Scott Brown Wins Massachusetts Special Election

(The post-mortem begins – promoted by Colorado Pols)

As politicos around the country await the results of the special election in Massachusetts for the Senate seat to replace Democrat Ted Kennedy (and whether Democrats will maintain a 60-seat majority or not), “The Fix” offers its take on what to watch for:

…we talked to a number of senior strategists in both parties in search of the key geographic areas and demographic groups to keep an eye on as results roll in tonight in order to best understand what’s happening and why.

A sampling of their thoughts is below.

* City turnout: Coakley must maximize the power of the city turnout machines in Boston (led by Mayor Tom Menino), Worcester (in the hands of Rep. Jim McGovern) and Springfield. Three close-in communities to Boston report their results early — Cambridge, Somerville and Arlington — and, according to one Democrat, if Brown is close or leading in those areas, the race is effectively over.

* The South Coast: While almost all of the state is reached by Boston television, the communities in hard-scrabble town like Fall River — home of former Boston schoolboy hoops legend Chris Herren — gets Providence television and is culturally a far different place than the Hub. These are the sort of Democrats — blue-collar — that Coakley must win but, as the race entered its final stages, wasn’t winning.

* Independent women: The Brown surge has been fueled — primarily — by independents who have moved strongly in his favor over the past ten days. Democrats acknowledge independent men are a lost cause for Coakley but they are hoping that her historic candidacy — she would be the first woman elected to the Senate or governor in the state — is a significant draw among independent women. The working theory among Democratic modelers is if Coakley can win 35 percent of the independent vote, she can win; if she goes below that number, Brown will win.

* The Beltway Vote: The most critical area for Brown is in between Rt. 128 — the inner Beltway that rings Boston and 495 — the outer Beltway to the west of the city. That area, which includes the critical swing suburban community of Middlesex, is filed with independent and Republican voters that Brown needs energized to offset the likely swamping he will take in Boston proper.

* Boston Catholics: While the city of Boston is strongly Democratic, it is also — in parts — strongly Catholic (and pro-life). In communities like South Boston, Dorchester and the North End, Republicans believe Brown has made significant inroads. Worth noting: In the two most recent Republican victories in Massachusetts (Gov. Mitt Romney in 2002 and Gov. Paul Cellucci in 1998), the Catholic vote went Republican.

243 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Middle of the Road says:

    gives a round up of politico pundits and where they lay the blame for this potential loss–right at the feet of Coakley.

  2. fundamental mistake that the Liberal Lion’s seat was awaiting her by some Camelot fiat, and Brown simply filled the void. The idea the Brown stole the political momentum is farcical; Coakley had no momentum to begin with.

    The shift of independents, even in usually-comfortable blue states like the Commonwealth, is, in my opinion, going to define 2010, as it did for the two gubernatorial contests last November.

    • Both the NJ and VA gov races had other local issues that superceded any independent shift.

      This race at the very least tells Democrats – even “safe” Democrats – that they have to at least show up if they want to play the game.  Coakley had 19 public campaign appearances since the primary; Brown has made 66.  Who’s more interested in the job?  (Which is a different question from “what decisions would you like a politician to make once elected?”)

      • Laughing Boy says:

        That’s not what Coakley’s campaign is saying…

        The adviser pointed to internal polling to argue that Coakley held a wide — 20 point — lead on December 19, and that the damage she took between that survey and a January 5 Rasmussen poll putting the race at 9 points came from the national scene: The Senate vote on Health Care, with the controversy over Ben Nelson’s deal for Nebraska, and the Christmas Day bombing.

        Hehehe.  Popcorn is popping.

        • BlueCat says:

          the problem was the astoundingly stupid campaign and clueless candidate? She has actually been saying things like why bother going out and meeting voters since she can’t possibly meet them all.

          Her campaign seems to have been predicated, like HRC’s, on her inevitability. Even with that attitude, HRC still did all the hard dull work of attending meet and greet and handshaking events for the little people. Nobody worked harder than Hillary.

          If Coakley loses she will be remembered as the candidate who was so bad she couldn’t hang on to the safest Dem seat, Ted Kennedy’s, in the country. But don’t expect her own inept campaign ops to say so.      

        • That’s apparent.

          But they have a universal plan. So, It’s a bit early to say that the country will follow due to the Obama health plan.

          • Laughing Boy says:

            Well, not 80% of them that voted for Coakley.  The rest probably do, along with almost everyone else in the State.

            Ray, this version of Health Care ‘reform’ is dead.  The sooner you face that, the easier it will be for you.

  3. Laughing Boy says:

    There’s no exit polling.  How can anyone have any idea?

    I’m still in “I’ll believe it when I see it” mode, but if Brown wins, it’s party time.

    • sxp151 says:

      except the opposite. The switch from 10 points down to 10 points up in two weeks still blows my mind.

      Reminds me of Ned Lamont thinking that his Senate race was over after he won the primary.

      Just out of curiosity, if Brown loses this after polls showed him up by 9 or 10 as of this weekend, is it still a victory for Republicans? If he wins but only by 2 points, is it a victory for Democrats? Ever since pundits started explaining how this was a win for Brown even if he lost, I haven’t been able to figure out these rules. Is it like the Calvinball in NY-23, where it’s a win for Republicans under all circumstances?

      Anyway, you never took my bet offer on this race. How would you like to do a reverse bet: I’ll bet a beer on Brown and you bet on Coakley, and no matter what happens we both end up happy. 🙂

  4. Vincent Lynn says:

    If Coakly loses, the house passes the senate bill and avoids the vote.  Health care passes.  Republicans have a moral victory of sorts for winning Taxachusetts.

    If Coakly wins, the house passes almost the same bill as what came out of the senate. Health care passes. The Republicans have a moral victory for almost winning a state where they are outnumbered 4 to 1.  

    • It’s not health care that’s most in danger – though it’s certainly on the target list.

      The major problem for Democrats with a Coakley loss is that the Senate Republican strategy is to filibuster everything – including things they’d normally like – just to prevent the Democrats from gaining a good reputation for getting stuff done.  With Brown in the seat, they have 41 votes and can shut down any decision the Senate tries to make, excepting reconciliation items.

      • Vincent Lynn says:

        Right now the Republicans have the excuse of “there’s nothing we could’ve done to stop this terrible program (whether is health care, stimulus, or the RNC talking point of the week)”  With 41, they don’t have that excuse anymore.  If they did filibuster everything the next 9 months, they risk coming across as the party that doesn’t want to do anything.

        I do see your point that the vote today does alter the strategies for both parties moving forward.  I almost think it is more of a GOP win if Brown loses…then they can say they came close in Mass and still have the do nothing excuse.  

        • Laughing Boy says:

          Losing Ted Kennedy’s seat to the Republicans is exactly the perfect thing for the Dems.  They’ve probably had it planned for a long time, and the R’s are ‘stupidly’ playing right into the Dem’s hands.

          Oh. My. God. This is truly a great day of spinning on Pols.

          • sxp151 says:

            who said even if Brown loses, it’s a win for Republicans?

            As I recall you were also the guy who said losing NY-23 was a victory for Republicans.

            Good to see you’re shocked, shocked to find spin going on here.

            • Laughing Boy says:

              THis is a disaster for Dems, no matter how you look at it.

              In NY-23 we got rid of a pro-card-check goofball who was pretending to run as an R.  We’ll get that seat back soon enough.

              Plus, we won in NJ, and pretty much everything in VA.

              Since I joined Pols, I don’t know if the R’s have won a single thing.  Forgive me for being a little giddy.

          • Vincent Lynn says:

            It’s bad either way is what I’m saying…but it may be worse in the long run to keep the seat for the reasons I’ve mentioned.  

            Dems screwed up big time, in the campaign and in controlling their message nationally.    

          • BlueCat says:

            This particular spin is coming from someone who calls himself Dan Qualye.  Who knows.  Maybe it really is. Lets see if he can spell potato.

            • Vincent Lynn says:

              Nonetheless, Jack Kennedy would’ve liked my analysis.  

              • BlueCat says:

                I finally thought of something good that really could come out of a Dem loss in MA. The Dem leadership could say to Lieberman “Remember when you campaigned for the Republican candidate for president in 2008?  And remember how we just gave you a slap on the wrist for it and let you be chair of a a really important committee and kissed your butt because, with a Franken win, you’d give us that magic 60? And remember all the power that gave you? Remember how you got to be in charge of the health care bill in the Senate and how you got whatever you wanted?

                Well, it’s over pal. No more dreams of 60, for all the good it did us.  We’re screwed, so no more reason to keep kissing that sorry butt of yours, you little weasel.   No more chairmanships for you.   Not even a backseat on any desirable committee.  We’re done.  

                Now that would be the only silver lining I can see.  

                • Vincent Lynn says:

                  Democrats have compromised so much to get the 60 votes they needed that they are all damaged goods now.  If they would’ve just put together a strong, single payor bill that gets filibustered they can spin it to blame the Republicans and DINOs for not getting anything passed.  

