Yes it sucks. Yes you have to vote Coakley.

Let’s get this out of the way.  You might not want to vote for Martha Coakley.  You might think she deserves what’s she’s getting after an absentee, self-satisfied campaign (why should I bail her out?).  You likely want to send a message to everyone from the attorney general all the way to every Democratic official in Washington, DC.  Odds are you didn’t vote for her in the primary.  And, you might be wondering if it’ll make a difference who wins this Tuesday.

You got every reason to be pissed, but it needs to be clear: not voting for Coakley is the same as voting for Brown.  And voting for Brown is a very, very bad thing.

Pissed?  Me, too.  Not just because I supported Mike Capuano.  I’m frankly pissed about Washington, DC.  Things are going very wrong — President Obama was absent from the process as the public option was killed, and would rather tax public servants in the middle class with so-called “Cadillac health insurance” then ask the wealthy to pay their fair share.  Health care reform is heading toward a route where more money comes from the middle class, with about half going to people who need health care, and half going to the insurance companies.  Oh, and Guantanamo is still open while American soldiers walk the streets in Baghdad and Kabul.  Remember Employee Free Choice?  Meanwhile, Harry Reid races to catch Ben Nelson’s and Joe Lieberman’s farts on Capitol Hill.

But I don’t think Senator Coakley wants to torture people, give the obscenely rich a tax refund, or tell a rape victim to hospital-shop until she can find the care she needs.  Senator Brown does.  And the right-wing, desperate to believe it’s been forgotten how they ruthlessly dimmed America’s power and pride over the last eight years, is pouring as much corporate money as possible onto our airwaves.  Disciples of failure are already slavering over bullrushing one of their own into the Senate.

So suck it up and vote Coakley on Tuesday. If you stay home on Tuesday, and a smirking Jim DeMint puts his arm around Senator Brown next month, will you feel good about yourself?  Will you take pride in your “message” when Tom Coburn assigns Scott Brown the task of maintaining the filibuster on any health care reform?  When you see Scott Brown publicly wetting his pants over terrorists getting American justice, or the latest moron who fails in an inept plan to hurt our country, will you think “Yep, I’m the reason he’s there to embarrass Massachusetts on the Senate floor.”

I think some folks are already getting a message.  The mortal scare the DC Dems are feeling this week about the voters of Massachusetts — Massachusetts! — considering walking away.  They can read polls, and they realize what they’ve wrought.  Maybe Reid, Nelson, heck even Obama needs a primary next time around, I don’t know.

But nowhere on the ballot will be an option to send a message to DC.  Your and my only choice is to send a Senator.  And that Senator should be Martha Coakley.  

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  1. Good points

    Far more motivation for me than the incessant drum beat of anti-Brown ads on the tv which I fear may be overkill, along with the sudden surge of "save our candidate" e-mails from nearly every Democratic official whose list I'm on.

    Could someone please make me feel better about being a loyal Democrat this year? How about Kate for Governor? :)

    Anyway, thanks Sabs, you always cut to the chase.

    • Ad

      I heard a radio ad this morning from Mass Citizens for Life.

      The ad was worded to make it sound like the health care bill "mandates abortions" by using the word "mandates" right next to the word "abortion". (something like "the bill contains many bad things, increasing costs, mandates, abortion, raising your taxes, ...")

      They also claimed that Scott Brown was Pro-Life.

      • He is Pro-Life, insofar as he is anti-choice

        And he is anti-choice [as discussed here in great detail, despite his claims to the contrary.

        Scott Brown needs to man up about his positions on the issues and his voting record.

        • You keep making the claim that Scott Brown is anti-choice

          and backing it up with the ridiculous argument that supporting a ban on partial birth or late term abortions makes a person anti-choice because they are not fully following Roe v Wade. The Roe decision specifically talked about the need to balance a woman's right to decisions about her body in the early stages of a pregnancy with society's interest in protecting a viable baby in the later stages of a pregnancy.  And the Supreme Court recently held that a partial birth abortion ban is in line with Roe in the Gonzales v Carhart decision.

