GOOD MORNING MASSACHUSETTS!

Some thoughts about last night … Obama won, we took care of business in MA, and nationally it could have been a lot worse. (It could always be worse. We could be on fire.)

  • In a way … the Coakley debacle of 2010 was a blessing in disguise. I don’t say that lightly, because losing elections sucks, and it has consequences.

    But Elizabeth Warren’s victory is a really really big deal, nationally. She is someone who doesn’t just show up to Congress with a vote for Dem priorities, but as someone who is able to define those priorities. She has accurately diagnosed the central illness of American democracy, which is rule by the rich/for the rich. It’s her life’s work; she was recruited to run for Senate because of it; and to shine a light on our the rot of our plutocracy is her raison d’etre. I can’t think of any other victorious candidate in my lifetime who has so clearly framed the issues as such — even as it’s been so obvious for years.

    More than anyone we’ve had in years — maybe even Ted Kennedy — Warren is able to set the table for the Dems, and for the administration. And she can flip that table over if she wants, too. This will be fun to watch.

  • Let’s face it: Nationally, the Republicans don’t want to win. They want to fight. That’s what gives them meaning and purpose. And they would prefer to go down fighting than win the winnable races. They could have a GOP Senate today that included Mike Castle, Dick Lugar, Olympia Snowe, and a handful of other moderates or bipartisan types. (You don’t have to be particularly moderate to be bipartisan: see Kennedy, Ted.)

    And as time goes by, the GOP cuts itself smaller and smaller slices of the demographic/ideological pie. It’s good for ratings of Fox, Rush, and their imitators. But it’s not governance: It’s a tantrum. At some point they may decide that they’d like to win those elections, but as long as their media infrastructure makes money feeding the hysteria, we’ll take what they give us.

    The downside of this, of course, is that as Dems scoop up moderates, their governing majority becomes less disciplined. And as the GOP sheds moderates, it becomes more disciplined. So we should not be surprised by the “herding cats/Dems in disarray” narrative that will doubtless continue over the next 2-4 years. That’s the gift of the Tea Party.

  • The defeats of Scott Brown and Richard Tisei (apparently) demonstrate two things: One, that the state GOP is a basketcase, who suffer terrible disadvantages in organization and advisory talent. (You knew that.) Two: If you’re going to say “Vote the man, not the party” … then you better work awfully damn hard to be that man.

    Genuine moderation and bipartisanship is tough. If you’re going to be a moderate, you have to stand up for moderation. That means you can’t get away with mealy-mouthed pronouncements, like that the Ryan budget is “a good start to the conversation”; or profess that you’re “pro-choice” when you vote against a pro-choice Supreme Court justice. You have to take on your own party loudly, publicly, and often; be specific; and broker compromise. It’s hard! And honestly, the Senate could have used that kind of leadership from Scott Brown, particularly during the budget battles. But we didn’t get it from Brown often enough, and Tisei didn’t give sufficient indication that he’d be enough of a nuisance to a thoroughly unpopular Congressional GOP.

  • Regarding the quality of the opposition: Brown is an energetic and basically genial fellow. But his campaign really sucked, for the most part. The goofy laundry-folding ads; the persistence in going down the dead-end road of Warren’s Cherokee background … it all felt so trivial, as if he wanted the campaign to be fought on such picayune things.

    Frankly, going back to the two Deval elections, we’ve been fortunate to have had such a low quality of political consulting on the GOP side. They are losing winnable elections, and we should not get too smug about it, because they might figure it out someday.

    As David Bernstein says, Brown was a few sizes too small for the role of US Senator, and his campaign didn’t protray him as anything else. That’s an insult to the voters, who have seen great leadership in action. Ted Kennedy’s shadow still looms over that seat, as a towering example of public service, of commitment, and of effectiveness. Brown may have dispelled a Democratic sense of entitlement to the seat in 2010; but he certainly did not fill the shoes of Ted Kennedy in a way that we’ve come to expect.



Discuss

17 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. 519,925 votes

    Elizabeth Warren garnered 519,925 more votes than Governor Patrick did in his 2010 Gubernatorial victory.

    (*As of right now with 97% of precincts reporting.)

    • I was hoping for a few more...

      Senator Warren will end up with ~1.7M votes.

      Senator Kennedy got a high of 1,887,479 in 2000.
      Senator Kerry got a high of 1,959,843 in 2008.

      I was hoping that, thanks to a bit more population and a huge turnout effort in MA (competitive senate, a few competitive house districts) that she’d surpass one or both of the Senator Ks.

      • Those are pretty unrealistic expectations

        He was the “lion of the senate” with incumbency in those races running against token opposition. She was going up against a popular incumbent Senator (before he self destructed) with gobs of cash to throw a the race. This is her first elected office. Lets look at those numbers again in 6 years.

  2. Dear Mass GOP: Thank you for that fake Indian stuff! Outside of Brown making a “rape-as gift-from-God” comment, y’all could not have gift wrapped a nicer blunder for the Democrats to capitalize on. And then when the Confederate wing of your party came out with the offensive war-whooping? Brilliant. That codified the Mass GOP’s position as the Washington Generals of Massachusetts politics.

    National GOP: Thank you for failing to govern like adults and not confirming Elizabeth Warren to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and giving us one of the best Senate candidates in the nation to run against second-teamer Scott Brown. With Mass Dems’ well-oiled beast of a ground game, who knows if Brown could have won re-election against a different candidate, but having a progressive rising star with national-level fund-raising capabilities made it so much easier for us.

