Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 20, 2010

LESSONS LEARNED.... Given that the results in Massachusetts were not quite what the political world was expecting as of, say, two weeks ago, there will be plenty of "what just happened?" questions over the next several days. We're already hearing ample talk about what lessons Democrats should have learned from this painful defeat.

I think it's probably a mistake to overstate the larger significance of a special election 10 months before the midterms, but it'd be foolish to pretend Scott Brown's victory was some random fluke, never to be repeated again.

With that in mind, here are my Top 5 lessons to be learned from the Mess in Massachusetts.

1. Successful candidates hit the campaign trail. Candidates seeking office should probably campaign while voters are making up their minds. It's old-fashioned thinking, I know, but winning a primary and then dropping out of sight -- while your opponent is working hard to reach out to voters -- tends to be a bad idea.

For much of the post-primary period, the campaign calendar on the Coakley website was blank. Dave Weigel noted yesterday, "From the primary through last Sunday, Scott Brown held 66 events of varying size. Coakley held 19." Part of this is because Brown had to introduce himself to voters who had no idea who he was, while Coakley was already well known. But 19 events in 40 days is evidence of a Senate candidate who was taking victory for granted -- and in the process, throwing victory away.

2. Voters like likeable candidates. Some voters care more about policy and substance than which candidate they most want to have a beer with, but these voters tend to be outnumbered. We've all seen races in which the thoughtful, hard-working, experienced candidate who emphasizes substantive issues loses out to the fun, likable opponent (see 2000, presidential election of).

The Massachusetts race fits this model nicely. Chris Good noted this week, "[W]hile Coakley focused on the issues in this race, Brown can credit his lead in multiple polls to his own personality and personal image, which he crafted with a series of successful ads portraying him as an average, likable guy." It's tempting to think voters in a mature democracy, especially in a state like Massachusetts, would prioritize policy over personality, and appreciate the candidate who "focused on the issues." But yesterday was the latest in a series of reminders that personal qualities often trump everything else.

3. Saying dumb things will undermine public support. When the pressure was on, Coakley insulted Red Sox fans -- twice. She kinda sorta said there are "no terrorists in Afghanistan," and that "devout Catholics" may not want to work in emergency rooms. When the Democratic campaign realized it was in deep trouble, and readied an effort to turn things around, it had trouble overcoming the distractions caused by the candidate's public remarks.

Maybe, if the campaign had been in gear throughout the post-primary process, Coakley would have been sharper on the stump, had more message discipline, and been less likely to make these costly, distracting errors.

4. Learn something about your opponent. Because the Democratic campaign assumed it would win, it didn't invest much energy in understanding its opponent (who, incidentally, won). They didn't identify Brown's weak points, and seemed to know practically nothing about his background. When the race grew competitive, nearly all of the damaging stories about the Republican candidate came from well-researched blog posts, not the campaign's opposition research team. "Get to know your opponent" is one of those lessons taught on the first day of Campaign 101, and campaigns that forget it are going to struggle.

5. Enthusiasm matters. No matter how confused and uninformed Brown's supporters seemed, they were also motivated. Dems liked Coakley, but they weren't, to borrow a phrase, fired up and ready to go.

Looking ahead, chances are pretty good that organized right-wing voters will be mobilized and itching to vote in November. They certainly were yesterday. Democrats can't expect to do well with an unmotivated, listless party base.

Steve Benen 6:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (51)

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What should have been learned is that when elected to LEAD you have to lead by ALL means necessary to get the job completed. Both parties have constructed the Washington machine to run on lies and bullshit and once in charge one party can NOT claim they do not want to get their hands dirty running the piece of shit they helped to create. There is no moral high ground in a shit hole.

Posted by: Disinterested Bystander on January 20, 2010 at 6:45 AM | PERMALINK

6. Independents don't vote Republican because the Democratic candidate wasn't liberal enough.

Posted by: Bobzim on January 20, 2010 at 6:54 AM | PERMALINK

Will "pulled a Coakley" be a new meme?

I find the circular firing squad happening now quite sad, especially with someone like Anthony Weiner who should be above all this. It's obvious that Brown winning the seat was a huge sigh of relief to them because now they have an excuse not to do what they never wanted to do in the first place--actually take a chance on something important. Cowards.

Posted by: Matt on January 20, 2010 at 6:58 AM | PERMALINK

Hopefully, Obama and most Dems deny that healthcare had anything to do with this election. Please PLEASE keep rearranging the deck chairs.

