Today's Boston Herald article about Martha Coakley's reinvented campaign shows a real lesson learned for the Attorney General. While I am right on the bandwagon with my disappointment in the outcome of the recent Senate special election, they say every cloud has a silver lining–and this is it: Martha Coakley is back, and her campaign style shows serious signs of improvement.
Coakley's performance at yesterday's South Boston St. Patrick's Day breakfast shows a candidate eager to acknowledge the weaknesses of her previous campaign and a person with enough class to poke fun at herself. This kind of resilience will serve her well, since Coakley needs to inspire her supporters to head out and campaign for her, merely weeks after her self-acknowledged “crushing defeat.”
Coakley has a strong record as Attorney General, fighting for the citizens of Massachusetts and winning back millions of taxpayer dollars in fines and settlements. Yet competence and a strong positive record do not, as we recently learned, astrong candidate make. Politics, particularly in a shortened special election, require a more retail-esque approach, and now-Senator “Downtown” Scotty Brown sold himself well.
That fact is not lost on Attorney General Coakley. Coakley now cracks jokes about standing outside Fenway Park shaking hands. She now makes a conscious effot to shake every hand in the room at local political breakfasts. She now even stands out in the rain, greeting voters and gathering her own signatures for the ballot.
These facts show that Martha Coakley is back, and Martha Coakley has seriously reinvented herself. Coakley's introductory song at yesterday's breakfast, “You're as Cold as Ice,” is a real effort to laugh at the past and move beyond her recent image as cold and distant. She's back, competent and engaged, not only in her work as she's always been, but with her constituents as well.
Keep it up Martha. Your voters are disenchanted, and rightly so. But as you hit the trail again, keep the voters engaged. They need to see that you're still with them. Keep it up Martha, and they'll be with you again too.