Mr. Emanuel (not to mention the DNC Chairman or Massachusetts' Democratic leaders) realize now that millions of people are counting on them to be awake at the wheel, thanks to them, we are almost back to square one. Somewhere Karl Rove is laughing at their naïveté. I sure hope this is the last chance we give him to do so.

  32. There is no way to put lipstick on this pig.

  33. Republicans must have some reason to feel pride in insuring that their country will continue to have by far the lowest health standards in the developed world.

  34. I thought I saw Obama campaigning for Coakley.
    This must mean that the people of Mass. are sexist & racist.
    No chance it could have been the issues that are stake.
    Keep up the good work.

  35. This is just another example of how Democrats snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by taking issues and campaigns for granted. I'm certain some pollster told them this was a safe election and they shouldn't worry about it--and they believed them.

    Maybe if the Democrats got some people who were paying attention and recognize politics as a blood sport, this election may have wound up differently.

  36. Brown's victory is a BIG relief, a return to the status quo, moving away from stressfull change, stoicly accepting our fate as a dead society, civilization, and planet.

  37. Obama lost it for her because he is so elitist he thinks he can go anywhere and make fun of someone's pickup truck. He was no help to her. Shades of arugula in Iowa and guns and bibles in California. She would have been better without him since Harry Reids Negroes didn't turn out to vote.

  38. can we now dispense with the right and tea party being described as bitter clingers of a rump party.

  39. I think the thrust of this is that a sly apparatus derailed a democratic win. This is simply not the case. What happened is simple. Most Americans are shocked and dismayed about what is going on in the democratic controlled congress and Whitehouse. The news organizations have intentionally tried to downplay the significance of the tea party movement; failing to see it as a groundswell of opposition. Scott Brown was our megaphone. We won't take this anymore. This is going to be a tidal wave by next November. The democrats better listen up and change back into a centrist party or they will be thrown out. Bush made mistakes, but Obama is scary and the Pelosi/ Ried combo need to be taken out. The government will reflect the people or it will be changed. Scott Brown became an overnight national sensation because he said what we all were feeling, and not by some slight of hand.

  40. In Massachusetts, the people's seat has now become a potty chair for a terribly ill-prepared candidate. The Commonwealth has embarrassed itself in a very significant way.

  41. Must be a Democrat's fault. Got no health care - must be a Democrat's fault. Got no job - must be a Democrat's fault. Got no 401K - must be a Democrat's fault. Son killed in Iraq or Afghanistan - must be a Democrat's fault. Lava running in the streets of New York - must be a Democrat's fault. Vote Republican and watch things improve for the common guy. Works every time.

  42. Boo-hoo-hoo. Nobody was napping. What rags like this and the rest of the lame MSM realized this morning - they don't control the news. Fox News has eaten your lunch (and stole your milk money). People realize that intelligent debate doesn't involve name calling like racists, teabaggers, etc. The American people are much more resourceful than you thought. Now, you have two choices - get over your 9 years of GOP bashing, liberal loving ideologies and start reporting the news unbiadsedly or go bankrupt.

  43. Those that elected Obama for 'Change we can believe in' are disgusted with his failure to deliver, his cozying up to the Banks, Goldman-Sachs and AIG (Geithner and Summers should have never been appointed in the first place), expansion of the Afgan war, idiocy in trying to court Repugs who want nothing but his failure, a Health Bill that is an abomination, etc. ad neauseum. They stayed home.

    As usual, Dems are their own worst enemy. With Obama's failures and spineless Senate 'leadership' - what else would you expect?

    The House will now have to swallow the Senate Health Bill - if we are to have a health bill at all.

    Rather than trying once again to court Repugs - Obama and the Senate leadership should for once show some spine.

    Use reconcilation as he repugs did to pass Bush's obscene tax give-aways for the rich - and ram a decent health Bill through.

  44. I've yet to hear any Washington Democrat explain why they cannot pass a simple bill: no discrimination on pre-existing conditions, some form of tort reform, and allow people to freely buy their insurance across state lines. Instead, there's this secretive monstrous 2,400 page bill. Of course the people will vote in people to stop this process. Can't trust them right now. They're too scary and out of control.