                  Instead, they compromised everything to the point where the bill as it stands does very little to help anything.  So now, we have a bill that does nothing and only the Democrats are to blame.  Republicans played it smart and the Democrats made them look even better than they intended.    

                  • sxp151 says:

                    There are a lot of patient protections in the bill, and there are incentives for prices to go down. I’ll write a diary later about what a big deal this is, historically.

                    The bill is flawed and doesn’t do as much as it should, but there’s a huge difference between this bill passing and nothing passing.

                    And single payer WAS introduced in the Senate, I could count the number of cosponsors on my fingers. The Senate will not go for single payer.  

                    • Vincent Lynn says:

                      I’m sure you are referring to the Bernie Sanders addition.  That doesn’t count in my book.  I’m talking about a strong single payor bill from the get-go.  Only a handful supported the Sanders amendment because it didn’t have a chance to pass; not because of the content, but because of the timing and where the conversation had already progressed to.

                      I’d love to read your diary because knowing the bill well I would hardly call any of the patient protections ‘historic’.  

                    • sxp151 says:

                      back when the future was wide open and the sky was the limit. He also had single-digit support in the Senate.

                      You can get incrementally to single payer but not all at once. Not here.

                      P.S. Do you know how Canada ended up with single-payer?

                    • Vincent Lynn says:

                      But without knowing much about the Wellstone bill and the surrounding timing/environment, I would assume that it appeared in a very similar fashion to the Sanders amendment.  

                      My question to you is how does the Senate bill get us incrementally closer to single payor?  I would argue that it takes us incrementally one step further away than if nothing at all was done.  

                    • sxp151 says:

                      I think if the public option or the Medicare buy-in had been there, it’s easy to see it as a first (or third or fourth) step to single-payer. That was part of the reason it was removed. At this point I don’t know if it gets us closer or not.

                      Canada’s federal government actually did it all at once, but only because Saskatchewan did it first and ended up really happy with it. Currently a few states in the US have tried passing single-payer on the ballot or in the legislature, and none have succeeded. If we got it to work in a state or ten states, that would make it much easier to pass it federally.

                      But I think it hasn’t been true for many years that progressive change can come from above in this country.

                    • BlueCat says:

                      but what it does for middle l class Americans hasn’t been well explained at all. The coverage has gone to the deals made with insurers, hospitals, drug companies, conservative Dems, Lieberman and to the cost. None of this has resulted in any support from Republicans,  has been a constant string of disappointments to progressive Dems and the low information middle has no idea what, if anything, they will be getting out of it all.

                      The mistake this administration has made has been in believing that what people wanted most was an end to bi-partisan bickering.  That would be nice but the people were thoroughly sick of where the GOP years had brought us and what we really wanted was change .

                      They should have concentrated on demonstrating vigorous commitment to the change they promised, strong communication to the people as to what they would be getting out of that change and on pointing to the Rs as blocking what the people wanted at every turn the way the GOP so successfully painted Dems as the party of obstruction during the years they pushed through every damn thing they wanted.

                      If they had done so,  come up with a  good start healthcare bill, explained it so people could see how they would be better off and succeeded in getting  the public to clamour for it, then even if it failed to get the 60 votes, it would be the obstructionist Rs in trouble in 2010.

                      So, yeah change is going to have to be incremental but you aren’t going to get people to fight tooth and nail for a bill that the right hates, the  middle doesn’t like much and the left can barely bring themselves to support.

                    • Steve Harvey says:

                      rightly or wrongly, successfully or unsuccessfully (which will take years or decades to determine), Obama has his eye on deeper structural changes that can only be accomplished (in his opinion) by trying to be inclusive, by trying to cultivate a different climate and different tone. I don’t think he or anyone else expects tectonic shifts in how we engage in political discourse or conflict, but that he believes that marginal, imperceptible, but continual and self-sustaining change on that plane is the most important of all long-term accomplishments.

                      And I agree with him.

                    • Half Glass FullHalf Glass Full says:

                      Doesn’t exactly work on a bumper sticker.

                    • Steve Harvey says:

                      No, but we really have to stop limiting ourselves to collective aspirations that fit on bumper stickers!

                    • BlueCat says:

                      bumper sticker aspirations, we also cannot so ignore that aspect of political reality as to lose elections, congress, the White House and any possibility of taking any steps in the direction you, and possibly Obama, have in mind. And healthcare reform that people can understand enough to feel that they personally have something to gain from it is not mere bumper sticker cant.  The failure to communicate any such thing has been pretty abysmal.

                      And don’t forget, rage at the Bush regime and it’s pet GOP congress played a huge role in the 2006 and 2008 Democratic gains, culminating in the election of Obama and a Dem majority to support him.  It  wasn’t all about rainbows and unicorns and being  little flower children joining hands to sing. Not by a long shot.

                    • Steve Harvey says:

                      I still believe that being forever trapped in an almost exclusive focus on the short-term demands of realpolitik and crisis management is a condition to which we should not surrender, and that the daunting challenge of escaping that narrowing of our aspirations, to whatever extent we are capable of, will always be the most fundamental and significant of challenges facing us. One doesn’t have to trivialize the magnitude of the obstacles to recognize the magnitude of the benefits of surmounting them. (It has been a long time since I have held any illusions about the Coming of the Age of Aquarius…).

                    • BlueCat says:

                      getting people to understand how healthcare reform will benefit them personally in their day to day live thereby creating a broad, powerful demand for it and putting the Democratic President and congress forward as the champions who will fight for it for them?  

                      Since the only agenda the GOP has is the destruction of everything and anything the Democrats try to build, how is turning the tables and putting them on the defensive, short term crisis management.  

                      The truth is the GOP has had the Democrats on the defensive since the Reagan era and took it up a notch with Gingrich revolution. They still have the Democrats on the defensive with a Democratic majority and the White House.  That’s a very long term problem and until that long term problem is solved, nothing long term or short term can be accomplished.  

                      We can worry about more esoteric problems after we solve the very basic problem of taking charge and getting even a few important things done. Or do you prefer to keep losing and getting nothing but more Republicans in office? Would you like to see us back at square one because that’s where we’re headed if we don’t change course? Where will your esoteric changes be then?

                    • Steve Harvey says:

                      are relative terms, not absolute ones. I consider health care legislation to be immensely important, but that does not mean that it occupies the deepest levels of the ongoing human enterprise. And the suggestion that “we can worry about esoteric problems after we solve the very basic problem of…” is exactly what I was referring to when I wrote about being trapped in the demands of perpetual crisis and immediacy. It is not “either/or.” It is not that we cannot pay attention to the most fundamental and enduring of the challenges we face because they are too esoteric, and must instead remain forever trapped in the endless cycles of the political treadmill.

                      Look, BC, we can agree to disagree: No problem. But I remain adamant that failing to give some distribution of attention to challenges that are deeper and more enduring than ANY particular piece of impending legislation, or ANY immediate crisis of the balance of power between the two major parties, is the worst mistake we can possibly make. That’s an opinion, a value judgment: It’s not right or wrong, provable or disprovable. It’s simply a belief in both our long-term potential to do a qualitatively better job of governing ourselves, and in what it takes to get there.

                    • Steve Harvey says:

                      that I disagree with the assumption that we are losing because we are not taking charge. I believe that America is really a far more conservative nation than some acknowledge, that the center of gravity of popular ideology is far to the right of where you and I stand, and that any meaningful attempt to establish a leftward movement in our social policy was doomed to face such a backlash. I think that things probably could have been done better, but I doubt that any degree of deftness would have created the broad consensus in support of large scale health care reform that some insist was an opportunity missed. The right-moving reaction isn’t to the failure to articulate the message, but rather to the (near?) success of increasing government involvement in our health care sector, and elsewhere.

                      More importantly, I recognize two things that make it impossible for me to agree with this line of argument you are articulating, that is very popular now among some progressives: 1) I remain convinced that Obama is motivated by a sincere commitment to improving our social institutional landscape, informed by values and analyses very similar to those I adhere to, and 2) I recognize that I am his superior neither in intelligence nor in the breadth and depth of my commitment to the values we share.

                      Those two premises, that I accept as facts, combined, compel me with syllogistic inevitability to defer to some extent to judgments that others condemn, to acknowledge that the challenges that have been undertaken are far more difficult to meet than many are willing to recognize, and to make every effort to contribute steadfastly to a difficult long-term effort rather than to join the precipitous withdrawal of support that only serves to undermine our own goals.

                      I posted the following elsewhere, in the course of a similar conversation:

                      Challenges as deep and entrenched as those that the President is addressing require more from us than we are giving: More credit, more patience, more endurance, more perseverance, more sophistication, more insight, more deference, more support, more wisdom. And it requires less, as well: Less inflexibility, less false certainty, less imposition of shallow hubris. There are times to be up in arms in opposition to the lack of either good will or reason in a leader, and there are times to recognize that we, or some among us, are the current source of the lack of reason and good will. Conservatives are certainly an obstacle to progress in America, but not nearly as fatal an obstacle as progressives themselves. We are our own worst enemy, because we demand the impossible, and turn on those who don’t deliver it, even when they are striving with intelligence and skill to do what is possible, and to keep on doing it, in an unflagging commitment to real progress. That’s what we all need: An unflagging commitment, tempered by the knowledge that “change we can believe in” requires belief strong enough to survive disappointments along the way.