          Scott Brown supports a woman's right to have an abortion in the early stages of a pregnancy. In today's lexicon that makes him pro-choice. You can twist the meaning of the term pro-choice to meet your own needs, but to claim that Scott Brown is not pro-choice is misleading at best, and really comes close to an outright lie.  

  2. Someone want to set up a $quot;cringe points$quot; thread?

    You know, 100 cringe points for closing veteran's outpatient clinics...

    But what I like about Deval Patrick which was totally missing about either Mitt Romney or George W. Bush is that Deval Patrick learns - then admits mistakes and fixes those mistakes.

    THAT makes me feel good about being a Democrat.  Now off to my Town Dem Committee Meeting.

  3. Belongs on the front page.

    But what do I know.  

    Well said.  Thanks.  

  4. But

    Will we actually feel better, knowing that Martha Coakley is partying with Big Pharma and health insurance companies,(see John Gatti's piece here: the the pushers of healthcare reform are planning to tax the middle class, ie: union members, for their "cadillac" health insurance, notwithstanding the fact that Massachusetts has the HIGHEST health insurance premiums in the country.  These are the same people who PROMISED not to tax the middle class.

    I fail to see the value add.  What's the damned difference?  These people don't give a rat's ass about us, the people who put them in office.


    • Fair enough

      The value added on health care is not as great as we'd like.  Not at all, and the same goes for other senators.  But what about torture, Guantanamo, energy, or another issue we can't even see yet?  It's not just one issue, it's judgment.  Brown has proven to have poor policy judgment her worst Coakley does no harm.  Can you say that about Brown?

      sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
    • Since Obama Claimed He Never Campaigned On The Public Option...

      ...I've concluded that virtually the entire lot of them are bald-faced liars.  They'll say one thing, do another.

      Incredible.  Just pretty promises, than they go right to work economically sodomizing the middle class.

      It doesn't seem to matter a whole lot, you're right.  So why not send a message, instead of wasting a vote.

      • Sending a message worked oh so well for the Nader crowd

        because of course there were no real differences between Gore and Bush..


        • So You're Saying That We're In Horrible Shape Today Because Nader Ran?


          • The danger of terse

            No, she's not saying it was because Nader ran, but it's undeniable that, if Gore had been elected in 2000 (or perhaps, if his election had been recognized in 2000), the country would be in a much better state. 9/11 might have been prevented. Even if not, Afghanistan would not be such a mess, and we would not be embroiled in Iraq.

            We might even have noticed that something was going wrong in the housing market.

            • First Off, Nader Did Not Influence The Election

              Second off, since Gore was a DLCer in those days, we might not be as bad off if he'd won - but it would not have been pretty.

              The destruction of the middle class has got to stop.  We can't keep voting for the guy or gal who will only screw us less than the Republican will - that's how we got here.

              • Third off,

                Nader was the most progressive candidate in the '00 election. Do not compare a vote for Nader to a vote for Brown; that's comparing apples and cow patties.

              • Nader didn't influence the election?

                I'm pretty sure in NH the Gore/Nader total beat Bush.  We can argue that whether Nader voters would have stayed home or voted for Gore had he not been on the ballot, but it is at least reasonable to suggest that NH's four electoral votes could well have gone to Gore thus making FL irrelevant.  Of course with only a 537 vote gap in THAT state (at least officially) even just a relative few Nader voters punching for Gore (assuming they could find the right hole!) would have swung that state too.

      • Message

        I'm afraid the message you think you'd be sending would not be the one received in DC. Electing Brown would not have the Dem establishment thinking "We've got to be more progressive." It would have them racing to the right again - because that's what you sent to the Senate: a right-wing standard-bearer.

        The best message we can produce, given the choices, is a clear repudiation of Brown's positions. Then we can make it clear that we were voting against him, not for Coakley.

        • How naive can a person be?

          Then we can make it clear that we were voting against him, not for Coakley.

          Like this will ever happen. If Coakley wins the only message she will headline is how the voters elected her and support everything she stood for. She will be a rubber stamp for the Democratic party. If she does make it in then I hope Scott Brown comes back 3 years from now and challenges her again Only this time she will have a 3 year record in the Senate to defend which I'm sure will suck as badly as her AG and DA record.