Posted by: Palin-Brown 2012 on January 20, 2010 at 6:58 AM | PERMALINK


Please PLEASE keep taking chances. I hear if you jump off a cliff, there's a chance you will live too.

Posted by: Palin-Brown 2012 on January 20, 2010 at 7:01 AM | PERMALINK

Similar to an off year election, antis show up more and they came with a vengeange. Poor choice of a candidate by our party. However, perhaps, the Progressives should have paid more attention to the writings of Arthur Schlessinger in the early '80s about pendulum swings between left and right. Those who wanted to completely write off the RepuGs, early last year, failed to see how important it was to hold the independents and let them drift away to vote for the beleagured RepuGs. Couple that with the insecessant threads by the Bob Cescas and, even Steve B, about the kookie antics of the nut cases in the RepuGs, when they should have been writing, as Shortstop has decried, about what our administration and weak so-called Demos in Congress have been failing to do. Of course, anytime anyone criticized this on liberal web logs, they were shouted down as Never Were supporters and reminded of how terrible Shrub was and that Obama is a superb three-dimensional chess player. Well, Mr Obama is, now, looking at a possible check mate. So, continue on with the kookie type threads about St Sarah and/or any other nutzo RepuG at your folly.

Posted by: berttheclock on January 20, 2010 at 7:11 AM | PERMALINK

Bobzim: Independents don't vote Republican because the Democratic candidate wasn't liberal enough.


do they vote for republicans who say things like...

oil companies and insurances companies are our friends?

like a guy did on cspan today?

Posted by: mr. irony on January 20, 2010 at 7:14 AM | PERMALINK

Brown pulled a "Wellstone." Sorta. Being from MN, thinking that a Wellstone, a poli sci prof was going to beat the incumbent GOP Sen. Rudy Boschwitz was insane. Rudy was a big $$ guy for the GOP, he served 2 terms already (?) & was seen as unbeatable. & Wellstone was the sacrificial lamb.The problem was, no one told Wellstone.

He out hustled Boschwitz plain & simple, had endearing, positive & humorous adverts, & Boschwitz ended up doing a "I'm a good Jew, Wellstone's a bad Jew" letter. Wellstone won by a few points. Wellstone acted like he wanted to win. Boschwitz, not so much.

Posted by: Flounder on January 20, 2010 at 7:16 AM | PERMALINK


I feel your pain. Maybe they will "wake up" in 2012 (because I think they are going to double down with healthcare, regardless of what you and Sen. Webb think is the more prudent course).

Posted by: Palin-Brown 2012 on January 20, 2010 at 7:18 AM | PERMALINK

7. Health reform isn't the guaranteed vote getter liberals want to believe it is.

Guys, instead of pretending that this campaign was all about surface, consider the substance: BROWN RAN AGAINST OBAMA'S HEALTH PLAN FROM DAY ONE! Hello! Hello!

Posted by: Alan Vanneman on January 20, 2010 at 7:19 AM | PERMALINK

Correction - Forgot the "not" in " not letting them drift away".

It was only a few months ago in Vancouver, WA where they had an mayoral race. One of those "non-party" elections, where everyone knew what to which party the candidates were alligned. The incumbent was an excellent Democrat. The neophyte had Rossi, the RepuG who had run twice for governor of WA, attend his rallies to cheer him on. The key to the election was the neophyte promising the voters that he would block any tolls for the proposed new bridge across the Columbia. Hot button issue. Even though the Mayor of Vancouver has no say in the issue, he was promising the moon and the voters ate it up and swept him into power. Sadly, the RepuGs are still very much alive. Rattlers are hard to kill.

Posted by: berttheclock on January 20, 2010 at 7:21 AM | PERMALINK

#3 only applies to Democrats.

Posted by: G'kar on January 20, 2010 at 7:22 AM | PERMALINK

As a lifelong Democrat and intense supported of Health Care Reform, I would have to say that we need to immediately drop the whole project of HCR.

There really is no point in having 60 Dem Senators or a house majority. Too many Democrats in that mix are simply pimps for lobbyists. The discussion on HCR has gone on for SO LONG because we have so many on our side who are really NOT on our side. Evan Bayh was talking yesterday about how "leftist" the current bill is. Think about it, having stripped nearly every progressive idea from the bill, this whore from Indiana calls it "leftist." This is the fair read on the state of the Democratic Party.