  45. It seems to me a mistake to blame the loss of this election by the Democrats on their late arrival in Mass. Obama won the Presidential election because the economy turned negative just in time for disatisfaction to take hold. The Dems should have realized that they got a very lucky break but apparently did not recognize that it gave them a chance to paint Republicans as the disaster party that they were. Instead, they joined hands with an oligarchy that should have been the target of their ire. This is all very clear to independents which threw the vote in Mass. The Democratic leaders in gov appear still clueless by their blame on being to late for this election. That is not it at all. The voters are really upset with the way the Dems are running things.

  46. The real lesson is to take nothing for granted. Coakley might be a fine AG but she hardly seemed senatorial. But whatever the reason, the country is cooked. With no conscience Republican's refusing to even consider working with the Democrats and the filibuster, this is likely to be a do-nothing Congress. Congress might as well go home and campaign and maybe even distance themselves from themselves much the way Republicans had to distance themselves from Bush.
    Makes you wonder what people really want.


  47. "The system may not always work, but it does take its revenge.'

  48. Obama and The Democrats have added more to our national debt in one year than Bush did in eight years, with two wars. That, bluntly, is the reason behind the story, today.

  49. Is Lieutenant Colonel Brown giving up his commission so that he will not be subject to deployment with his Battalion to combat, or has he already been kicked upstairs to full Colonel to sit part-time in the safety of the Pentagon when he isn't doing the dirty work of keeping the pockets of the rich lined?

    Anyone who calls this country a "Democracy" has brain-damage.

  50. The Democratic leadership in DC was not and is not paying attention to what the majority of voters truly want. The Democratic leaders truly come across as people that are power hunger and willing to push their agenda, not matter what. The voters are paying attention. We read the internet news sources and know about the secret meetings on health care. We know the President has not kept his promise to be open with us. We know the two leaders of the legislative branch of government have used bribes to push their bill. We have no respect for their collective actions and absolutely no trust left in them, whatsoever.

    Even after the results yesterday, they still don't get the point. Neither does the person that wrote this article.

  51. The bill is a piece of garbage. Put together a decent bill then enact it.

  52. Republicans hate America broadly writ and will do anything by any means at any cost, from impeachment to treason, to steal back power for their personal enrichment. It's really a simple story.

  53. Good looking enough and unknown enough to be the next President?
    President Brown? Got a certain ring to it.

  54. It doesn't matter....the Republicrats and Demublicans take turns making things stay the same.

  55. Coakley lost to Brown for a bunch of reasons:
    1. Lousy campaign- Coakley spent nearly a week on a Caribbean vacation because she was tired, and then was rumored to have complained about standing out in the cold to shake hands. Hey! It's MA and they have cold winters! Her opponent had no such qualms.
    2. It's the economy stupid. Obama ran as a moderate and then immediately started ruling from the far left. He then wasted political capital on health care, and going forward bungled it by ceding too much control to the bumbling Reid and Pelosi.
    3. The WH and their media lackeys underestimated and at the same time berated the Tea Party folks, who were well organized and did a lot of grassroots stuff over the web. This smacked of elitism, which got under the skin of many independents who originally supported President Obama (moi here). Obama, the former community organizer, was out-organized by his opponents. He could learn from Vito Corleone:
    " Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer."
    If the WH is as smart as they think they are, they will use this defeat and the NJ and VA scenarios from last Nov as lessons learned cautionary tales to avoid simiar results this Nov.

  56. Running a good campaign is 60% of any election. The Democrats failed to do this. Now they received what I call a message from God. When I get a message from God I listen because I know he means it. If the Democrats ignore this message they will be in deep doo doo.

  57. You think you're the smart party? I got news for you.

  58. I'm glad Coakley got spanked. Maybe the Democrats will decide to come up with a real health care bill. One that is designed for the people instead of being written by the health care and pharma industries to benefit themselves. I voted for Obama and I have been disgusted with him. Not only did he approve of that corrupt mess but he helped instigate it by have those secret White House meetings where he guaranteed the involved executives carte blanche. Everyone I know was delighted with the Brown win,the bill stunk and no bill is better than that joke. We deserve better.


  59. While it may be easy to scapegoat Coakley and her numerous campaign mistakes, it dodges the larger and more resonant event that unfolded on Tuesday. Namely, regular folks wanted to send a signal that they were fed up with Democratic party supermajority that was steamrolling an increasingly malodorous bill that was paying off some states (Neb) and unions with special treatment (i.e., bribes) that the rest of the country were excluded from.

    People were fed up! Brown was a likable enough guy to present a compelling alternative to simply laying down and taking whatever emerged from the horse trading on the health care bill.