                    • BlueCat says:

                      fact that we can agree to disagree and there is not necessarily a right and wrong here. And I do disagree. We have allowed the GOP to be in charge of defining almost all issues for the American people and Democrats have been on the defensive.  Long term, short term, incremental, tonal, what have you… we will continue to be the party that can’t advance our agenda in any meaningful way as long as it’s the GOP who can so easily manipulate the whole framework of public opinion.  

                      They have succeeded in getting Democrats to  run away from the term liberal.  They continue to succeed in painting Democrats as less tough on security, less patriotic, less supportive of the troops, even when they are running a pair of chicken hawks against a decorated war hero.  

                      In spite of all data showing economic gains under Dem administrations and the very recent economic debacles that directly resulted from Bush policy, they continue to paint Democrats as the tax and spend party that costs America jobs with all of their silly regulations. They continue to convince the public that tax breaks for the rich that have been in place throughout our economic free fall are the prescription for saving us.  In spite of the very recent exponential expansion of government under Bush they continue to paint Dems as the party of big government. In spite of the boom years for small business under Clinton and the devastation of the Bush era they manage to paint themselves as the party that best represents the interests of small business. They easily convince people that health care reform  will  not help them.   It is in this sense that they have long been firmly in charge and in this sense that we cannot keep conceding and survive as anything but also rans with brief gains fueled by rage over misgovernment the GOP is so good at re-writing right out of history for a public with no longer term memory than a gnat.

                      Who is the “we” you expect to be so wise and patient?  if it is the majority that wins elections, I think you are seriously misinformed about the nature of the average voter. If not, then what do you suggest apart from an eternal weak but self satisfied minority opposition?

                      We have to ask ourselves why to Republicans are so successful in defining reality for the public and forcing us into the position of essentially claiming to be almost like Republicans, just as fiscally responsible, just as tough, just as good for jobs and small business, just as fill-in-the-blank. We have to find ways to knock them out of the position of being the standard with ourselves just hoping to be forgiven for being liberal, wimpy, latte drinking, soft on security, bad for business elites.

                      Our 2006 and 2008 gains were the result of angry dissatisfaction more than anything else.  It took the GOP a while to get back in the groove but they are back and doing their usual fine job of defining reality and directing that rage towards the Democrats.  

                      They are lousy at governing but they are so good at manipulative messaging that they are already recovering, already re-writing recent history for a low information public, already putting Dems on defense and here we go again.  

                      Being self righteous about our inability to create easy to understand narratives in a complicated world because we are so damned superior does not change the fact that those who succeed in creating those easy to understand narratives get the most votes, over and over again.  Obama succeeded with the simple message of change we can believe in. He is not succeeding in explaining why people aren’t seeing that change in ways they can recognize and 2008 is already many gnat years away.    

                      It’s not about not being able to survive disappointments. It’s about facing the reality of what will and what will not stop the steady drip, drip, drip of disappointment after disappointment after disappointment.  Nothing succeeds like success and if we can’t produce at least some that is easy to understand and immediately apparent, we will no longer have to worry about your subtleties in the very near future because we will be out and the GOP will be back in.

                      That’s what being in charge means, what successful leadership means and you are very wrong if you think we are going to accomplish anything short, mid, long, longer, or even off-in-some-utopian-future term without the balls to do it. No. Things will go from bad to worse.  They will not get incrementally better. Cerebral niceness is  clearly not going to get us where we want to go on any schedule.

                      And please just let me know if your read this.  I’m sure no one else will.  But I’ve slogged through all of yours so please return the favor.

                    • Steve Harvey says:

                      establish what we do agree on (which is a lot):

                      1) We agree that we want the country to move in the direction normally defined as “progressive” or “liberal,” that means using all of our social institutions tools (including, but not exclusively, government) to improve the quality of life by multiple measures (with more emphasis on social justice than our opponents would allow).

                      2) We agree that we should do what it takes to accomplish this, balancing short-term, medium-term, and long-term objectives. We want improvement now, and we want to keep on improving indefinitely, as much and as fast and as far as possible.

                      3) We agree (and this is crucial) that the most critical political battlefield is the human mind, and that we have to fight and win the battle over “memes.” And you’re right: Creating easy to understand narratives is important, and we have not done a good enough job of it. It is a crucial part of a larger overarching set of challenges

                      What we disagree on is what actually accomplishes these goals most effectively, most enduringly, and most certainly, and how much we should surrender to immediate political exigencies/expediencies, and how much we strive to transcend current deep-structural deficiencies.

                      I really do understand your argument. It makes sense. And there is a lot of truth to it. But “balls” isn’t all it takes, and the political reality of our country is that it’s a lot easier to be an armchair quarterback than to actually be on the field calling and executing good plays.

                      The funny thing is, I’m a pragmatist! I’m not defending some pie-in-the-sky commitment to emotionally gratifying purism, but rather opposing it. I’m looking for what it takes to get the job done. But I’m keeping in mind that it doesn’t just matter where we are tomorrow, but also 10, 20, 30, and a hundred years from now (assigning an appropriately “discounted” value to potential future outcomes, in  proportion to their distance in the future, as economists would say). And I’m keeping in mind how complex the challenges really are.

                      What we fundamentally disagree on, I think, is our role in the process. I refer you back to what I posted earlier about humility: We need to get people into office who we think have the values, intelligence, and abilities to advance the policy agenda we favor, and then support them in their efforts, even when we disagree with them on certain particulars, unless and until we have good reason to believe that our original evaluation of them was wrong.

                      It’s clear to me that my original evaluation of Obama was not wrong: He’s more intelligent than me, and is sincerely committed to the same values and goals. He’s also on the field, aware of all of the variables in play, and doing the best he can to advance those values and goals. And he has my complete and unflagging support.

                      A response to Dwyer on this thread, and the ensuing conversation.

                    • BlueCat says:

                      your original evaluation of Obama is not wrong.

                      “Balls” isn’t all it’s going to take but a balls free, “please be reasonable,  spend a lot of time researching the issues and watching C-span and I’m sure you’ll eventually see my point” approach hasn’t worked and does not promise to work any time soon, as in the next several decades at least.

                      We do need to support those we elect to office even though we can’t always agree with them but when we see them  trying to reach goals on which we do agree in an ineffectual manner we need to try to persuade them that they are in error and need to try a different tack.

                      We need to be cognizant of the fact that the GOP has been much better at defining terms and debates, creating and promoting successful narratives, learn from their successes vs our failures in these areas in order to find broad favor for our messages, as they have been doing so well for decades.

                      The American people do NOT like perceived softness in their leaders. As demonstrated by the long period of faith in Bush,  the people will forgive a lot, including not being overly bright or well-informed, if they think a leader is tough enough to protect them.  

                      Thanks for reading and responding:)

                    • Steve Harvey says:

                      and I’m pretty sure we’d converge completely. Thanks for making me see your point: It was worth the effort. I still feel more atuned to what Obama is doing than you feel, and am not ready to declare it “ineffectual” in the grand scheme of things. I think there’s more genius in his “madness” than is always readily evident, and, while there are risks involved, still believe that they are risks worth taking.

                      My one final takeaway: Our (progressives’) solidarity is important, too. Urge, cajole, suggest, and exhort, but be willing in the end to defer as well. Let’s make sure the message we send while expressing divergent views is that we are unflaggingly committed to shared goals, and will not readily abandon the people we put in positions of power to advance those goals.

                    • BlueCat says:

                      If some of our on-line friends are having trouble sleeping we can refer them to this exchange.

                    • BlueCat says:

                      he hasn’t done such a hot job of getting his message out. He is already changing tone with a muscular, populist approach to explaining his proposed rules for separating commercial and investment banking.

                • DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

                  …You cant give thumbs up like on the Post site.

                  Lieberman can screw off!

      • DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

        ….rev up reconcilliation.

        It’s time the Dems grew some balls.

        After 8 years of Rove/DeLay hardball, hope and change just looks like Jimmy Carter redux.  How does Rahm Emmanuel let the Whitehouse be the falling leave on the breeze of the Republican wind?  Let’s ram some stuff through cause we can.

        • eddys says:

          Yes, by all means ram away…then see how your party will be relegated to secondary status for years to come jeopardizing the larger and more ambitious progressive agenda as the independents and squishy RINO’s, who were instrumental in Obama’s ascendency to President, revolt en masse in response to this tone deaf and, dare I say, audacious move.  Incidentally, for all the writhing from liberals about the Bush Administration, how is this any different than what you complained about for the last 8 years? Or, do the ends justify the means – at least on the issues you covet?

          • DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

            how to work with an oppositon who has no interest in cooperating with anything, and has no problem lying about your agenda.

            The “bipartisan” cumbaya of Obama doesn’t work.  The only thing Rpublicans understand is force.

            • Laughing Boy says:

              Go with reconciliation. Please.