Now turn to who surround Obama. Geithner, Summers, Emmanuel, Bernanke (though not so much). What we have is gang of shills for Wall Street. And so we get what? Demagoguery without teeth. No real limits on the bloodsuckers who were baied out. No, nothing. So much so this year the goddamn banks can give themselves 140 Billion dollars in bonuses.

Wake UP guys. These aren't the type of folks FDR would be taking advice from - not the Bayhs and Snowes, the Geithners and Summers. Obama is trying to play the role of George HW Bush, not one of a Democrat. And so, between the whores who surround him and the pimps in the Democratic party, the fucking country is sick of how long this HCR shit has taken.

Jim Webb is right. Fuck this thing. It's over. Maybe if Obama can go back to his campaign pledge so we could real transparency on how lobbyists work with the pimps and shores I've mentioned we could make a start.

Here's what Obama shouls say: "The Massachusetts election makes it quite clear that we have failed to communicate what the current HCR bill does for us all. It is not a great bill. All the progressive ideas that could have been in the bill were killed by people in MY OWN PARTY. I cannot rely on my OWN PARTY to actually help solve this probem. In addition, we have spent far too much time on this issue. The problem the bill tried to address in good faith is real. The problem will only become bigger, but until I have Democrats in congress who are as committed as I am to actually making things better, we would be fooing oursleves to continue on this path. I would now like to talk about how we plan to severley tax the bonuses the banks have paid themselves - it is simply unacceptable for public fund to be used by these institutions who then turn around and pay themselves back such huge sums of money......"

I would have to say the HRC has worked out WORSE this time than under Bill Clinton. The Tea Party anger is FULLY CHANNELABLE, and in it's core is populist. THIS is where we should be as Democrats - not sucking up to a bunch of fucking Wall Street whores who are advising Obama. IF we WANT TO WIN that is and maybe reintroduce HRC in an Obama second term. Of course, knowing the stupididty and lily livered pansy bloods who inhabit the Democratic Congress, they will probably provide another bank bailout to some guy whoring Geithner or Summers.

Bush squandered his capital after 911 by seeking one party rule. Obama's capital has been squandered by his unwillingness to recognize the anger in the country at Wall Street, and by his troops, half of whom are simply better off fellating lobbyists.

Posted by: manfred on January 20, 2010 at 7:22 AM | PERMALINK

Sadly, as well, is that Obama ran AWAY from his own health care personal choice.

Posted by: berttheclock on January 20, 2010 at 7:24 AM | PERMALINK

Alan Vanneman:

SHHHHH! They don't want to hear that message (sent loud and clear by the most liberal Commonwealth). Repeat after me: "It was all Coakley's fault. Obama didn't even go to Massachusetts last Sunday. Down is up."

Posted by: Palin-Brown 2012 on January 20, 2010 at 7:29 AM | PERMALINK

Add to the list arrogance on the part of the White House and the DNC who never ever thought that the GOP could lose "Teddy's" seat.

Posted by: bkmn on January 20, 2010 at 7:35 AM | PERMALINK

You mean "win" the seat?

Posted by: Palin-Brown 2012 on January 20, 2010 at 7:37 AM | PERMALINK

Coakley was sort of a Kerry-type. Our side asssumed that all would go our way.

But face it, Coakley was swift-boated into the dust-bin of history.

The dems seem to think that the country is ready for their agenda.

Problem is, it ain't.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on January 20, 2010 at 7:38 AM | PERMALINK

Good analysis, except that the last line begs the question. Certainly we can't expect to win with unmotivated, listless VOTERS.

But I don't think we lost Massachusetts because of the lack of a public option in the health care plan.

Posted by: larry birnbaum on January 20, 2010 at 7:45 AM | PERMALINK

Coming from a town that overwhelmingly voted for Coakley even though many of my friends and neighbors were less than impressed by her campaigning, it is clear that in this outpost of the Democratic Party policy and issues mean more than personality and looks. We aren't representative of Massachusetts or the country as a whole, and on this dismal, depressing morning I wish we didn't belong to either one.

Obama has lacked the courage of his convictions, or his supposed convictions, basically feckless, and he has paid the price. His presidency is essentially over, and the Rethugs will win major victories this fall.

As the Tea Baggers have split the Rethugs by saying the party isn't conservative enough, so must the Progressives split the Dim Dems by throwing out the whores and pimps who pretend to be interested in 'the people'. We are in for a lot chaos , and at this point I say bring it on.

Posted by: rRRk1 on January 20, 2010 at 7:47 AM | PERMALINK

Open note to President Obama.

