One More Day Until The Massachusetts Special Election . . .

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on January 18, 2010

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But until the votes are cast and counted, and until victory is declared, I guess we can still have some fun–or what passes for fun–covering the political situation.

We can start off by noting that Massachusetts Democrats seem to have forgotten the name of the incumbent President of the United States (here’s a hint: It’s not “Bush”), and the name of their Senate candidate (here’s a hint: It’s not “Marcia”).

On a more serious front, the polls continue to make Scott Brown’s camp relatively happy. Here’s Public Policy Polling, which does give Coakley some reasons for hope, but not many. Nate Silver thinks that Massachusetts is a toss-up, but the Rothenberg Political Report now has Massachusetts as “lean takeover” for the Republicans, stating that “Brown is running extremely well with Independents in the Bay State, and unless Democratic turnout exceeds everyone’s expectations, Brown is headed for a comfortable win.” The Merriman River Group and InsideMedford.com, give Brown a 9.6% lead.

It is, of course, still possible for Coakley to win in Massachusetts. But even apart from the fact that she has been an awful candidate, and has run an awful campaign, there are plenty of reasons why Democrats cannot take any comfort whatsoever in a Coakley win:

Political operatives say the Senate race in Massachusetts between Democratic state attorney general Martha Coakley and Republican state senator Scott Brown is too close to call. But the fact that President Obama felt the need to fly to the Bay State to campaign for a Democrat in one of the most Democratic states in the nation speaks volumes about the ugly climate for Democratic candidates.

Coakley has run an imperfect campaign and has had a rough couple weeks. But, as one senior White House official acknowledged to me, “in Massachusetts, even after a rough couple weeks the Democrat should be ahead.” Polls have Coakley and Brown neck and neck.

Jake Tapper’s report goes on to point out that (a) the White House is not comfortable talking about health care reform in Massachusetts(!); and (b) the White House feels it needs to demonize “some who stood on the sidelines, who were protectors of the big banks, and protectors of the big insurance companies, protectors of the big drug companies, who would say, ‘You know what, we can take advantage of this crisis,” forgetting, of course, this:

Today, of course, is Martin Luther King Day, and Coakley is seeking to wrap herself in the mantle of the great civil rights leader. It doesn’t seem to be working:

Martha Coakley spoke to the Boston Martin Luther King Day Breakfast this morning, making the case to a subdued crowd of dignitaries at the Hynes convention center that voting for her tomorrow will help carry on King’s legacy.

[. . .]

Coakley received polite, seated applause, but her tepid reception at a stronghold of Democratic politics reflected the lack of excitement among Democrats for the race. Brown was also received warmly, shaking hands and taking pictures with well-wishers during pauses in the morning’s event.

(Emphasis mine.)

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