            • eddys says:

              Let’s see if I understand your argument…the bad republicans won’t let us pass our legislation despite having majorities in the house and a filibuster proof senate and the political good will from the 2008 election? Wow.  It’s seems to me that you have a real issue with the facts yourself.  

              And, please spare me the sanctimonious hyperbole about “lies.”  Those on both sides of the isle engage in lying, misstating the facts and convenient ominous of information.    I would have thought a progressive such as yourself would live more closely to the liberal creed of embracing ideas from all – unfortunately, you digress into a diatribe about lies rather than acknowledge there are legitimate disagreements to the approaches to fixing the problem.  

              • We had a very fractious 59 most days of the week, with Lieberman being a vote against reform of any sort more often than for it.

                As for who’s trying to solve the problem: when Sen. DeMint is out there promoting killing health care reform of any sort as a means of tarnishing Obama’s reputation, and Sen. Snowe creates a moving target and eventually declares she won’t vote for HCR at all, I’d say that Republicans are certainly a major part of the problem.

                The only solution I’ve heard from Republicans consistently is: race to the bottom in regulation by allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines (they already operate in multiple states – they just can’t avoid state regulations under current law), tort reform (malpractice costs are <2% of total medical costs), and alter the balance that favors employer-based health insurance (the only possibly good idea, and one included in some way in both HCR bills…).  If that’s all Republicans are willing to put forward and “compromise” on, it’s full of FAIL and there’s no reason to work across the aisle at all.

              • DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

                Calling “Death Panels” from Palin and “Pulling the plug on Granny” from Grassley lies is not “sanctimonious hyperbole” nor are they “ideas” to be embraced.  That you pretend to know anything about a “progressive such as (my)self” is douchebaggery.

                Have a nice day.

    • sxp151 says:

      If Brown wins, the House tries to pass the Senate bill as is and hopes and prays that the Senate will do what they should have done all along (i.e., write a good bill and use reconciliation). That will most likely not happen at all, so we’ll end up with a much worse bill.

      If Coakley wins, the House improves the bill and sends it back, and after Lieberman and Nelson saw what their childish antics did to their approval ratings, they’ll step in line and pass whatever the House passes.

    • DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

      …for the crappy abortion language.

      Nelson is better than Stupak.

  5. colorado76 says:

    Prospects of a possible Republican upset in Massachusetts’ special election for the late Edward Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat lifted major managed-care stocks and pressured hospital shares Tuesday.

    . . . .

    The health-care legislation–being negotiated and moving closer to final passage after months of rancor and compromise–is viewed as risky for health-insurer profits, even though it promises to bring companies millions of additional health-plan members. Hospitals caring for large numbers of uninsured patients are seen as benefiting from an expansion of health coverage to millions more Americans.

    I think the stock market actually cuts through the rhetoric on health care reform better than anyone.  If the Senate Bill (or a slightly modified version coming out of conference) is such a gift to insurers, its odd that people who specialize in insurance companies think their profits are in danger if the bill passes.  

    • Froward69 says:

      rather “silent anticipation”.

    • Vincent Lynn says:

      I wouldn’t trust investors knee jerk reactions to judge who will benefit from the health bill.  Just as stocks tend to go down the day a Dem president is elected, but up higher over the term of the president, I think that investors know very little about how policy decisions are going to affect investments.  They are trusting what they hear in the media, which sounds negative for the health insurers, but working in the industry, I can tell you that the Senate Bill is even better than the best-case scenario for the insurance industry.  In short…if the stocks are down, I’d buy now because they will be going up tremendously in the next 3 years.

      • colorado76 says:

        and you may be right.  But the judgment on the effect of the bill isn’t knee-jerk, they’ve had months to deal with the concepts involved.  That judgment led to the notion that the bill is bad for insurance profits.

        I understand you think they’re wrong and you’re right, but at the moment they’ve put their money (and, for many, a piece of their careers) where their mouth is, so its hard to dismiss out of hand too quickly.

        • Vincent Lynn says:

          No, I see your point and I don’t entirely dismiss their analysis.  However, I’d point out that stocks going up and down in large numbers may have less to do with the moves of the small number of educated analysts who’ve done months of analysis and more to do with the masses of less involved investors trusting their emotional reaction to health bill saga.  

    • sxp151 says:

      despite there being a pretty open process on a health care bill.

      But I’m sure the random fluctuations of one day of a few stocks mean more than any long-term trend.

      Honest to God, and I’ve said this before, the continual attempts to read some kind of “collective intelligence” into mostly random fluctuations in the market is the single most annoying example of innumeracy. Reporters need a story every day, but the market doesn’t make sense, so they have to make something up based on their preconceived notions. Financial reporting is the most worthless type of reporting.

      Here’s a clue: if financial reporters had any idea what was actually going on, wouldn’t they be able to make predictions based on that, and thereby make a lot of money that other people couldn’t? Instead it’s all hindsight, and the story is always either a direct consequence of the news or happening in spite of the news because it’s Tuesday the 13th and Ben Bernanke sneezed.

      It’s exactly as stupid as making a claim about global warming based on only one year of temperature data, and for exactly the same reason. Long term trends matter and are usually explainable. Daily fluctuations are not. And don’t get me started on the people who monitor the DJIA second-by-second while Obama is giving a speech, those people deserve to repeat the 3rd grade.

      • colorado76 says:

        I’ll concede to both you and DQ 08 to the extent that either or both of the following is true: (1) investors in insurance companies don’t really understand insurance companies and what will make them profitable; or (2) the Wall Street Journal’s reporting on why investors acted the way they did on any given day is completely bogus and no better than throwing a dart at a wall.

        The original point stands though if neither is true, or only partially true.

        • Vincent Lynn says:

          Although he’s not a WSJ reporter, I think he’s not much more or less in the know than any of the WSJ staff.  

          As to your first point, I would say a lot of investors don’t really know.  I did concede that there definitely investors who know the ins and outs of the bill and the insurance industry, and those ones I would bet are buying still.  Same with the finance people inside the industry.  But the largest portion of ‘investors’ that are responsible for these big movements base decisions on emotions, reactions, and short term trading trends.  

        • sxp151 says:

          (1) is partly true, but MUCH more driven by mob psychology, preconceived notions, and dart-throwing.

          (2) is absolutely true.

    • Steve Harvey says:

      been rising all year, throughout the looming prospect of this impending legislation, but, perhaps speaking more directly to your point: Part of the issue of reform is curtailing the windfall profits to Health Insurers, which means, incidentally, curtailing the windfall profits to the holders of shares of Health Insurance Companies.

      Of course their stock prices will get a bump at the prospect of such legislation failing, and take a dip at the prospect of such legislation passing! How do you think stocks in the slave trade would have done (had they existed) as the ebbs and flows of abolition affected their prospects? Stock values, and particular particular stock values in particular industries, are not the measure of the public interest; they are the measure of returns on particular investments.

      And if the purpose of a piece of legislation is to get the returns on a particular kind of investment under control (because they represent regressive and socially dysfunctional transfers of wealth), then, Sherlock, you can bet that stock prices will reflect angst at that prospect.

      • colorado76 says:

        There are many who have labeled the Senate bill as a gift to insurers, but you would seem to agree above that, if this story provides any evidence, it would indicate that it is not.  That’s the conversation I was having with the two people above, who disagreed and made cogent points, all without calling anyone grade school names or anything.

        • Steve Harvey says:

          Calling you “Sherlock” was clearly beneath the dignity of this forum, and an unforgivable use of harsh language.

          Second, I was misled by your topic heading, which suggests that the stock prices reflect a judgment of the REFORM, rather than merely a judgment on how it might affect health insurance profits. If your only point is that health reform designed, primarily, to simultaneously control costs and expand services (to more people) is likely to reduce profits, then, just on the face of it, I’d say “of course.” Controlling waste means reducing unnecessary expenditures which means reducing the transfers of money which insurers skim which means reducing profits. I haven’t been following that side of it very closely, so Dan Quayle and sxp may well have insights into that that I don’t. But it would surprise me if this reform were actually going to improve health insurance company profitability.

          But if you’re not raising that as an indictment of reform, what are you raising it as? Just to debunk the position of those on the far left who want to reject this legislation because they think that it is a gift to insurers rather than a gift to the public? In other words, you are voicing your support of the bill?

          Okay, then, we’re in complete agreement! Pass the pipe.

          • colorado76 says:

            I was suggesting that, to the extent the linked article could be relied upon, it cut against the idea that the bill is a gift to insurers (an idea that enjoys support beyond just the far left).

            And as for the language we choose to use and the way we treat each other in the forum, all I’m saying is that if we’re going to be in this story together, we might as well write it well.

  6. From the Coakley campaign:

       We’ve received several independent and disturbing reports of voters across the state being handed ballots that are already marked in favor of Scott Brown.  This is obviously a serious violation, and our legal team is taking immediate steps to protect the integrity of this election.

       We do not yet know why this is happening, but you and everyone you know needs to be aware of the situation so that you can carefully inspect your ballot.  If a vote has already been marked, you must return the ballot to the elections official, demand a clean ballot, and call our Voter Protection Hotline at 617-351-6866.

    Bad form, Teabaggers Partiers.