    The notion expressed above that Coakley lost because the Democrats haven't delivered on enough of their left agenda -- stupefying. The Democrats are losing the center -- look at how the independent vote in MA went for Brown. To advocate going further to the left , dear God it would be political suicide.

  60. Scott Brown should enjoy the spotlight and his #41 Obstructionist designation because he will not represent MA in the US Senate after the 2012 elections.

  61. Now we have the party of NO and the party of STUPID. I will never forgive the Democrats for blowing this chance; neither will I forgive the Republicans for their obstinancy. I give up!

  62. he won with a simple message. We are not a socialist country. Work and productivity should be incentivized. Long live the real American Republic and individual liberty! The people's republic of Amerika is now dead. may it never revive again.

  63. My first reaction was, I hope this was a wake-up call for Obama's inner circle. I think, however, what I hope most is that this was a wake-up call for Obama himself ABOUT his inner circle. Time to shake things up, Mr. President. Yes, let the health care bill go and get some people who understand the political problem. The ramifications of the political problem in this country go far beyond the health care bill. But everything that has gone wrong with the health care bill is a manifestation of our political crisis.

  64. arikira-

    Don't forget our administration's pledge for "no more earmarks". FAIL

    I'm not convinced, by the way, that the Coakley would have benefited from more exposure...the more opportunities she had to open her mouth, the more 'Palinesque' she sounded. (The terrorists have already left Afghanistan?).

    Her refusal to debate Brown one-on-one was weak. And her 'Massachusettes' public didn't buy it.

  65. When the public option died, so did my interest in further supporting a party that has completely lost touch with it's base.

  66. Gee all of a sudden, the Messiah wants to include the republicans in the discussions on this sausage he, Reid & Pelosi kept them out of for six months.

    yea I know, Snow from main was being wooed for a while but saw the light and dropped out.

    All of a sudden the Messiah see the light.....NOT

  67. Scott Brown's victory also shows the dangers the Democrats have courted by playing so blatantly into ethnic politics. As the article states, the blacks who voted for Obama in 2008 did not turn out for the candidate that was important to the standing of his Presidency in 2010. This demonstrates that when voters choose candidates on the basis of their race or ethnic background rather than on the political consequences of their choices, they promote the collapse of their own candidates. As is only proper.

  68. I'm failing to see how this is a rebuke of the healthcare bill as opposed to the snail-slow reaction time of the Democratic party. As someone who has voted Dem. since I've been able, it's absolutely appalling how NOTHING has happened over the course of the last year. While I never expected them to fix everything in a couple of months, I did expect SOME movement on any of the campaign promises made during the last election cycle.

    On the healthcare topic, Mass. already has a more progressive healthcare policy than any of the other 49 states, so I hardly see this as a rebuke of a national policy that would be in line with what Mass. citizens already have in place. So, in short, Dems: It's time to pull your heads out from where ever you've had it that past year and MAKE SOME DECISIONS. Hopefully, this kicks you in the ass and boosts some motivation as opposed to just rolling over to die slowly and painfully.

  69. I love how the Democratic intelligensia are spinning this loss for them in Massachusetts. Particularly the geniuses who say it's because Obama's administration is not going far enough to the left!! I think it illustrates why the Dems have a few more licks coming to them since they obviously have no clue as to what voters are telling them........Thank you sir! May I have another!........

  70. I haven't heard many people talking about the real reason Brown won. The Medicare population didn't want the government reducing their benefits. They are the voter base. They are the ones that flipped.

  71. A very sad day for this country

    Unfortunately most voters pay very little attention to politics

    Most voters actually believe what they hear on television commercials

    A sad day for the American people, their children, their parents, their friends

    WAKE UP AMERICA !!!!!!!!!

  72. Scott Brown won because his policies on healthcare, taxes and terrorism were right on the money and in synch with the mood of the voters. It's really no mystery why even Massachusetts was impressed by him.

  73. as organized as brown and the gop may have been, what undid coakley was her arrogance, hubris and poor planning - it was bush and iraq all over again

  74. You need to listen to the exit interviews of the people that voted. Everything else you say is just your prejudiced opinion.
    The voters explained their preference whether democrat independent or republican.

    Bottomline, they feel that they are not being represented in Washington, and fear for their future and their children's future.

  75. This is the price of inexperience. This would not have happened under Hilary Clinton. It is time that the Democratic Party admit, at least to ourselves, that we made a terrible blunder.