          This vote for Coakley will do nothing for the country. The change everyone voted for is disappearing. The country is mobilizing against the Democrats. Many are retiring voluntarily while many more will be forced out in November.

          Change is coming for sure!

    • John Gatti

      Has posted that Martha Coakley was at a fundraiser in DC with Big Pharma and Health Insurance Companies.

      Kathy, et al - is this factually incorrect?

      Is it factually incorrect that the Senate version of Healthcare reform has provisions that tax the health insurance benefits of people with premiums over $8,500 for individuals, and $23,000 for individuals...which would be 1 in 4 union members?

      If this information is not incorrect, then why are you downrating me?  These are legitimate issues and only contribute to the environment in DC.  Best government money can buy.

      • Because Cognitive Dissonance Is Extremely Painful

        The smartest psychologist I know tells me that cognitive dissonance is one of the most painful feelings that most people experience.

        I suspect that most here know that they will be voting for someone that will probably help to harm them more - just look at the title of this thread!  Yet, they also feel that they have to vote for this person because they'll be harmed more by the other candidate.


        They're mad at how you're hurting their head, the truth itself doesn't seem to be the issue.

      • Don't Forget

        In all the concern over the impact of the Cadillac Tax on the union workers, including those who work for local municipal governments and the state, we are also forgetting the impact on the cities, towns and states themselves.

        Let's say the limit is 23,000 and the plan costs 27,000 (not out of the question even today) then the 40% tax results in $1,600 in additional costs (40% x $4,000) which is then split between the municipality and the worker let's say 80% muni and 20% worker (assumption as it varies) this means the worker gets hit with $320 more in annual cost in the example and the city or town get hit with $1,280 more.

        So in reality the workers and the taxpayers both get hosed at a time when neither can afford to pay more.  And the sad part is that so many cities and towns have no revenue flexibility in this environment that they have to cut expenses which means people.  This means that for some worker the cost to them of the Cadillac Tax is their JOB.  How's that for a kick in the pants.

        • Interesting

          How does this relate to the GIC?  Are the insurance rates in the GIC over the threshold?  Will the Commonwealth be able to curb insurance plan cost growth to avoid the tax?

          • Not to worry

            Obama and the Democrat Leadership came to an agreement with the unions whereby the level will be raised to $24,000 from $23,000 for family plans.

            Oh yeah, here's the kicker, if you are in a union plan then your policy is exempt from the tax for the first 8 years (until 2018 or so) but is you are not in a union then you are taxed immediately.  I have heard about bending over backwards for your supporters, but this pretzel act is insulting, blatant discrimination and most likely illegal.

            Basically, if my neighbor and I have the exact same plan and he is in a union and I am not then I am taxed and he is not solely based on his union affiliation.  If people do not find that utterly distasteful then I am more fearful for our country than before.

            I am against the Cadillac Tax for ALL Americans regardless of whether they are in a union or not.

            If this passes, I am considering a pricing strategy at my business where I give discounts to non-union customers but not union customers as a demonstration as to how ridiculously discriminatory this is, but this is what this health care debate has come to, not what is best, but who you know and who you work for.

            It is a shame!

      • Dangers of over-high standards

        Unfortunately, in the world in which you and I reside, even Democratic politicians raise money from corporate interests. If no liberal ever voted for a corporate-sponsored politician, I'm afraid to say, the country would be quite a bit more conservative than it is now.

        This is why campaign finance reform is truly the key issue for cleaning up our political culture, but, until then, we get to make unpleasant, nuanced choices.

        • More to the point...

          ... in this legislative atmosphere, does anyone expect the insurance and pharma lobbyists not to show up at a (any) fundraiser?

          • You Think Bernie Sanders Has Insurance And Pharma Lobbyists At His Fundraisers?

            Al Franken?

            • You would have voted for Coleman if he didn't?

              • Game, set and match to KBusch

                Although I think perhaps you mean Richard Tarrant. Coleman was Al Franken's opponent.

                The point still stands.

                • I was trying to be witty

                  but I don't want to be all gloating about it. Manny, you can have my points, if you'd like. I'll share.

