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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mass.-acre

Candidates who become complacent, develop a sense of entitlement and take voters for granted tend to get taught harsh lessons on Election Day.

Just ask Martha Coakley.

In the wake of Democrat Coakley losing to Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts' special election for Ted Kenendy's former seat in the U.S. Senate, the GOP/Fox News/Rush Limbaugh mantra undoubtedly will be that voters in the Bay State wanted to send a message of discontent to the Democratic machine that controls Washington.

Don't believe it for a second.

As recently as three weeks ago, Coakley had a 15-point lead over Brown in most major polls. Yet Brown won by about 5 points. That's a 20-point swing during a period in which there were no significant developments in the nation or the state of Massachusetts that would justify such a reversal.

Quite simply, Brown was able to pull the upset because he worked harder - much harder - to win the election than his opponent did. He campaigned tirelessly and relentlessly during the final weeks of the campaign while Coakley put in almost no effort at all, figuring a Democrat couldn't possibly lose in Massachusetts, especially when running for a seat long held by Kennedy, a Democratic icon in the state for nearly half a century.

Oh, how wrong she was!

So now, like Alaska Republican Ted Stevens before her, Coakley has sapped her party of its power in the Senate because of her own ineptitude. And, in the process, she probably has derailed President Obama's health care reform plan and many other initiatives he planned to put before Congress.

And for that, she should be ashamed of herself.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Paul said...

And if things keep going the way they are, many more defeats to come. Maybe finally Obama and our elected officials will realize "it is the economy stupid". Keep ignoring that, and playing the blame game instead of doing anything about it, and they deserve to go down in flames. Independent voters are fed up. More to read about that here http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703569004575009140238567912.html?mod=WSJ_hp_mostpop_read

January 20, 2010 at 8:29 AM 
Blogger Jeremy Schiffres, City Editor said...

Paul:
Voter registration in Massachusetts is 3-1 Democratic. Independents alone did not swing this election - there simply are not enough of them. And, as I noted, Coakley had a 15-point lead three weeks ago. This is about her taking victory for granted, and her opponent capitalizing on that by connecting with Democrats.
Thanks for reading and commenting,
-J

January 20, 2010 at 11:02 AM 
Blogger Martin McPhillips said...

"Quite simply, Brown was able to pull the upset because he worked harder - much harder - to win the election than his opponent did."

There's some truth to that. He did have to establish himself as "one of us" with the voters in Massachusetts. But he won the election because of the positions he took on the issues. He told the voters quite plainly that he would be the vote that stopped the Obama health care bill. He also directly addressed national security questions, deficits, and taxes.

Clearly, as a relatively unknown Republican in a Democratic state he had to work hard to get people to see and recognize him before they would vote for him, but they knew exactly where he stood on the issues, because he told them.

My view on this is that Brown is a kitchen sink thrown in front of a freight train. The people in power in Washington have no interest in messages from voters, and could care less that polls all over the place are telling them that Americans don't want what they are going to force on them.

January 20, 2010 at 11:02 AM 

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