    Did we not see how the Republican machine destroyed Dukakis, Kerry and Gore? How they hobbled Bill Clinton, who enjoyed popular support and a charismatic relationship with the American public? How fit can the Democrats be to govern the country and protect our interests and citizens if we can not manage our own party and devise tactics to counter a well known and clearly identified opponent?

    Idealism is not enough; even sound policy initiatives is not enough. The Obama administration's agenda will be derailed by a guy who will ride into the Senate car port in a pick-up truck. Until we understand the reality of American politics, there is little hope for the fruition of our plans.

  76. The first sentence of this article explains it all: "Democrats barely paid attention to a contest that should have been nothing to worry about" - in other words they lost due to ARROGANCE. The Dems needed to lose that election in order to learn that all Americans matter - not just arrogant progressives!

  77. Make no mistake about it...It was not conservative thugs converging on Massachusetts or a "weak candidate", this election was a referendum on the Obama administration...From the backroom deals for votes on healthcare reform to bailouts to civil rights for "terrorists" to immigration reform, he is out of touch with the people who actually pay taxes...Given Obama's 1st year in office, even Kennedy himself couldn't hold on to the "Kennedy Seat"...

  78. How can Obama lead, how could he have lead, when the Republicans made it clear that they are solely focused on winning elections and not working together? Reality is nothing but a grand political game to them. They're obstructionist and they'd rather see the nation collapse than cede ground to Obama or anyone who does not support their failed agenda.
    Not surprisingly in center-right 'merica there is virtually no media coverage of the Republicans' brazen refusal to work with the president on anything. Nor is there any in-depth coverage of how disconnected and illogical the vast majority of arguments against Obama's plans are. Healthcare that seeks to expand hospice coverage = death panels to kill the elderly and disabled. Healthcare to avoid total economic collapse = taxes! Socialist taxes!
    I'm sick of the know-nothing "independents" commanding every damn issue that's discussed with disjointed logic, gut feelings, and baseless suspicion masked as clear-eyed analysis and judgment. It's not. It's typically ultra-reactionary foolishness. We did that from 2000-2008 everybody and look where it got us! For some reason though, we just refuse to learn from our past mistakes.

  79. Somehow the legislative process was hijacked. When $300 million can be given to Louisanna and the whole state of Nebraska can be given a tax pass forever to buy the votes of two Democratic senators to support a health care bill no one fully knows the content of, the public becomes aroused. Thank goodness the patriots of Massachusetts stood up and were counted!

  80. It is regrettable that Ted had not groomed someone to replace him. Instead the country got someone who, although she won the primary, was hardly qualified to fill his seat. We got a pussy cat to replace a lion. What is up with that??? The Democrats wanted a super majority and then the president is said to make all kinds of concessions to the Republicans who were ready to kill anything the White House or Congress came up with. What were they thinking>???

  81. The Tea Party had the luxury of concentrating on one race in one state.

    The got lots of help from Martha Coakley, who was tone-deaf and ran an INCOMPETENT race.

    Fifty states ganging up in one, sending their best organizers and running lots of misleading ads (like Scott Brown is a moderate - fat chance).

    It will be interesting to see how the yahoos do in November, when they have to fight in all 50 states.

    And if they win, then they have to govern... It is easy to be against what the incumbent is doing. It is less easy to have to run the show and be subject to analysis on the actions you have to take.

  82. Old Postgrad up there has it right. This guy Brown has legs. He could be Presidential. Great looking family. Served the nation. Lawyer. Smart as a whip behind unpretentious charm. Formidable.

  83. The Dems lost for a variety of reasons: inept campaign/campaigner, the post-partisan/pragmatic approach of the White House, the refusal of the Dems to meet fire with fire vis a vis the Republicans, the amazing propensity and ability of Democrats to turn lemonade into lemons. Spoiled, sour ones.

    One constant, 'tho, that will continue to cause problems is the on-going inability of the great middle class to vote in their own self interest rather than that of the plutocrats and bigots.

  84. Congratulations. This article is the best explanation I have read about Brown's upset victory. It correctly identifies and describes the skillful gamesmanship that was used (and not used by the losers) to get Brown elected. It is laughable that media commentators are trying to correlate Brown's election with a seismic shift in the electorate.

