Massachusetts

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on January 19, 2010

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Today is the big day. Obviously, everyone is waiting for the big news to come out tonight, once the polls close, and it becomes clear (perhaps) who the next Senator from Massachusetts is. But in the meantime, we can peruse some of the coverage and news concerning the race.

How do we know that the momentum is with Scott Brown? Well, for one thing, Keith Olbermann is remaining as classy as ever. One wonders whether MSNBC is embarrassed yet. It is nice to see that Joe Scarborough called Olbermann out, but he could just as easily call out Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow. In any event, it is crystal clear that Olbermann no longer has the standing to criticize any other pundit for intemperate rhetoric–assuming he had that standing in the first place. “Fear and loathing” indeed.

I welcome President Obama getting “combative” in the event of a Coakley win. As, quite frankly, would any Republican who hopes that the White House would keep doing what they are doing–and what is helping Republicans win seats after two disastrous consecutive election cycles. More here.

Nate Silver now believes that Brown is a 3:1 favorite to win the seat. Mark Blumenthal–despite not wanting to–seems to agree that Brown is the favorite. Anecdotal evidence appears to back up Silver’s and Blumenthal’s conclusions:

Blue Hill Avenue runs like a vein through the city.

It stretches for 4 miles, from River Street in Mattapan to Dudley Street in Roxbury, and a little more than a year ago there was an Obama sign on every block. There were Obama signs in Mattapan barber shops, in the windows of the apartment buildings opposite Franklin Field and Franklin Park, in the restaurants of Grove Hall, in the bodegas near Jermaine Goffigan Park.

Fourteen months ago, there was a buzz on Blue Hill Ave. and the streets that run off it like caterpillar legs. This is the heart of the biggest minority community in the state, and the energy generated by the prospect of Barack Obama becoming president was palpable.

Yesterday, I drove the length of Blue Hill Ave. and counted exactly two Martha Coakley signs. One of them was on a fence next to the Roxbury Energy Gas station, on the corner of Moreland Street. The sign wasn’t properly fastened. It flapped in the wind, revealing a “Mike Flaherty for Mayor’’ sign underneath.

If Martha Coakley loses today, it won’t be because she didn’t put up enough signs on Blue Hill Ave. It’ll be because she failed to convince enough of the people who put up the Obama signs on Blue Hill Ave. and a lot of other avenues across Massachusetts that Obama’s ability to get anything done depends on her winning the election.

Coakley’s campaign may be the worst run by anyone not named “John McCain.”

Blue-on-blue infighting has begun, never a good sign for a candidate like Martha Coakley, who is trying desperately to show people that she is able to pull off an upset. And why not? The comment in this story is entirely accurate:

“In some ways, Republicans have already won,” said Jennifer Duffy, the Senate analyst for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report in Washington. “Nobody ever imagined a special election in Massachusetts for Ted Kennedy’s seat would ever get remotely competitive.”

If this is how effective a Republican campaign could be in Massachusetts, imagine how effective it could be elsewhere.

UPDATE: More blue-on-blue warfare and fingerpointing reported here. And as Mona Charen points out, Coakley’s gaffes would be the stuff of non-stop, national jokes if she were a Republican.

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