                  Let me replace my one-liner with a turgid philosophical reflection. I see this as a way in which deontological ethics don't work as well as utilitarian ethics. By Kant's categorical imperative, we should only vote for lobbyist-free politicians because it would be best if everyone did. A utilitarian would point out that not everyone feels so compelled.

                  After all, there are plenty of people who believe that the well off are well off because God favors them somehow, or because the well off are moral and disciplined, hence successful. People who believe that are likely to be conservative. They likely had no problem with Senator Santorum's K-Street Project.

                  • We've Tried It Your Way For 17 Years

                    How well do you think that's gone for us?  Are things better or worse?

                    • Who is $quot;we$quot;?

                      Trying to understand your extremist bent is tiresome and futile.  Apparently, if you can't have purity at one extreme, you are ready and wiling to embrace the opposite extreme.  There is no logic in that.  If you think that you can send an effective "message" in that matter, then perhaps that mostly speaks to your own sense of personal importance.

                      Or maybe it is time for you to just admit to yourself that you are a rightwinger at heart, or that there is something about the simplicity or image of Scott Brown that appeals to you on a very basic level.  I'm at a loss to see any explanations for your eagerness to vote for him that are consistent with progressive objectives.


                    • Surely more than 17 years

                      I'm not sure exactly how to parse what you're saying since we don't all vote as one big happy bloc and 1993 was not the golden era of political purity.

                      But what do you suggest in the real world? Voting Republican will not aid the cause of campaign finance reform — already crippled by the current Supreme Court composition. Not voting, especially, when a Republican might win has a similar effect.

                  • Uh, JohnD, this wasn't about you

                    The "gloating" reference concerned Bob awarding me a point in a fist-pumping manner that I thought MannyGoldstein might find unpleasant — even if I disagree with M.G.

              • Is This Really Your Logic?

                1. I won't eat rotten fish 2. Rotten steak is not rotten fish 3. Therefore, I will eat rotten steak
                • Try this

                  1. I really hate mushrooms 2. I think pears are sometimes a little tasty, sometimes a little gross 3. Therefore, I'll eat a pear instead of mushrooms
                  • It's More Like When I Buy Canned Pears, I Inevitably Open The Can And Find Mushrooms

                    Is it worth trying again?

                    • It's all sold by $quot;Foobar Foods Inc$quot;

                      At the risk of stretching this metaphor past its breaking point, the underlying reality is that the canned pears and mushrooms — as well as the rotten steak and fish — are all sold by subsidiaries of Foobar Foods, Inc.

                      The corporate owner doesn't care what you buy, because they own all the labels and work to ensure that your grocery store has no shelf space for anything but Foobar products.

                      I fear we are watching American-style democracy whither and die. I suggest that the solution to this is not to argue about pears and mushrooms or Tweedledum and Tweedledee, and to instead figure out how to get something besides Foobar Foods onto the shelves of our grocery store.

                      I submit that we may need to patronize a different grocery store. That store might not exist yet.

                • Answer

                  Is this really your logic?

                  No, it is not.

            • I think if either of them...

              ... were running for the potential '41st / 60th seat', yeah... they'd make the attempt.

  5. awesome

    SAB! although I planned on voting and phone banking and doing the VIZ(visibility) you make some great POINTS...going back to the OLD ways of Bush is just WRONG. and sittong out is subjecting yourself to the same old bologna

  6. Perfect. Thanks.

    Not hard to do. Making calls and all that. Stopped reading endless comments about polls on BMG, RMG and other political blogs.

    Started having fun yesterday with twitter and Facebook. Brown is soooooooooooooo easy to make fun of.  

  7. Really Nice Post

    My favorite part, of many:

    When you see Scott Brown publicly wetting his pants over terrorists getting American justice, or the latest moron who fails in an inept plan to hurt our country, will you think "Yep, I'm the reason he's there to embarrass Massachusetts on the Senate floor."

    It's certainly possible that if Coakley is elected, many people here at BMG and elsewhere will criticize her, or the Democrats in Washington more generally, for not putting forth a stronger progressive presence. There will be days where you might say "I wish Capuano, or Khazei, was in that seat instead of Coakley." I recognize that, and it will be fine -- indeed imperative -- to push her and the Democrats to support more forcefully the progressive values Ted Kennedy fought for all his life.