    Consider the following: If Brown was facing Ted Kennedy instead of Martha Coakley, do you think Brown would have won? Of course not. This election was all about campaign skills and personality, not policy.

    One could make the complementary argument that the electorate has shifted, and Kennedy would win IN SPITE OF his policies only because of his personal popularity. I would guess the truth lies somewhere in the middle: The Democratic party (and their current positions on issues) is more popular than the Coakley loss indicates, but less popular than a Kennedy victory would indicate.

    I do like today's statements from the Pres and Dems that they'll stop work on the Senate health care bill until Brown is seated. It will make obvious the Republicans' non-constructive attitude about this issue.

  85. Would it be fair to say that Sen. Kennedy and "Universal Health Care" are both dead and buried? Word on the street is that the Devil is handing out hand warmers. Go Figure.

  86. It may seem unrelated, but I would argue that the defeat of the Democrats at the midterm elections will be due largely to the appointment of Geithner, a junior Wall Street banker who sees it as his chief task to restore the banks to profitability.

    Obama didn't grasp that TARP was his 9/11 and he failed to fight the banks on behalf of the middle class. Even now, his instinct is to compromise with everybody, even the GOP, whose sole political agenda is to wreck his government by any means necessary. It is dispiriting.

  87. Fox News coverage of this election is very telling. Fox repeatedly told Massachusetts voters to vote red (Brown). Fox is obviously not about news; and has not been for a long time. In the Republican war on America, truth is the first casualty. Pity there are no FCC enforcable regulations requiring Fox to actually purvey "news." Fox may have successfully kept 47 million uninsured people from getting health insurance, condemned another 1.5 million per year to bankruptcy due to medical conditions, and assured the American people that they will continue to pay 17% of the GDP for bloated, expensive and inefficient health care when the rest of the industrialized world pays 11% of their GDP or less.

  88. It's the economy stupid!

    Not a health care bill that won't start to help people until 2013, but start to tax them now.
    Not a climate change bill brought to us by the environmental taliban and "green" energy "give me a handout" industry.
    Not a stimulus bill that went to pay off Obama's special interests, unions and wasn't spent on time.
    Not card check.

    No what matters is that we have a competitive country that makes things, drills, mines and creates real jobs. When Obama talks about "saving" police and teacher's jobs with our tax dollars it doesn't resonate.

    Again, it is the economy stupid! And how stupid were the democrats not to nominate Hillary and instead nominate incompetent of the century!

  89. No. 6:
    What did the Democrats do last year to Obama's liberal record?

    --The Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) scored Obama on 20 key votes/year from 2005-2008.
    In 2008, he received 45%; he did not vote on 9 of 20 key votes.
    In 2007, he received 75%; he did not vote on 5 of 20 key votes.
    In 2006, he received a 95%; he voted on 19 of 20 key votes.
    In 2005, he received 100% and voted on all 20 key votes.

    This information is public and available for all to see. The data indicates he was moving away from hard-line Liberalism.

    I think you need to give the electorate more credit. It was obvious for anyone to see that Senator Obama was a liberal, during his senate career. What is also obvious is that President Obama is not a socialist.

    I don't believe Brown is a radical ideologue. We are learning that some radical right wing activists aided his campaign with contributions and boots on the ground. No one is surprised. This does not make him a radical. In the same fashion, because left wingers supported President Obama, this does not made him a left wing radical, either.

    What is unique is that the Republican National Committee passes a resolution "renaming" (LOL) the Democratic Party the Democratic Socialist Party. Fox news notables have been bashing President Obama as a Marxist, Socialist, anti-white, for an entire year. It is their right to say and think what they want but don't tell me that Fox is not engaged in a hate campaign against the President of the United States.

  90. The only question of substantive concern at this point is: What is Gail Brown's color scheme for the Oval Office>

  91. ...David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the president, said in an interview. “This guy knew exactly what he was doing. He’s an appealing candidate. Pleasant guy. He’s smart. He tapped into an anti-politician sentiment.”...

    Ax should know...

  92. I'm a stubborn Independent, but I have to admit I love seeing the Democratic posters here throw hissy fits, even as they deny they do.

  93. The working classes voted for Brown because of job losses...
    No mention by either candidate about the outsourcing of jobs to
    China in a move that was brought on by Slick Willie Clinton and Nafta.
    The republicans cannot bring up the subject because it was George H W Bush who was Tutoring Bubba Clinton on Globalization. Both establishment
    parties are responsible and hence, Tea Parties.