    • Laughing Boy says:

      Is that it was filed yesterday.

      She can’t even complain correctly!


      • sxp151 says:

        I know MA is in a different time zone, but it’s not across the date line.

        • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

          LB, what the hell are you talking about? Or are you just covering for fraud and contempt for the process…again…because it’s your team doing it?

          Lame, as always.

          • Laughing Boy says:

            They changed it.

            Here’s the HotAir post with the cached screenshot.

            Back atcha, JB.

            • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

              So a typo on the complaint about vote-rigging is more interesting than the vote-rigging alleged in the complaint?

              And you wonder why I find you contemptible, LB? The prosecution rests.

              • Laughing Boy says:

                Apparently the prosecution has rested on these goofy faux complaints.  Do you find him contemptible as well?

                he Massachusetts secretary of state is discounting reports of voter irregularities in the state’s Senate special election.

                A spokesman for Secretary of State William Galvin said Tuesday two reports of spoiled ballots could not be verified or found to be widespread.

                In one case, someone voting in Cambridge claimed a ballot had already been marked for Republican Scott Brown. There was no way to verify the claim, but the ballot was destroyed.

                In another case, a person in Boston reported finding a ballot inside a privacy folder also marked for Brown. Officials say it may have been left inadvertently by an earlier voter.

            • cologeek says:

              So the Brown campaign was able to pre-mark the ballots that the Coakley people were stuffing into the ballot boxes a day early?  How despicable!

  7. Born To Run says:

    The Menino Machine is turning out the vote in Boston. They expect 55% + to vote in Boston.

    Coaxley wins by two points.

  8. WesternSlopeThought says:

    but does anyone know if they had early voting or absentee ballots?  And what percentage does that make up if they do?

    “The days of McCain and McInnis are over.”   -Don Bain, former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party

    • Dan WillisDan Willis says:

      From  what I could find surfing around on the web, there is absentee voting, but it does not seem to be as widely popular as it is here, it appears most people vote at the polls.

      I could find no reference to early voting in this election.

        • Dan WillisDan Willis says:

          With absentee there seems to be truely treated as “absentee” – ie, it is too hard for me to get to the polling place, so I am voting by mail, you would expect an older population to be voting by mail. This tends to favor the GOP.

          However, big turnout at the polls tends to demonstrate an interest by younger voters, which in turns tends to favor Dems.

          Younger voters also skew poll results because they tend to not be considered “likely voters” as much and therefore are not polled as much.

  9. Laughing Boy says:

    This day just keeps getting better.  The polls haven’t even closed and we get this response to an anonymous Coakly staffer who said the D.C. D’s didn’t help until it was too late:

    The campaign failed to recognize this threat, failed to keep Coakley on the campaign trail, failed to create a negative narrative about Brown, failed to stay on the air in December while he was running a brilliant campaign. It’s wishful thinking from a pollster, candidate and campaign team that were caught napping and are going to allow one of the worst debacles in American political history to happen on their watch that they are at the 11th hour are going to blame others.

    Before the DNC and DSCC got involved there was barely a single piece of paper on what the narrative is on Brown. The candidate in this race and the campaign have been involved in the worst case of political malpractice in memory and they aren’t going to be able to spin themselves out of this with a memo full of lies.

    What if she wins?  They must think she has zero chance, eh?

  10. A-bob says:

    Brown 53.9%, Coakley 45.1%, Kennedy 1.8%

    My originial was 51.8% Brown, 47.3% Coakley and 0.9% Kennedy. But Kennedy probably will get more with 1) tea party support and 2) dumb people who only see his last name

  11. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    I read somewhere that the networks didn’t set up exit pols because this was supposed to be a gimme. And by the time they realized it wasn’t, they didn’t have time to do so.

    I also think I read that there were 100K absentee ballots requested by voters.

  12. sxp151 says:

    From TPM:

    Brown     R 54%  3,947

    Coakley   D 45%  6,931

    Kennedy   I 1%     123

    Fun! I can’t place it, but there seems something slightly fishy about these numbers.

  13. Jambalaya says:

    Who is this tone-deaf little person and why is he into Cosmo centerfolds?

  14. Born To Run says:

    Rasmussen was the first public poll to show the trend moving in Brown’s direction.  

    • …showed Coakley with a 2 point lead.  It was the last poll of any sort of notoriety to show her with a lead.  And yet we still hear how biased Rasmussen is.  They predict Obama’s victory within 1%, and they predict accurate margins in VA and NJ, and are to the left of accurate in Massachusetts, and we’re to believe that they aren’t to be trusted?  That they’ve got a conservative/”right wing” bias?

      In the words of a great blogger, that’s “triple snort worthy.”

  15. Laughing Boy says:

    Wow.  Now that was an ass kicking.

  16. This is what happens when the left decides to stay home. Now we’ll get nothing without a miracle, and it’s Hooverville for the next decade

  17. Laughing Boy says:

    The Blue Dogs are already barking!

       “There’s going to be a tendency on the part of our people to be in denial about all this,” Bayh told ABC News, but “if you lose Massachusetts and that’s not a wake-up call, there’s no hope of waking up.”…

       “The only we are able to govern successfully in this country is by liberals and progressives making common cause with independents and moderates,” Bayh said. “Whenever you have just the furthest left elements of the Dem party [see: Colorado Pols posters] attempting to impose their will on the rest of the country – that’s not going to work too well.

    • This race means nothing, just like the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races meant nothing. Now, NY-23! That race was the defining moment of American politics. It showed that Americans reject the hatemongers. The Republican party is dead, dead, I tell you! It’s the ONLY race that matters. Massachusetts was just a regional thing…

      Seriously, Bayh may have a point, but he now has to choose between moderating the party and alienating the administration.

      • Laughing Boy says:

        One of the safest D seats in the country, left open by the passing of the ‘Lion of the Senate’ who championed the effort on Health Cate reform…gets handed to an obscure R in a complete walk?

        This is the end of Cap and Trade.  This is the end of EFCA.  Thankfully, this is the death of this crappy health care bill.  And I think it’s the beginning of the end of Obama’s Presidency.

  18. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    My wife is probably like most of your spouses – no interest in politics and never brings it up as I bring it up more than enough for her.

    Tonight she asks about “that election back East somewhere.” When I told her the Republican won, she expressed concern that this is going to be bad.

    This might be helpful in getting the non-political on the left to actually vote come November.

  19. Stagarite says:

    …when Dems play bait-and-switch. Welcome to the Hopium hangover as business-as-usual Dems double down on capitulation.

  20. If this does not lift the blue fog I don’t know what will.

  21. Laughing Boy says:

    They’re chanting “yes we can!” at Browns victory speech.

    Finally!  Actual HopeandchangeВ®!

  22. fatboy says:

    the real lesson here is not to make laws that you don’t want the opposition to use against you.  Had Mass. not enacted this special election law in 04 to prevent an R Gov from appointing a senator to replace Kerry today a D Gov could have appointed a replacement for Teddy and maintained the 60.

  23. Dodd, Dorgan, Ritter, and now the bluest of the blue, Massachusetts.

    I think in light of tonight’s results, it’s time for Pols to redraw the “Big Line”…I’d start by putting one of Besty Markey’s challengers at 7-1 or lower.

    Some people have mentioned “nothing is automatic.”  Then maybe Eddie P’s 2-1 odds ought to be reconsidered as well.

    ; )

  24. Laughing Boy says:

    Where is everyone that said this was good for the Dems?

    JeffcoBlue?  Where for art thou? It’s so quiet in here…

  25. There’s a lot of stuff on this page, so I’ll keep it short and to the point.  Yes, Martha Coakley was a bad candidate.  She made some gaffes that would make Joe Biden go “Man, what an idiot?!?!”  She had only slightly more personality than Scott Brown’s new colleague in the Massachusetts Senate delegation.

    But all that doesn’t make up for even half of the point difference and the last few Mass. Senate elections.  The last time Ted or John Kerry ran, they each more than doubled their Republican opponents.  It takes a fundamental anger among voters nationwide to cause something like this to happen.  The only reason Coakley ever even had to start campaigning is because national angst over the Obama agenda sent independents running the opposite direction, which resulted in polling that forced her to get back to the trail.

    Doesn’t matter how you spin this…it’s a message that Democrats across the country will get.  While you sit in your living room thinking up all the twisted logic that results in saying something along the lines of “If Obama hadn’t come, it would’ve been a landslide [for Brown],” the politicians whose jobs are on the line in November are taking it to heart.  Expect some retirements and some backtracking from the 100 or so Democrats whose jobs could be at stake.

    • Barron X says:


      my guess, Massachusetts voters felt obligated to vote for Ted Kennedy, what with his brothers getting killed and all.  They felt sorry for him, for 40 years.  he was famous, and kept the Commonwealth in the news, and presumably on the gravy train.  

      They had to vote for him, and they did their duty.

      But when straight man David Gergen set Brown up for his “-I- paid for this microphone” “its the people’s seat” moment during the debate, voters suddenly realized that they subconsciously resented having to vote for some aristocrat they didn’t like and didn’t respect.  