    But none of that will compare to the embarrassment -- sabutai put it perfectly -- that we will all feel if Scott Brown is our United States Senator for the remainder of Ted Kennedy's term. Embarrassment that we have a George Bush Republican representing us in Washington. Embarrassment that the seat once held not only by Ted but other Massachusetts greats -- including Daniel Webster, John Quincy Adams, Charles Sumner, and JFK -- is now represented by none other than Scott Brown. Embarrassment that instead of the Commonwealth maintaining its historic role as a leader in progressive change, we have a Senator willing to take us only backwards.

    We can't let this happen, and I'm confident that Massachusetts progressives will not let it happen. As Coakley takes the weighty mantle of Massachusetts Senator, she can -- and must -- grow in office. But that's something that I'm confident she can do.

    The vote's next Tuesday, and there's a lot riding on it. Whether you're excited to vote or have to hold your nose, let's make the right choice next week. Let's vote for Martha Coakley as our next United States Senator.

  8. Great post

    My thoughts exactly.

    I dare say, however, that a very firm message has already been delivered. The fact is that if Scott Brown can do this well in Massachusetts against Martha Coakley a very sound referendum has been delivered on the Democratic leadership to date in Washington.

    If they don't listen and shape up, they will reap the whirlwind next year and the results will speak for themselves. We don't need to disgrace Massachusetts in the meantime.  

  9. You've convinced me.

    Okay.  You've convinced me.  

    I can't stand Brown, but I'm also unable to forgive Martha Coakley for her role in the second biggest witch hunt in Massachussetts.  So I was planning on going, and voting for Gerard Amirault of Fells Acres.

    But you've convinced me.  I can't forgive Coakley, but I really, really don't want Scott Brown representing me in Washington.  And unrepented sins not withstanding, Coakley will vote the I would vote most of the time.  So I'll be voting for Coakley on Tuesday.

  10. Great post. Thank you Sabutai!

  11. Well said Sabutai

    I agree that the closeness of this race alone is enough to wake up the Democrats, hopefully.  Angry is an understatement with regard to the failure of our new President and the congressional majority to work hard to ease the burdens of the middle class, and then to top it off, try to place the cost of health insurance reform squarely on the backs of the middle class. Still, government protection of corporations and the wealthiest among us continues.  Unbelievable.  

    According to this link, only 4.2% of households earn more than $200,000/yr.  I will never understand why the Dems fight so hard to hold on to that 4.2%, while they will so readily kick the asses of the other 95%.  That's why this is happening. They are choosing contributions over voters. I think they need to change their

    I supported Mike Capuano also.  I have concerns about Martha Coakley but far fewer concerns than I have for the other candidates.

    I will vote for Coakley on the 19th.  Then I will watch and see just what kind of middle-class advocate she turns out to be.  I hope I am pleasantly surprised.

  12. I think you mean Massachusettes

    Great post and yes I will be voting for Coakley. I do want to add, the Coakley campaign has been a lesson in how not to run for office.

  13. One more reason to vote for Coakley

    It's an abbreviated term she's running for.

    Okay, that's not a reason to vote FOR her, exactly.  If you voted for her in the primary, you had other, better reasons.  If you did NOT vote for her in the primary, however, keep this in mind:  you will get another chance to vote against her in a couple of years -- in the Democratic primary, where the alternative will be something better than a (shudder) Republican.  

    Sure, we could say the same thing about Scott Brown:  he would be only a short-time disaster.  But drowning only takes a short time of being underwater.  It's not your long-term average access to air that matters.

    So, even if you have to "hold your nose" to vote for Coakley, keep in mind the difference between voluntarily keeping a bad smell out of your nostrils for a couple of years, and voluntarily keeping oxygen out of your lungs for a couple of years.  


    • Poli Sci 101: Never underestimate the power of incumbency.