  94. I hope democrats should stop looking for consipracy in this. Brown won fair and square. Disaffection with democratic party and its leader is palpable. This misplaced priority on health care reform is causing huge unease among moderate democrats, independents and republicans alike. And finally people spoke for the third time in this MA special election. That's why this is so momentous event. Try not blame it on tea party or fox or any specific group. No matter how powerful these groups might be, they are in no comparison with awesome power of federal government which puts itself in this dilemma, not people outside the power.

  95. Where has the democratic party been for the past six months. Kennedy's seat was eventually going to open for grabs, so could someone tell me why the Democrates, knowing how important that one senate vote could be, have not prepared for the recent election to fill that post? If this one seat was so important as it relates to the health bill, then why hasn't the President, as well as the Democratic party, pooled their resoures, and knocked on every door in Massachusettes to get the votes. Surely it has been said before, but it is the simple things that count, the simple things that produce the greatest results. And here the Democrats couldn't figure that out. It appears to me the direction this country is going will result in President Obama being a one term president, and the Republicans will come back and get a chance to correct all the ills they created. What is new?

  96. To think that the Tea Parties were "staying under the radar" is absurd! They want to be heard...the mainstream media paid no attention and refuses to admit that this country is center right...if Virginia, NJ and Mass are not enough to convince you of that, wait until November!

  97. To Ed (#22). It's just horrifying. I just do not understand why middle class Americans would ever support a candidate on the Republican Party ticket.

    In my case, it is Afghanistan. The US can no longer afford an empire yet this is what Obama has decided on and what nearly all Congressional Democrats have signed up for. For example, the other day an NPR show revealed how the Obama administration had awarded a 360 million dollar contract to a company run by the son of the Afghan Defense Minister to guard the perimeters of American bases. Does this sound right to you? Do you agree with this? There does not seem a great deal of difference between Dems and Repubs on the important issue of funding a military-industrial complex at a great expense to the middle class. The only way voters like myself can have any impact on an issue like this that we feel is important is to vote against Democrats when they are in office and Republicans when they are in office. If you have a better solution, I'd love to hear it.

  98. From the article: "...what should have been a routine election." In the old Soviet Union there were "routine elections" with predictable results. In a competetive democracy, no one should ever take any election for granted. As Scott Brown showed, he didn't campaign for simply the honor of being the Republican candidate and acquiese to an "inevitabele" result; he campaigned to win. It wasn't a "routine election" for him.

  99. President Obama should and must realize now that 1 year into his presidency, he is still speaking like a candidate. Rhetoric is no longer tolerated and the election loss in Mass. shows it. Even Obama's charisma cannot save the day. Charge Republicans !!!!!!!

  100. One-party rule has historically been troublesome to disastrous for the nation, and the current regime is no exception. The hubristic overreaching of Pelosi and Reid as shown by the 2700-page hell care packages mischaracterized as "reform" while protecting Big Pharma, Big Insurance. Big Unions, and Big Contributors to the disadvantage of taxpayers and patients alike is a significant factor in the uprising of voters across the nation. Washington pols had better flush the wax from their ears and start listening to voters who want a common-sense balanced budget that rewards productive work... not one that denies work to the willing and able-bodied who have watched their jobs go to Asia and their prospects diminish to Wal-Mart cart fetchers.

  101. Are we awake yet? If we lost sure bet, what about all those "uncertain" bets like Harry Reid and others in states like Virginia, Ohio and even New York? Will Gillebrandt and Obama and the rest of the Dems including Ford learn a lesson, put aside personal ambitions,unite and retain Hillary's seat? Why did we not see Hillary campaigning in Massachusettes? Will she help Gillebrandt win? Can we dempcrats hope for a miracle of unity?

  102. The search for a messiah always leads to a crucifixion. The nation is overly focused on President Obama as either messiah or anti-christ. It would be more productive if we started taking personal responsibility for fixing a badly broken domestic infrastructure that seeks to exclude the poor and minorities from the benefits of health care and education only to benefit the current status quo winners. Leadership starts with the willingness to be led. It's not clear that we have that capacity any more.