      Just as Obama won by running as “not-Bush,” Brown won by running as “not an elitist who is entitled by birth to the seat.”

      Of course, Coakley was not running as Ted Kennedy; Kirk was appointed as the Teddy Kennedy surrogate, vowing not to run for the seat.  But Coakley positioned herself as the successor to the Kennedy line, and voters realized, after Brown told them that they could vote for whoever they wanted to vote for, that they didn’t have to vote for her.  

      I believe Reagan won the 1980 GOP primary primarily because of his spontaneous demand to be allowed to speak through a mike he literally paid to use.  I think if I was susceptible to voting on optics rather than substance, I might have voted for him my own darn self.  

      Likewise, I think you can attribute tonight’s GOP win to the “this isn’t the Kennedy seat, and this isn’t the Democrats’ seat …”  Of course, it sounded rehearsed, and I think he planned to use it at some point in the debate, even if it was forced, but having Gergen set him up made it really go over well with voters.

      I don’t think national health care, or Obama, or any national politics played any part.  Brown was devilishly clever to tap into a resentment that voters didn’t even know they felt.


      • cologeek says:

        Both my mother and my sister lived in Massachusetts for a time (my sister and her family escaping to Arizona last fall), and they both usually vote Dem and both disliked Teddy.  He was the ultimate “legacy” polititian.

        But I think you’re missing the loss of popularity that the Dems are experiencing right now.  We have almost 1 in 5 Americans right now out of work and the Party in power seems to be focusing on one thing only.  And it isn’t the creation of jobs.  

        • parsingreality says:

          As Paul Krugman has pointed out, we are heading for 1937 all over again.  Pull back just when there is a glimmer of, pardon me, hope.  

          The nations that dumped a lot more into their economies per capita are taking off again.  OTOH, we are going to stagnate and will have A Sorta Jobless But Not In The Tank Recovery due to the scared of their own shadows Dems and the Just Say No Pubs.

          I’m fed up with American politics.  NO ONE has any guts, it’s all about either appeasement or blocking.

        • Steve Harvey says:

          Funny, it seems to me to be the party out of power that believes the deficit is more pressing than stimulus spending, and stimulus spending (which the party in power has done to a rather large extent) is the only tool in government’s kit for creating jobs.

          Republicans are against big government, except when it is either in service to military aggression abroad or to the wealthiest Americans at home; or when they can exploit their own obstruction of its use by blaming the other party for the consequences of not using it.

          • cologeek says:

            with the idea that the only way to create and save jobs is for the government to take money from the economy, filter it through the government and then taking what’s left and putting it back in the economy, with whoever donated the most to the Democrats getting the lions share.

            This didn’t work last year in creating jobs, it won’t work this year either.  I have a novel idea, get government out of the way of employers, stop putting unfunded mandates on them, and let them grow their business unfettered.

            Oh, I forgot that capitalism is evil.

            Democrats have no use for business except when they can plunder it for the bloated programs that no one besides themselves want.

            • Froward69 says:

              The key to reviving prosperous economy is the FDR model. not the mistakes but the triumphs. does that mean Taxing those that have more than enough to survive… Yes.

              does that mean bailing out Banks and Big business… No.

              it means investing in the country as a whole. a “Main street” stimulus to be brief.

              We all have seen republicans guilty of the same cronyism more often laid on Democrats. this is nothing new.

              Capitalism is not bad, Greed is. Democrats believe in business. in fact Democrats believe in small business more so than corporatism. As it is small business that creates more jobs.

              Republicans say they abhor governmental programs yet are more often than not, at the front of the line… Does

              “Keep government out of my medicare” ring a bell?

              • cologeek says:

                I was against TARP, the stimulus, the bailout/takover of GM and Chrysler, and Cash for Clunkers.  I think that “Too big to fail” is complete BS.  If we had to dig deep to pay depositors at banks that failed, I would consider that a proper use of my tax funds under the FDIC.  I’m not on Medicare even though my taxes pay for it, and I doubt that either it or Social Security will be there for me despite my having paid for it just like those elderly who you apparently want to abuse.

            • Steve Harvey says:

              that it makes sense to demand of government that it create jobs, because the best way to create jobs is for government not to try to create jobs. gotchya. It is convenient to both say that government can’t and shouldn’t do something, and that government should then be blamed for not doing it. But it’s not very helpful. And that is pretty much what Republicans are all about now, isn’t it? Scoring political points while contributing nothing to addressing problems and challenges.

              • cologeek says:

                I said that they weren’t paying attention to what is really forefront of most Americans.  I sure as hell didn’t say that the best way to create jobs was the government not create them.  I said they should get the hell out of the way so that those who know what they are doing (ie the people running the businesses that actually produce goods and services).

                You won’t really listen to your constituents in the unholy event you actually get elected will you?  You’ll just talk down to them and treat them as the inferiors you believe them to be.

                • Steve Harvey says:

                  You complained that the party in power isn’t doing anything about job creation. I replied that your party has opposed the party in power doing anything about job creation. You responded with all sorts of assertions about what I believe and stand for that I haven’t said in this thread or anywhere else. I responded by pointing out the contradiction in complaining that the party in power hasn’t done anything about job creation, while asserting that the party in power can’t and shouldn’t do anything about job creation. You responded that you never demanded that the government create jobs (though, in fact, you did say in the first post I responded to that Americans are upset about unemployment, and that the Democratic Party isn’t doing anything about that problem), and then went on, arbitrarily, about who I won’t listen to my constituents (even though, apparently, I have listened to you more carefully than you have listened to yourself), and so on, and so forth.

            • redstateblues says:

              But you guys called it socialism.

            • Steve Harvey says:

              1) No one said that capitalism is evil. If you paid attention to what I say instead of to the bite-size stereotypes and platitudes that you replace reality with, you would know that I am a huge fan of market dynamics, that I believe markets are robust producers of wealth, and can often be tapped to be robust internalizers of the externalities that they produce when left unmanaged.

              2) Having taken the trouble to study and contemplate economics (and related disciplines), rather than buying a cheap knock-off out of the bubble-gum machine called right-wing talk radio, I know that the world is a complex and subtle place, that it isn’t reducible to the simplistic platitudes that ideologues on both the far-left and far-right rely on, and that real analyses involve recognition of how a wide array of social institutional modalities are implicated in our economy, how a modern market economy absolutely requires a complex regulatory architecture to function efficiently and effectively, and how meaningful policy discussions have to consider those complexities and pay attention to the details of specific applications.

              3) You can’t argue a point by arguing a counterfactual: There is absolutely no way of knowing how the stimulus affected job creation, because there is no way of knowing what the rate of job growth or loss would have been in its absence. The only thing we do know is that the economy as a whole has performed far better than almost any independent analytical projection predicted a year ago.

              4) Human beings, Democrats and Republicans both, engage in a nasty business called “politics.” Some of them engage in it trying to improve the quality of life for all, and some trying to enrich themselves, and some a little bit of both. Some rely on reason, some on dogma, and some on what feathers their nest. Deals are made, inefficiency is rife, and so on, and so forth. For anyone to pretend that either political party has a monopoly on this reality is an engagement in, rather than refutation of, the less admirable face of that process.

              5) The challenges we face require something more than government getting out of the way. They require a portfolio of policies and a balance of approaches, including a recognition both of the vitality of markets and the reality of market failures. People who study law and economics are completely unable to maintain your degree of single-minded fanaticism, because it just doesn’t fit the realities of the world in which we live. Instead, we recognize the need to deal with a messy and complex world, one which does not reduce to nifty little panaceas that magically maximize human welfare. The abrigation of responsibility embedded in the mantra that all is well when humans don’t use their primary vehicle for nationwide collective action is self-destructive and devoid of historical, economic, or legal literacy.

        • Barron X says:


          That would have torqued me off, as a voter:

          “Vote however you want, but the Democrats in the US Senate will ignore your vote if you choose the wrong candidate.”


          After the Dems controlling the state legislature spoke openly about changing the law yet again on appointing a replacement because the change in 2004, anticipating Kerry’s departure, no longer suited their interests ?

          Politicians can hold voters in contempt privately, and there’s no harm.  But it may be unwise to go on TV and proclaim that the Party will do whatever it wants to, regardless of the will of the voters.  That could backfire.


  26. Pam Bennett says:

    Looks like the next wave for campaigning will be nude shots on Facebook and YouTube. Damn that means I gotta get back on the diet.

    There are very few politicians I even care to think about running around in their birthday suits. Uck. The state of politics now that the Dems gave up the greatest Dem percentage for the greatest Dem percentage.

  27. SSG_Dan says:

    I’ve missed most of this discussion last night, and I’ve only skimmed the remainder of it this morning. ANd the spin, even by Pols standards, is dizzying…on both sides.

    Bottom line up front – a fairly good candidate beat a so-so arrogant candidate. One worked harder than the other, and the national debate on health care had BUMPKUS do to with the final numbers.

    So, as Dems, we need to stop grousing at the childish celebration I’ve heard on the other side of the spectrum. Libertad’s stupid shit will remain exactly that, and while LB has some good points on this, let him act like 7-yr old for a while. We got our ass handed to us, and we need to learn from the experience.