      Statistically, it is VERY hard to unseat an incumbent. Not only does there need to be a very strong challenger of the opposing party and/or a significant change in the general political climate, but the incumbent usually needs to be weakened by his or her problems -- personal, political, or both.

      Two years is long enough, in the mind of the public, to become the incumbent. It's also plenty of time for Brown to march in lock-step with the Republicans in DC and do his job in creating even more gridlock -- never mind voting against everything that Teddy ever supported and fought for.

      So, while this has been campaign malpractice of epic proportions, we can't afford to think that "oh, it's only two years."  

      • A big part of the power of incumbency

        is to move left or right as the challenge builds.  Have a look at Sestak and Specter in PA -- Specter is tacking left big time as Sestak prepares to challenge him from the left.

        If Coakley feels heat coming from the left, I expect that she'll move leftward on issues... which means that she protects her seat and the voters get a Senator more in line with their wishes.

    • Poli Sci 101: Never underestimate the power of incumbency.

      Statistically, it is VERY hard to unseat an incumbent. Not only does there need to be a very strong challenger of the opposing party and/or a significant change in the general political climate, but the incumbent usually needs to be weakened by his or her problems -- personal, political, or both.

      Two years is long enough, in the mind of the public, to become the incumbent. It's also plenty of time for Brown to march in lock-step with the Republicans in DC and do his job in creating even more gridlock -- never mind voting against everything that Teddy ever supported and fought for.

      So, while this has been campaign malpractice of epic proportions, we can't afford to think that "oh, it's only two years."  

  14. Thank God we built a political system like this

    Because we've been pidgeonholed into voting for people we don't like, no matter who they are.

    Fabulous democracy.  Fabulous.  

    • You do not speak for me.

      I appreciate Sabutai's tone because it is helpful in reaching those who are holding their nose -- but that is not me, either.

      I like Martha Coakley; she was my second choice, and I thought all three candidates would be good Senators (though Capuano creeped me out a bit with the "I know how to work the system" vibe).

      I am disappointed in the lackluster Coakley campaign, however.

  15. Where's Mike?

    So you supported Capuano and you have to 'hold your nose' to vote for Coakley, thinking you know how she's running her campaign.  Fine.  Where's Mike?  If it's that important (and it is) then he should be rallying his voters to get out and get it done.  I want to hear from him, not from one of his erstwhile supporters.

    On the question of 'lackluster absentee campaign': Without being privy to the inner workings of either campaign, there are things we can glean from their events pages;  to wit, Martha Coakley has dozens of phone banks, EVERY DAY stretching from Pittsfield to Hyannis and covering a lot of ground in between.  Scott Brown has five (5) and Littleton is as far west as he gets...  Now it's not impossible that Browns people will call farther west, but that's not the point. The point is that Coakleys people are getting local businesses to donate the use of their time and phones to canvas and collect intelligence ALL ACROSS THE STATE.  

    In other words: Coakley is conducting a massive, full-out, state-wide ground war.  She has air cover, but that's not the bulk of her troops. It's infantry, infantry infantry... all across the state.   Brown, not so much.

    Now, from where you sit, licking your wounds and holding your nose, such a campaign is probably indistinguishable from a "lackluster absentee campaign"... but then again, holding your nose and closing your eyes,  lilacs are indistinguishable from cheese...  

    • Fair question

      I'd like to see more of Coakley, Capuano, Khazei, and Pags out there.  All of 'em.  I'm doing my calling and I'm getting up at an ungodly hour for a viz on Saturday.  But to pretend that anyone who points out Coakley's lackluster campaign, inability to drive the issues, anemic polling, and absence from free and pair media isn't whining over the primary...they're pointing out reality. I hope Coakley has a good ground game, because she's been getting schooled on everything else.

      I'm working for Coakley and I've let the primary go.  Why won't you?

      sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
      • Hhmmm...

        I'm working for Coakley and I've let the primary go.  Why won't you?

        Have you? From where I sit, and when you write "Yes it sucks. Yes you have to vote Coakley"... It doesn't seem, so much, like you have let the primary go...

        • I don't want to re-fight old battles

          The primary is long over.  I'm supporting Martha, and I'm reality-based at the same time.  Let's just leave it at that.

          sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM

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