The Senate seat that was occupied for more than four decades by the fundament of the late Ted Kennedy was supposed to be a shoo-in for the Democrats. It should have been a safe seat, a set-aside for liberalism, one of those permanent New England sinecures that the party has long been accustomed to.
However, events aren’t going as planned.
The chosen heir to the Kennedy throne, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, is not coasting to an easy victory in tomorrow’s special election. The latest polls put the upstart Republican challenger Scott Brown neck-and-neck with Ms. Coakley, and some even show him as much as five points ahead. What’s going on here? Are Massachusetts voters not reading from the prepared script?
The author of this article in The Washington Post knows the script well enough:
BOSTON — Republican Scott Brown is surfing a wave of voter frustration with President Barack Obama that has helped propel the once low-profile Massachusetts state senator from long shot to contender in the race to fill the Senate seat left vacant by Edward Kennedy’s death.
Here’s the party line as normally reported in the MSM:
- When a Democrat is unexpectedly defeated by a Republican, the voters are “frustrated”. But when the reverse happens — when a righteous liberal takes out an evil conservative opponent — the people are “angry” at the cruel policies of the incumbent.
- When economic misery happens during a Democratic ascendancy — as is occurring right now — it’s bad luck, like a hurricane or an earthquake. When a downturn occurs during the Republicans’ tenure, however, it’s a result of their wicked right-wing policies.
- Under the Democrats, if bad things happen to good people, it’s simply ill fortune. But Republicans are mean — they do it deliberately. They just love to gouge poor people and make them suffer, you see.
Yet, despite these guidelines, the headline-writer for the same article at the Post messed up and let the A-word creep in:
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GOP hopeful riding voter anger in Kennedy seat bid
And to be fair to the WaPo, the article is unusually even-handed in its description of what’s going on in Massachusetts:
Brown’s meteoric rise caught nearly everyone off-guard, particularly Democratic Party leaders who assumed their candidate, state Attorney General Martha Coakley, would have a cakewalk to the U.S. Capitol after winning a four-way primary in December.
They hadn’t counted on voters like Luis Rodriguez.
The 46-year-old plastics factory supervisor, who emigrated to the U.S. in 1988 from Uruguay and became a citizen last year, said he’s fed up with what he calls the lies told by Washington. It’s enough for him that Coakley supports Obama, who Rodriguez says has failed to make good on his pledge for openness.
“We don’t buy what we can’t afford. We don’t spend what we don’t have,” said Rodriguez, echoing the anger expressed by other voters who say Democrats are too eager to bail out bankers and people who bought homes they couldn’t afford. “These people, what they’re doing now, they’re spending money they don’t have so they can get elected again.”
Despite the Bay State’s liberal reputation, some Massachusetts voters are also chafing at the idea that just because the Senate seat had been held by Kennedy for 47 years, it should automatically go to a Democratic successor.
“One of the things that have blown our minds is people saying, ‘Well, what would Ted Kennedy want?’“ said Kathleen Halloran, 47, a teacher in Worcester, who attended a Brown rally with her husband Brian, 38, a police officer, and their two children. “It’s mind-numbing that someone would think… that there was some kind of entitlement or legacy that needs to be passed on.”
So the Kennedy dream is over at last. Is this the Bay State’s 2010 version of Hope and Change?
However, the Democrats aren’t giving up without the ear-biting and eye-gouging that we’ve come to expect from the party during election campaigns. As reported in The Boston Globe, “Sen. Kerry says Scott Brown supporters engaged in bullying, threats”:
Massachusetts Senator John F. Kerry is calling on Republican Scott Brown, who is waging a surging campaign against Democrat Martha Coakley, to curb his supporters, saying that they have engaged in “bullying and threats” in recent days and that some of them are from out-of-state.
“Bullying and threats”? And — gasp! — from out-of-state!
Can you say “projection”?
Just last week a Weekly Standard reporter was knocked to the sidewalk by a Democrat operative when he tried to ask Martha Coakley a question. The incident was photographed and videotaped, with Ms. Coakley clearly looking on while it happened, but afterwards she denied all knowledge of the event. She’s a real class act.
Yet the Republicans are the “bullies”. Everybody knows that. They’re just mean.
Even if Scott Brown doesn’t win tomorrow, his campaign has achieved something significant: for the first in at least a generation, Massachusetts Democrats are actually having to scramble to win a Senate election.