  103. It is a sad day for America and a shameful day for Massachussetts. It is clear that a significant number of so called "independent" voters of the state voted for Scott Brown to shoot down the healthcare bill. For the people of the so called most "liberal state' of the nation to vote in such a way is shameful to say the least. America is the only developed nation without universal healthcare which is definitely one of the most important rights a citizen would expect from a any nation. We claim to be the greatest nation on earth and we deny affordable healthcare to 20% of our citizens. Massachessetts which already has a form of universal healthcare for itself,voting to deliberately stop others in the nation from getting the same rights is despicable. Many years later when more conscientious people inhabit this great nation of ours, there will be universal healthcare. Then that generation will look back and see who was it that prevented all americans from getting one of the basic rights a citizen: the "great people" of Massachessetts. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  104. The Amirault case is horrifying -- lives were destroyed and Coakley played a key role in prolonging the nightmare. I'm a lifelong Democrat, but I don't know if I could have voted for her if I lived in Mass. (Better to vote for a pol who simply took a bribe.) Evidently, Coakley lost for all the wrong reasons -- because of fears of the healthcare bill, because of premature disillusionment with Obama -- but I know I'm not the only one who feels strongly about the Amirault case and I wonder how many others like me just stayed home.

  105. Cripes, I leave the country for a few days and my home state -- supposedly one of the last bastions of liberalism in the U.S. -- elects a *republican*?! I may not come home ...

  106. Mr. Brown won this election for the same reason that President Obama won his election. They both did their homework.

  107. Axelrod is in denial. Or perhaps he's just engaging in spin. He knows perfectly well, since it was widely reported in MA, that the major issue for MA voters was the health care bill. Many people in MA on both the left and right dislike the Senate bill and the fact that Obama made secret sweetheart deals with private insurance CEOs and big pharma. Health care was an especially big issue in MA since we already have Romneycare here, i.e. a liberal Republican health care coverage system that mandates buying private health insurance. And this system is basically failing. It can't contain costs, causes high premium increases, and degrades coverage, forcing many people not to visit a doctor when the need to, since co-pays and deductibles are so large. Though Coakley was a weak candidate, this election was above all about the Senate health care bill and Obama's support for the private health care industry and for McCain's awful "Cadillac" excise tax on the middle class and about Obama'a hypocrisy and lack of real support for the public option. Most Dems and many independents strongly support the public option as well as single payer. Many of these liberals were among the large number of disappointed Dems who just and didn't vote and the 22% of Dem voters who voted for Brown. Many of them wanted to send a message to Dems in Washington that the Obama-Reid health care bill is a failure and needs to contain a public option and a tax on the wealthy, not the middle class. Many in the Dem base in MA wanted to send a strong "No" to Obama, Axelrod, and Reid.

    If Obama and Axelrod willfully misread the decisive liberal element in the lack of support for Coakley, they will they will lead the Dem Party further along the road to a national electoral disaster in November and in 2012. If Obama wants to save health care and the Dems nationally, he must help Reid pass the public option separately by a simple majority using reconciliation. This can be done. It is simply a matter of commitment and determination. If Obama makes the mistake of fearing the right and retreating instead of engaging in self-criticism and listening more closely to the Dem base, he will be refusing to learn from MA. To pull back would be to invite the right to attack even more strongly. Obama must go forward and listen to the Dem base -- and he must support the use of reconciliation to pass the public option, which will reenergize his own base. If Obama continues to ignore the Dem base and take it for granted, the whole party may well go down with him.

  108. To: # 52
    Absolutely agree. Take them to court for harm they made during eight "bushy" years, putting such a nice country in deep financial, political, economical, military hole.
    We do not produce anything anymore and as result we do not have any jobs, we became ("thanks" to republicans governance) cheap consumer chinese shoddy that flooded our country.
    Now they try to distabilize our pace using immature elements among people, to ignate new agressive course.
    They should be taking to court that must dissolve that "party" and her supporters.

  109. Massachusetts has been duped.

  110. A combination of Coakley's and the Democratic Party's complacency, Fox News and the teabaggers, a genuine concern about the healthcare plan being negotiated in Congress, an incredibly hard working, telegenic candidate and there you have it.

    Ridiculous though that here in MA we have near universal coverage so these folks "did not want to have to pay for people in other states." So about 100,000+ fellow citizens of Massachusetts have screwed over the untold millions who desperately need healthcare for themselves and their families.

    As for Kit from Belmont HILL (not HEIGHTS), it was Sen. Kennedy's seat for 47 years so get over it! Let us hope Senator Brown does even a fraction of the good (legislatively speaking) that Sen. Kennedy did.

