Baker said he would have had to run a perfect race “in an ideal political environment” and that, by pulling 8 percent of the vote Tuesday, Cahill “made our already narrow window that much narrower.”
Ah yes, the old Howie Carr “it’s all Tim Cahill’s fault” line. No doubt, Cahill’s candidacy complicated Baker’s task to some extent. But polling suggested that the second choice of Cahill voters was Baker only somewhat more often than it was Patrick. And Baker handled the Cahill situation about as badly as humanly possible. Between the over-the-top RGA ads that set an intensely negative tone early on and the total cock-up that was Loscocco-gate, Baker did more harm to his own candidacy than Cahill could ever have dreamed of.
Furthermore, the concession that in order to win, Baker would have had to run “a perfect race” is a remarkable one. As has been amply demonstrated here and elsewhere (and elsewhere), Baker ran far from a perfect race. In fact, he ran a dreadful race. So his concession pretty much means that even if Cahill hadn’t run, Baker still would have lost.
This is perhaps the best line:
“Some swing voters seemed to sour on Republicans in the final days due to national news coverage regarding a Republican takeover of Congress,” Baker wrote.
Ah – ingenious! You see, the fact that Republicans had enormous momentum elsewhere actually worked against us here, because … um, well, the prospect of a Republican takeover of Congress made people think that maybe the Democrats should still hold the State House? Or something?
Ridiculous, of course. It had been nearly a foregone conclusion that the GOP would take over the House for months. What “some swing voters” soured on in the final days was the suicidal decision of Charlie Baker, Scott Brown, and Mitt Romney, perhaps MA’s most prominent Republicans, to campaign with Jeff “damaged goods” “strip search? what strip search?” Perry, thereby guaranteeing Baker several days of negative news coverage when he could least afford it. The explosive Big Dig Memo also hurt Baker in that final week, as it rubbed salt in the self-inflicted wound caused by refusing to talk about that issue all along.
Which brings us to Exhibit C, Scott Brown himself. As someone drolly commented (wish I could remember who it was), nude men don’t have coattails. 😀
Anyway, Brown chatted with the Globe, and as Bob has correctly pointed out (building on a tweet sent out by yours truly), Brown promptly whined about how the mean ol’ Democrats never vote with him. Except that they do. Unbelievable.
And then there’s this.
The senator said that even though results in Massachusetts were not what he or the GOP had sought, he was impressed with both the candidates and the energy behind them.
“I’m very proud of all our candidates,” he said.
I guess he has to say that. But really, the Great MA GOP Debacle of 2010 is not going to do the Brown In 2012 cause any favors. He stuck with Jeff Perry and Bill Hudak, two of the worst candidates to run for anything in this state in years.
“Listen, I wasn’t on the ballot two days ago,” he said.
As a technical matter, no, he wasn’t. But as a practical matter, of course he was. This whole Republican surge started on January 19, 2010, and it started in Massachusetts. The fact that Brown, with all his newfound political celebrity, wasn’t able to boost a single MA candidate over the finish line is a remarkable testament to MA voters’ independence; after all, many Scott Brown voters in January (especially unenrolleds) voted for Deval Patrick and for Democratic congressional candidates on Tuesday. The fact that MA independents have turned out to be a whole lot more independent than Brown himself has the potential to devastate his next campaign.
Scott is correct to avoid any talk of the 2012 race. But there’s of course no doubt that it’s on his mind. And he likely is, and should be, nervous. The big question now is who the Democrats will run. I have my preferences, but I’m not going to say much about that now, since it’s only fair to the potential candidates to give them a little bit of time to assess the situation and decide what they want to do.
I do hope that they don’t sit on their hands for too long, since the race will not be easy. What we learned on Tuesday is that it’s possible. And that’s huge.