  3. You make a lot of good points

    The one thing that jumps out at me. Why on earth did Scott Brown vote against Kagan? She passed 63-37, with Snowe, Collins and Judd Gregg all voting yes. His vote changed nothing and placed him – alone among New England’s four then-GOP Senators – with the right wing of the GOP. It opened him up to this line of attack for no good reason that I can see. And Kagan was a Massachusetts resident when nominated, for God’s sake!

    All Scott’s other votes with the GOP I can sorta see, but this one just perplexes me.

    • Yes - that, and

      the Blunt amendment, which I thought at the time was a huge and inexplicable blunder on Brown’s part, and which I think ended up costing him substantially – not so much on its own, but because it was a key part of building a narrative against him that was able to call into serious question his pro-choicey goodness.

    • The REAL Scott Brown

      Scott Brown’s vote against Ms. Kagan is just another indication of his utter contempt for women. Mr. Brown “loves” women — so long as they are fawning, attractive sex objects that purr when he helps them fold laundry. His sexism has been on display over and over — it permeates his public and private demeanor.

      This election, nationally and locally, is a triumph for women. Many of us celebrate and revel in that triumph. Scott Brown does not.

      • It's interesting

        It would explain the votes but wasn’t there someone there to tell him not to do it? “Look, Scott, she’s going on the Court no matter what you do and you have cover from Snowe, Gregg, et al. It will hurt you a lot in Mass. to vote no on Kagan.”

        David is right – Blunt Amendment is another bad vote for Brown to have to deal with politically.

    • Keeping Citizens for Life Happy

      I am a terrible cynic about Brown’s belief systems. Where choice issues are concerned (and Kagan’s voice was a choice vote then as now, only we were not necessarily scoring it that way), Brown’s vote was critical for a poll that had nothing to do with Massachusetts.

      It is my theory that Brown voted against Kagan and supported the Blunt Amendment to remain solid with Mass Citizens For Life. It makes sense if you think that Brown never repudiated their endorsement either or at least said something to diminish it. Brown needed MCL’s money and they were also his ticket to money outside of the state. Sure Pro-lifers are unlikely to match Wall Street’s cash, but as Brown’s trailing of Warren fundraising shows, he needed all the help he could get.

      Brown needed to keep MCL and the Nat’l Pro Life groups happy and these votes were the way to do it armed with lame excuses like a lack of judicial experience or pitting a woman against her church (a non-Catholic can be pitted against “her” Catholic church?). Obviously this was not gamed out long-term because, the money was not worth it. Brown has had an issue with failing to play the long-game…ever! Blunt Amendment & Kagan. Voila!

  4. The Senate now has a Lioness

    “And she can flip that table over if she wants, too. ”

    I am so looking forward to that. :-)

  5. Embrace the horror...

    The downside of this, of course, is that as Dems scoop up moderates, their governing majority becomes less disciplined. And as the GOP sheds moderates, it becomes more disciplined. So we should not be surprised by the “herding cats/Dems in disarray” narrative that will doubtless continue over the next 2-4 years. That’s the gift of the Tea Party.

    … That’s the gift of the founding fathers.

    Let us not fall into the trap of treating this “disarray” as aberration: that “disarray”, in deed and in truth, is exactly, precisely and comprehensively how things are designed to work. It is the norm. It is the process. It is the way things are, and ought to be.

    It is that heedless, lockstep and ruthless discipline of the Republican party that is aberration and because it is not just outside the process but specifically against the process it is either going to fail completely (which will be win for democracy) or supplant the process entirely (which will be epic fail for democracy)

  6. Oh what a beautiful morning

    Oklahoma’s loss is our gain and the country’s gain.

    How proud I am to live in Massachusetts. And with apologies to both Rogers and Hammerstein and to Shakespeare, “She Stoops (NOT) to Conquer”

  7. You don’t have to be particularly moderate to be bipartisan: see Kennedy, Ted

    This is a pretty good point.

    This also makes for good governance. The Affordable Care Act would have been better if conservatives had decided: well, this is happening, so we might as well make the most of it” rather than mere obstructionism. One might say that the bill that passed benefitted from conservative input into the failed 1990s bill.

    It has been very costly to the country, as a whole, that the Republicans have so thoroughly retreated from actually governing. Even if the continued fever produces streams of Democratic electoral victories, we would all be far better served if the fever breaks.

    Sadly, I still see no evidence that a fever break is at all likely. We shall have a test of this presently, if the administration and Senate can summon the ability to maneuver the blame for fiscal cliff problems onto the House. I am not confident that this is a mission that Sen. Reid is up to. I hope I am wrong.

    • Interesting contrast

      between Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn last night.

      McConnell: yeah, OK, Obama won but the people still returned a GOP House and “close” Senate, so do it our way if you want to get anything done. Cornyn was much more conciliatory and chastened.

      If I’d presided over an RSCC that lost 9 of 12 competitive races I’d be chastened too, but it’s not all Cornyn’s fault Akin and Mourdock couldn’t keep their mouths shut about rape.

  8. When Warren announced, I thought

    OK, it’s actually worth having 2 years of Scott Brown representing me if we end up with Senator Elizabeth Warren instead of Senator Martha Coakley. One of many reasons why I was so upset when Brown’s poll numbers were so good at the outset of the race. How could we possibly pass up the opportunity to send Elizabeth Warren to the Senate? That thought, along with Scott Brown’s vile campaign attacks, motivated me to spend a lot of weekend days canvassing. And I know I’m not alone on that.

    Victory sure feels sweet today. That and looking forward to an entire weekend not having to knock on strangers’ doors. ….

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Mon 22 Sep 12:14 PM