  111. I am not sure that the Democrats know how to read a sextant or have a firm hand on the tiller, but we are between Scylla and Charybdis and need to row together to avoid being eaten.

    While I am queasy on the Democratic course, it is at least between the two monsters rather than straight onto the rocks. The Republicans are trying to ground the ship and leave us to the sea-serpents while they make off with the cargo.

  112. Look at all the left wing loons on this board who think the left wing loons weren't looney enough. Their answer is to go further to the left. Delusional. We have delusional people voting in the President of the United States.

  113. This is called the audacity of smugness and stupidity. This happens to politicians all over the world. When they think they got the public in their back pocket they forget how fickle minded their voters are specially when taken for granted. Obama and his group of intellectuals have been cooped up too long inside the Washington box and they need to break out of it and breathe reality.

  114. Comment 29. Cannot be said better than this. Congratulations.

  115. "Across the country, the bailouts of Wall Street and the banks, the big year-end bonuses for powerful executives, and the rapidly ballooning federal deficit were feeding populist anger and resentment of the Obama administration."

    This was the case for electing a democrat. What does electing a republican have to do with any populist anger? Bailouts were led by republicans and embraced by democrats to prevent 50% unemployment. So that is not an issue in this election. Executives making billions in bonus money paid for by tax payers is a republican platform and has nothing to do with any democrat.

  116. So, are there any moderate Republicans, who are not in lock step with Rush-Fox-Palin? If Obama moved toward center, letting some of the left-most unsatisfied, could he find a few Republicans who would meet him on principle? Or have the Republicans all sworn to defeat Obama at all costs, even if it means no legislation whatsoever -- the functional equivalent of the Dole-Gingrich "shut down the government if we don't get our way" tactic of the early 1990s?
    What made Bill Clinton successful was his capacity to come toward the center -- he compromised with a Republican Congress, and got a blend of tax increases and budget cuts that reduced the deficit and led to a prosperous phase in the economy.
    But are there any reasonable Republicans, or do they all smell blood in the water now?

  117. Now let's have some real "social justice." The kind of justice for the people who stand on their feet for 8 hours a day and pay their taxes only to see it thrown away on bribes, policial payoffs and wasteful spending of this government. Congress has an obligation to the people to spend our money wisely and prudently. Let's have justice for the tax payers of this country.

  118. To say it again: If Scott Brown knows how to run with the football he has just intercepted, the first down will be in confronting China's economic destruction of the United States. If he can overturn the bipartisan idiocy of the last 35 years in allowing China (and its consul-general, Wal-Mart) to suffocate our coffers, our workforce, and our industrial output, then this engaging, articulate, and handsome man will not only be a good-looking President, but also a historically pivotal one.


  119. Transparency? And the President isn't transparent enough?
    When you have to practically hide your (R) and your
    supporters have to slink around like thieves in the night or the jig will be up, pretty sleazy politics. MA you didn't get anything new...you just bought on spec. and it's the same old same old.

  120. If Scott Brown turns out to be the next Ed Brooke, more power to him. If he does, he might even get my vote in 2012. That said, from what I've seen of him Brown's not even fit to shine Ed Brooke's shoes.

    (For those not familiar with MA politics in the 60's and 70's, Brooke was a liberal Republican who, in addition to supporting a lot of good progressive legislation, opposed the Vietnam War and called on Nixon to resign after the Saturday Night Massacre. Paul Tsongas beat him in 1978.)

  121. Congratulations Massachusetts, you now have a senator who wants to get his daughters married off. what a great accomplishment. This while you prevent the rest of us from getting health care while you have universal health care

    "Blame me I am from Massachusetts"

  122. Here's hoping the Democrats will concede defeat on this health bill and publically invite bi-partisan support from the Republicans, pass a compromise bill, and move onto something else they can agree with. I for one am tired on the Washington bikering. To think we are paying these people good money to fight with each other.

  123. Brown worked hard. The democrats wanted something for not doing the work. They only have themselves to blame, and the country suffers as a result of their incompetence.

  124. This was a proxy vote on Obama and the agenda of the administration. "ITS THE ECONOMY STUPID!"

  125. I guess last year there was a big ABB vote which helped Obama get elected. Since Republicans figured Obama out, and Obama still wants to play ball with them we should be prepared to see The President getting many more of these slaps on the face. And we, who worked hard to elect him, brace ourselves and see him bloodied many more times. It's sad but that is what is in store for Mr. bipartisan!