You are no three dimensional chess player; you, Sir, are a Patzer of the first order.

Posted by: berttheclock on January 20, 2010 at 7:52 AM | PERMALINK

"Coakley was swift boated"?

She never even got her row boat out of the garage. Did see where on the last day before the election, she tried to special order a Boston Whaler.

Posted by: berttheclock on January 20, 2010 at 7:57 AM | PERMALINK

Yes Larry, but a public option still polls well, meanwhile the current bill is 20 points down - a suicidal endeavour at this stage.

Single payer or a Public option is a TANGIBLE thing that is easy to explain to a voter. The same voters who are scared shitless of "socialism" liked the public option. Their cognitive dissonance is one of sound bites, not deep thought or reflection.

What about the current HCR bill is easily explined other than "no pre-existing conditions"? None. And that's exactly how Bayh, Nelson, Lieberman and all these other shits who dragged this out want it to be. That is exactly how about 10-15 of our DEM Senators want this to be.

Frankly, what I would like to channel my personal energy into is to make sure a lot of these lobbyist whores in our party lose in 2010. We need a serious CLEANSING since we have clearly seen that this Democratic Supermajority is a joke. What we need is 40 progressives in the Senate. 40 Progressives in the Senate.

And if Obama doesn't still get the message, screw his second term. It ain't worth it. Better to focus on building a real army.

Posted by: manfred on January 20, 2010 at 7:57 AM | PERMALINK

OK, I voted for Coakley. And, I had to twist my wife's arm to get her to vote for Coakley. My wife's point of view was simple. If she really wanted the job, she would have worked for it.

Coakley's absence on the ground was palpable. Everything in her campaign was geared to the primary. After she won that, the lawn signs went away, the supporters standing on street corners disappeared and lord knows where the candidate went. She took the campaign for granted and was ill-served by those around her who may have told her it would be okay to do so. What was it that

Tip O'Neil used to say? People like to be asked for their vote. Well, she didn't ask.

Posted by: MA Voter on January 20, 2010 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK


Just be sure to hand over the keys to the White House and Congress while you work on actually electing 40 Progressives.

Posted by: Palin-Brown 2012 on January 20, 2010 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

Manfred, did you perhaps vote for Nader in 2K, assuming you were old enough at the time?

Best thing the house could do now is to pass HCR as is; that is in fact an improvement over the status quo, no matter what they say on Fox News, and it will make force the Mass voters who just elected Scott Brown to wonder how he will vote on everything else. If moderate Democrats are so worried about how it "polls" (which polls say it is unpopular, by-the-way?) and getting re-elected, perhaps they will now be a bit more motivated to fix it. Interesting things can happen in reconciliation of other bills.

Posted by: dr2chase on January 20, 2010 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

Lesson #8: Beware of relying too heavily on old-fashioned, machine style politics - and machine-grown pols - to pull you through a tough race.

Martha Coakley made mistakes... but they're built on longstanding assumptions in the Dem establishment: that turnout can solve your problems. That you can rely on historic voting patterns and identifications that work in your favor. Coakley is a product of the Mass deomocrats machine... and the dirty secret is, that machine has been broken for years, but no one seemed to notice, or care. They desperately need new blood, and a fresh approach (and a real shakeup among officials who've been sitting in place for years. Years). The next loss is Deval Patrick... for many of the same reasons. John Kerry may survive this fall, but Patrick probably won't. And the fact that Patrick's loss is probably a done deal, right now, and Democrats can't solve it... is a good indication that Democrats still have a ways to go to figure out what went wrong and how to do things better.

Posted by: weboy on January 20, 2010 at 8:17 AM | PERMALINK

manfred - Well said - you saved me a lot of typing as you pretty much defined my feelings..There is no government any more , only corporate shills of varying degrees.

Posted by: John R on January 20, 2010 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

I would add, if you want to win as a Democrat, distinguish yourself as a politician by standing for something more than Corporate America like our current president.

Posted by: candideinnc on January 20, 2010 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

Some of you don't get it. Coakley had a seemingly insurmountable lead three weeks ago. What changed in such a short time? It wasn't the economy. It wasn't Coakley's campaigning. People didn't like the way the Senate rushed to vote on HCR just before Christmas, and they especially didn't like the closed-door, one sided negotiations between Dem House and Senate Leaders with the President when Obama promised so many times to show it on CSPAN.

Coakley lost because of HCR and the way it was being pushed through. That is the only difference over the past few weeks.

