Friday, January 22, 2010

Move On Tells Us the Magnitude of Scott Brown's Win

In the aftermath of Scott Brown beating Martha Coakley in the Massachusetts Senate race, pundits, both of the professional and the in-your-parent's-basement type, have been playing tug of war over what the election really means. Reading all these pundits simply shows that hindsight in this case seems to muddy rather than clear the waters. For that reason I went back to the archives and found this breathless email from, sent on January 8th, 11 days before the election, titled,
"Urgent: A Republican in Ted Kennedy's seat?"
Horror of all horrors! They said a Coakley loss would be "devastating", and that "health care could die, and the Republicans could block pretty much anything they want."

In order to avoid such a catastrophic outcome, Moveon invoked "progressive hero" Ted Kennedy's name seven times in the email. They quoted Kennedy's widow Vicki, who said, "My husband fought for healthcare reform for more than 40 years. Martha Coakley shares those critical beliefs."

Clearly Moveon saw this election as a referendum on health care. Clearly they thought that Massachusetts voters wouldn't dream of replacing a progressive health care reform icon with the very vote that could end the momentum of what is the closest the country has been to progressive reform in decades. Clearly, they were wrong.


Jason The said...


Charles D said...

Clearly MoveOn is out of touch. If you want to win elections, you have to excite your party's base constituencies. You have to make people want to get out and vote for your guy or gal. Merely claiming your candidate is not as bad as their candidate just doesn't cut it.

The Democratic base came out in 2008 and voted for a change they could believe in. They got nothing. No change, just more of the same with better speeches. They weren't going to come out and vote for another corporate Democrat and be disappointed again.

Cameron said...

You make some good points. Many of those excited for Obama just aren't any more. But what MoveOn did was tie that race to the passage of health care reform. That was a big part of last year's campaign sloganeering, and presumably something the progressive base really wants. I think MoveOn was correct in saying that losing this race and losing the super majority dealt a huge blow to the kind of reform progressives want.

So are you saying that Democrats in Mass. were just so angry that they voted against their own interests? Sort of a cut off your nose to spite your face kind of a deal?

Charles D said...

No Cameron, they weren't so much angry as disgusted. They already voted for their interests and they were sold out by the corporate Democrats. If you had a race in Utah between a moderate Republican who had betrayed the voters who elected him (I hear this may be possible) and a lackluster Democratic candidate, some Republicans might just stay home. They'd figure there was nothing to vote for and no point in voting. Is that a great idea? No, but it's human nature not to keep trying the same thing over and over when it doesn't work.

The 60-vote rule is great for Democrats. They can find any number of reasons why any kind of progressive change is just politically impossible and why they have to water down all legislation to the point where it gets support from Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, Evan Bayh, Joe Lieberman, and Olympia Snowe. If they had any guts, they would repeal the cloture rule and get the people's business done.

Anonymous said...

Scott Brown with a staggering influx of pro-Wall Street money. He also had a new tactical system known as "Natalie's Memes" that had been borrowed over from Natalie White.

The key was getting male voters to start complaining -- as on sports talk shows -- then throw in negative comments against Coakley.

Martha was the Attorney General who figured out how to bring a broad suit against mortgage companies, where papers were "robo signed" and other forgeries occurred. They spent a ton because her system of backtracking their actions with sbupoenas resulted in billions going to defrauded homeowners.