    In that sense, I’m glad the Repubs won this election.   Had this been Nov 2010, it’s very likely one chamber of the gov’t would’ve shifted over.  This is the bitch-slap that this Party needed to get off it’s collective ass.

    The other good thing is, the Dems no longer had a filibuster-proof majority. I’ve got news for you – THEY NEVER DID. As long as they kept kissing Turncoat Joe’s ass, they never were going to go forward with the Dems’ stated agenda.

    So now, we can hand Turncoat Joe a cardbox box and tell him to clean out his Committee Chairman desk. Thanks Joe, go join the super-minority in the back. And STFU in the meantime.

    With that, let’s go – let’s have the vote on health care in the Senate. Let’s get our shit together and get the message out on this bill. If the Repubs want a filibuster – give it to them. While it’s happening, run an ad that says “While the Republican Party is blocking health care reform, xxxxx Americans died because they had no health insurance.” Yes, I know, it’s not going to go on for days. But if it goes on long enough, and the Repub leadership acts like the dickheads they normally are, it will hurt them in 2010.  

  28. dwyer says:

    Also, on the national scene, Repubs are gearing up on the radio circuit to help one republican Scott Brown make a final sprint for the MA Senate seat, left vacant by Kennedy;s death.  This is where the Bill Bennet national radio is so important; he is urging his listeners to send money to the candidate.  The election is January 19, I think.  Brown has been closing the gap in the MA polls.

    Meantime, locally radio guru boyles has accused the governor and the denver DA of lying.  No response from the dems.  Who will bell the cat???

    by: dwyer @ Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:45:08 AM MST

    A few thoughts on what happened:  

    Mitt Romey evidently had his old campaign staff (from when he ran and won the governor’s race) working on the Brown campaign for months, under the radar, so to speak.

    A caller to the Ed Shultz Show on Monday said something which may or may not be important. He was a Brown supporter in MA and said that the Fraternal Order of Police was supporting Brown or their political arm….evidently there was real sentiment that Obama should NEVER have intervened in the Cambridge Police/Harvard Professor Gates matter.  Evidently, police (and firemen?….real strong voting blocks in Irish Catholic areas) wanted to show Obama that you can’t “buy off” a police officer with a beer at the White House.  I agree that the Obama should not have intervened.  Gates should have sued the damm police for false arrest and if he can still do that, he should.

    Other observation, this is personal and based on a comment from a friend of mine in MA and could be way off….Croakly was a very tough prosecutor and some minority groups who otherwise would have been out doing GOTV for her, simply stayed home, because they felt she had been to harsh.

    My thoughts, of course, is that talk radio did not deliver this election to MA; BUT the repubs couldn’t have done it without national talk radio.

    • Laughing Boy says:

      Dwyer, I don’t think you can attribute the win to talk radio. Coakly was up by 25 points until the Christmas Eve vote on the health care bill.  THat’s a 35 point turnaround in less than a month.

      • Froward69 says:

        could that not also be a sign that more Americans (like myself) abhor the crap sandwich of a HC bill that passed the senate?

        I would bet that the inclusion of the Public Option in the final Bill, would turn those ratings positive.

        The Majority of the Electorate does not like the giveaway to insurance cartels the senate Health care version turned out to be.

        • Laughing Boy says:

          Americans don’t want the public option.  That’s why it was DOA in the Senate.

          The giveaways that pissed off the people in Mass were the ones on Christmas Eve and the one to the Unions.  The Union one, in particular seems to have bought Brown his victory margin.

          The whole process was shady and creepy. It didn’t have to be done like that.

          • Froward69 says:

            Polls in the 70-80% positive percentile. Whilst mandatory private purchase is in the low 20’s.

            the Public Option was DOA in the senate because it was never really considered.

            blue dogs and Lie-berman stood in its way from the start.

            yet the house bill would not have passed without it.

            The Public Wants medicare for all.

            private insurance wants mandatory purchase for all.

            Stark difference between the two.

            • Laughing Boy says:

              Look at the poll numbers once the same people are told how much the public option would cost, or that it’s not really an option at all.

              Also, look at the specific questions asked of the pol-ee’s.

              Maybe if you have a specific poll in mind I can show you what I mean.

              • It’s paid entirely by premiums.  So, no, it doesn’t change their opinion except in biased polls that quote some imaginary figure for the supposed cost of the PO.

              • Froward69 says:


                76% favor public option



                57% favor public Option

                Oct ’09


                59.9% favor a public Option

                Dec ’09

                Rather consistent, even with all the republican propaganda against it.

                • Laughing Boy says:

                  Here’s my point – on the first poll, here’s the question that got a 76% favorable response:

                  In any health care proposal, how important do you feel it is to give people a choice of both a public plan administered by the federal government and a private plan for their health insurance–extremely important, quite important, not that important, or not at all important?

                  That’s not at all what the public option is in the House bill.  If your employer (who provides your health care) chooses to move toward the tax-subsidized public option, then you have no choice.  The public option is funded by the government (I know you say it’s all premiums, but what about the people that can’t afford it?  They’ll be subsidized.  With private insurance now mandated to cover everyone, private costs will skyrocket, putting them out of business.  

                  Here’s the second poll question:

                  8. Would you support or oppose having the government create a new health insurance plan to compete with private health insurance plans? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?

                  More of the same.  It won’t compete, it will dominate with the mandates set forth.

                  The third, Reuters, doesn’t give you access to the poll question, but I believe it’s probably worded similarly to the first two.  Here’s the quote from the story.

                  * Believe in public option: 59.9 percent yes, 40.1 percent no.

                  Um, right.  I “believe” in a public option, too, as long as it’s within my parameters: for people with high-risk conditions that can pool and take themselves out of the private insurance groups, lowering everyone else;s cost – subsidize these folks so they can have insurance.  And, a public catastrophic option with a high deductible so that nearly everyone could be covered in case of something horrible – if they want it.

                  Here’s a poll that’s probably much closer to reality.  Since the Senate hid their bill from view until five days before a vote for cloture, the question has to be a little vague, but I think it’s fair:

                  1* Generally speaking, do you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and the congressional Democrats?

                  That gives you 52%-44% unfavorable.  

                  The problem with the bills now being considered, it that they were intentionally misleading about their purpose.  Particularly in the Senate, the process was completely shady, and obviously against the will of many of these Senators’ constituents.

                  To me, here are the priorities in Health reform:

                  End coverage mandates.

                  Tort reform (defensive medicine is an enormous cost that is much higher than the 2% cost figure thrown around pols.  But even if it’s 2%, let’s cut it down.  2% of 2 trillion dollars is a lot of money.)

                  Portability.  Allow me to buy boutique coverage for my needs, from anywhere in the country.

                  THose things will lower the cost to most of the insured.  Now:

                  Allow people with health conditions to pool, then subsidize them by raising taxes.  Yes, I just said that.

                  Create a true public “option” by providing a high-deductible government plan that covers people when catastrophe strikes.

                  Reform Immigration by creating an easy way for people to come here and work.  Give them an id card, and have employers send their wages through the government to these workers.  The government would automatically sign them up for this catastrophic coverage, and deduct the premiums from their pay, but the card would also guarantee them set wages.

                  Who of the “47 million” uninsured have I missed?

                  It’s possible to reform health care in a way that doesn’t force everyone under government control, and actually insures most of the uninsured without sticking it to anyone.

      • Barron X says:


        I think this was the turning point:

        and seeing how he won by 4.8%, isn’t that a 30-point turn-around ?


      • indipol says:

        In your world, what are people reacting to?  The process, or the fact that Congress and the WH are trying to reform health care at all?  For my money, it’s the former.  I see some R spinners getting all heady that it’s the latter.  Only people with fab-o health care plans that they pay nothing for (because their employers pay entirely) think we don’t need to reform this system, and they only think that because they’re not seeing money come out of their paycheck (I guess the dots are too hard to connect).

        My interpretation (not spin — I don’t care if anybody is swayed — just my interpretation) was that this was ultimately very little about health care per se, and much more about process, cronyism, and elitism in politics.  People rebelling against the process of this HC bill is a part of this, but I don’t see people saying “we don’t want HC reform goddamnit!!!”  I do see people saying, “You weren’t entitled to this seat, Martha, and your attitude is exactly what’s wrong with politics, so here’s a big middle finger you can sit on.”  For all that, won’t surprise me a bit to see Brown lose this seat the next time he has to run for it.

        • Laughing Boy says:

          The process has been unnecessarily creepy, but I also think people are pissed about unemployment, and what’s now going to be perceived as a failed stimulus that was rushed through like they tried to rush this poorly written bill.

          Plus, Coakley absolutely thought she was entitled to that seat, Obama lost police and fire with his “stupidly” episode, and ended up hurting her more than helping with his campaign stop.

      • dwyer says:

        The Brown campaign was all “fired up and ready to go” when the health care bill passed.  I believe that the momentum which ballooned all “of a sudden” was made possible because national talk radio helped to get the word out.  I believe that the campaign strategy was to go after health care during the xmas recess, regardless of whether a bill was passed or not.

        It was a fight, and the right came, the left did not.  Over a million dollars was raised via talk radio listeners for Brown since Xmas. It was like a jerry lewis marathon.

  29. First, I said yesterday that people will be analyzing this for a while to come.  I listened to some of Sen-elect Brown’s victory stump, which closely mirrored his campaign stump, and have the following reaction.

    If Democrats are to take away anything from the Brown campaign’s message, it’s this: don’t spend taxpayer money on corporate handouts, and don’t force us to hand our money over to the corporate fat cats.

    It’s not about government spending per-say: it’s about accountability.  In an effort to please the so-called moderate Democrats in the Senate, as well as to court the supposedly moderate Republicans there, the Democratic Party as a whole has been re-cast as a corporatized version of the old “tax-and-spend” Democratic party label applied by Republicans in past days.

    If Democrats can learn that lesson, then good.  But it’s obvious from early reactions by folks like Sen. Bayh that it’s fallen on deaf ears at least in some camps.  This has, to some extent, been the problem Democrats have faced since the Clinton years, and it has been a growing tension within the party with the defection of so many moderate Republicans who see the whacko right wing taking over their party.

    IMHO it all comes down to the cash-driven two-party system.  It doesn’t fit our needs or reflect the actual profile of our citizenry.  Yet breaking away from it seems a daunting task at best.

  30. dwyer says:

    Just listen ONCE to boyles, caldera, rosen, brown,(ya, that brown)caplis,etc.  Then, listen to the people who call in.

    Then, tell me what you think.  Because as far as I can tell,

    so-called progessives and the dems are only talking to each other….a progressively smaller circle.

    I also promise you that “Big John and Sparky” cannot look through your radio and spy on you.  You can listen and NO ONE will know.

    • redstateblues says:

      And we’ll feel dirty.

      Remember when Bill Menezes used to do it for us, though? That was great.

      • dwyer says:

        I know I am taking you seriously, because I think this is real important.  Hence my question:

        Why would you feel dirty?

        I listen to talk radio for two reasons:

        1) Intelligence.  The republican party broadcasts locally and nationally what its strategy is.  It also uses its command of the public airwaves to communicate directly with its base, to reinforce their political leanings, to ENGAGE then in the process and to LEARN what their concerns are.  They also use the shows to redirect the rage and frustration people are expressing.  So, one of the most successful talking points has been for the hosts to tell their  audience, over and over again, “they” are not listening to the people.  Even though “they” won big last year, the talk shows marginalized the election victory and say that “Washington” isn’t listening.  The talk show republicans are. And to the extent, that the dems are not listening, the republicans are right and triumphant.

        It does this with impunity because it knows that no dems are going to call or listen.  On occasion, there will be someone who gets through on a national show who is not a Republican.  The ones I have heard are all speaking in a deep “Negro dialect” and raging in ways which allow the host to patronize them.

        2)  Learn.  I also listen to learn what callers are saying.  There is no other way to really get a handle on the pulse of one segment of the country.

        BTW…I was at a phone bank for OFA.  Encountered some hostility and some support from voters in MASS.  But what was so interesting was when I recounted to some of my fellow callers, the reasons people were giving for not voting for Coakley, I heard that those reasons were crazy and those people “shouldn’t think that way.”   The republicans are brilliant political strategists, the dems are not.  I have watched over half a century, the dems over and over again lose….because they were “too pure” or fundamentally discounted the average voter.

        • Steve Harvey says:

          Progressives definitely need to have a more comprehensive and profound understanding of all points of view across the American political spectrum, and their relative intensities and breadth of support. And we have to use that knowledge to become as strategically effective as possible in advancing policies based on the best analyses applied to the most reliable data in service to the common good.

          What, exactly, that means may turn out to be more complex and subtle than mere Machiavelian “realpolitik.” Certainly, there will always be large numbers of fanatics of all stripes who end up loudly frustrated by and antagonistic to any progressive developments in our social institutional landscape. And there will always be large numbers of fairly reasonable people with fairly reasonable objections and with varying degrees of certainty about and commitment to their conclusions, who will also be opposed to such developments. But the challenge of “progress” involves more than merely “defeating” them. It also absolutely requires moving as many of them as far as possible in the direction of amenability to progressive policies. It means finding the most subtle social fulcrums at which to apply pressure, not just to pass particular pieces of vital legislation, but also to send ripples through the zeitgeist.

          The ultimate and most vital of all political battle fields is the human mind: To refuse to engage effectively in that arena is not the best of all strategic portfolios.

          I will grant, though, that concrete victories also have effects on consciousness over time, and that that realization is one factor in a complete overall understanding. But we shouldn’t reduce the challenges we face too much. We shouldn’t just become political automatons, driven by immediate strategic necessity away from some marginal degree of attention to the deeper and more enduring political challenge we face, the challenge to move us incrementally, as a people, in the direction of reason and good will.

          • dwyer says:

            Stevenson was an intellectual and had the support of the liberal wing of the party, including Eleanor Roosevelt.  

            Someone observed that when Stevenson spoke, people listened and said “How brilliant he is. How astute his observations.”  When Kennedy spoke, people said “When do we march?”

            There is a time for analysis and there is a time for action. It is time, again, for marching, IF we are to prevent another Republican takeover such as we saw in 2002, when the dems lost the Senate.

            • Steve Harvey says:

              The two functions aren’t mutually exclusive: I support those who inspire us to effective action (Dwyer’s JFKs), and I support those who help us to think more deeply and comprehensively about the challenges we face (the Stevensons). As a party, we can both march and think at the same time.

              Some individuals are even good at doing both at the same time. Some are rousing speakers, and deep thinkers. We’re fortunate to have one of them in the presidency right now. The first and most important thing I think we Dems can do to advance our shared cause is to give him emphatic, loud, visible, and unflagging support. That’s a message worth sending.

              • dwyer says:

                I am talking about strategies to win elections and pass legislation.  I am pointing out that policy analysis, in and of itself, is not relevant to my discussion or to winning elections.

                Stevenson went on to be the US Ambassador to the UN and served his country well during the Cuban missile crisis.  He was appointed to that position by Kennedy, because Kennedy, unlike Stevenson, figured out a way to WIN the presidency.  

                • Steve Harvey says:

                  But (and this is something of major importance to me), winning elections isn’t worth shit if it’s not in service to good policy analyses, just as good policy analyses aren’t worth shit if they’re not informing those who win elections.

                  The bias of political junkies is that winning elections is primary, because that’s what it takes to implement policies. The bias of academics is that good policies are primary, because implementing them is the purpose of winning elections.

                  But to me, recognizing these two as the yin and yang of politics, as the flip sides of a coin that should never be one-sided, is always relevant, even when someone else premises his comments on either one of them in isolation.

  31. dwyer says:

    My point is that right now is the time to be focusing on how to win elections.  I am pointing out the brilliance of the strategies employed by the Republicans.  I am begging the dems to pay attention and not to retreat into academic debates.  

    Ralph Nadar, in IMHO, has a real handle on the political power dynamics in this country.  He choose the third party route and now we have a Bush Supreme Court which has pushed even further away the very policies he hoped to see implemented.  That’s a fact.

    • Steve Harvey says:

      Nadar’s run was dumb and inexcusable. The electoral math was front and center, dominating on one side of that coin, neither side of which should ever be ignored.

      But, keep in mind, that the brilliant strategies employed by the Republicans have given us (the Democrats), in this precise moment, the White House, both houses of Congress, the Governorship, and both houses of the Colorado General Assembly. And all that happened while right wing talk radio was already a prominent feature of our political-cultural landscape.

      Some electoral calculations are simple and straightforward (eg, third party vote-splitters are spoilers, undermining the viable candidate closest to them). Some are more complex, more transitory, and more easily misread (eg, what messages resonate with, and what mandates are given by, the voters?).

      I think that one lesson is that the MAJORITY of Americans like moderation. I may be wrong, and, frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that I am. It’s a complex and subtle world, despite the fact that there are many who make hay by pretending otherwise, and many who gravitate to those who pretend otherwise. But, apparently, not the majority.

      I think that a complete analysis, a complete examination of recent historical electoral dynamics paints a more complex picture, one that includes the power of oversimplistic messages, but also includes the degree to which many are alienated by extremism. I don’t think that the lesson is to copy right-wing talk radio (again, despite the presence of right-wing talk radio, Democrats are currently, even if temporarily, in control of both the executive and legislative branches of government, at both the federal and state levels). Though I agree with you that its power over many people’s minds and hearts is part of the more comprehensive lesson we should be learning, and internalizing.

      But when you say that we should be focusing on winning elections right now, if, by that, you mean we shouldn’t also be focusing on what to do with those offices once won, I have to continue to disagree. If given the choice between these two unlikely options: Republicans driven by careful analyses and attention to actual social problems and challenges, on the one hand, and blindly ideological Democrats, on the other, I would prefer the Republicans to be in power. I’m a Democrat because they are the more reasonable party, not despite it.

      I don’t think there’s much real disagreement between us on these issues. I don’t mean to make it sound as if there is.

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