Posted by: NCFan on January 20, 2010 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

6. Politicians seeking statewide office should know all of the above.

And NCFan, the Senate has been deliberating on health insurance reform since the summer. It was hardly "rushed through." Thanks, though, for proving yet again that right-wing talking points depend on falsehoods. It's truly encouraging.

Posted by: Gregory on January 20, 2010 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

It didn't help that Obama refused to say anything about the Christmas Day attack for so long. Most citizens haven't forgotten that the 9/11 flights originated at Logan International.

Posted by: Palin-Brown 2012 on January 20, 2010 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, some of you are really dense.

You have to buy into the GOP frame about yesterday - that it was somehow a referendum - to even think the election had anything to do with HCR. It didn't.

Voters are frustrated because the Democrats aren't getting shit done, and they're blaming the party with the supermajority. Voters don't like the current bill because they don't understand it and still believe alot of the right-wing bullshit about it. Voters rejected a lame candidate in favor of a more charismatic one, because one candidate ran a good campaign and the other didn't.

The worst thing Democrats could do is tuck tail and run away from a year worth of effort. That only reinforces the notion that they are weak and can't govern. But so far, everyone seems to want to buy into the GOP version reality. You people that are advocating to scrap HCR are just doing their work and should be ashamed of yourselves.

It's time to fight. It's time to get things done. The voters want action, and anything less will be a one way ticket to irrelevance.

Posted by: John S. on January 20, 2010 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK


Have I posted anything based on falsehoods?

Posted by: Palin-Brown 2012 on January 20, 2010 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK


Do you live in Massachusetts? Stopping Obamacare is what Brown ran on.

Posted by: Palin-Brown 2012 on January 20, 2010 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

There seems to be a critical aspect missing from your postmortem, Steve. Well, maybe it is supposed to be included in item 5, but in your eagerness to put all blame on the Coatley campaign, where at lot of it undoubtedly belongs, you rather underplayed it:

Don't serially demotivate your activist base! And that one goes right up to the man in the White House.

What we will get to see now, is what stuff Obama is really made of.

Posted by: eserwe on January 20, 2010 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

Another adage should be Pay attention. Brown's surge came out of the blue. Coakley didn't know what hit her. She wasn't paying attention, and neither was the DNC.

Posted by: g on January 20, 2010 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

If the Democrats actually had a health care reform bill, then Obama and the Democratic leadership could go to the American people, explain why the bill is good for the country, and turn the polling around. But for the past six months, there has been no bill, only negotiations over what a bill might look like—first between the Democrats and Republicans, then among Democrats in each house, then between the House and the Senate. And all the time that these negotiations have been going on, everybody from the left and the right has weighed in with their complaints, trying to move the final product in their direction. So of course HCR is not polling well right now.

The solution is not to scrap the current bill and start over, because that will just lead to another six months of negotiations. The solution is for the House Democrats to hold their noses, vote for the bill that came out of the Senate, and then map out a strategy for making it better.

Posted by: Seth Gordon on January 20, 2010 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

For good post-mortem, see http://whatever.scalzi.com/2010/01/20/political-thoughts-before-bed/

Posted by: neil b, on January 20, 2010 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

Howard Dean was passionate about Democratic victory. Tim Kaine is highly intelligent and reasonable.

After three key defeats we need more passion.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on January 20, 2010 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

John S. I am with you on this one. Yea it stings a bit, but put some toothpaste on the sting and keep moving forward....To stop now would be just what the Party of NO wants. As Hilary Clinton said in her concession speech; like Harriett Tubman...when you hear them coming in the night, you don't stop, you never give up"....
What I do not understand is this...
How could the voters of Mass who voted for a person who's thirty plus year legacy has been health care reform, handed it off to a candidate who cleary has intentions of 'killing' the bill, look in the mirrow at themselves this morning? Fucking cowards, did'nt have the balls to go against Ted Kennedy while he was alive.
Brown is Palin in gender reverse....Male/female beauty...all the women/men want to sleep with him/her. But since this state has Universal Health Care, like most American's why think pass yourselves?

Posted by: Sharon on January 20, 2010 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Manfred - I agree with most of your sentiments. However, the American voter is not progressive but self-interested. We have the government we deserve. As a veteran of a long of phone-banking, the level of ignorance of the average voter is truly stunning. Voting, whether dem or repub. is based on manipulating a message that has no relationship to what is actually delivered. I think few will disagree that the political process that we've watched over the last year has been highly dispiriting to democrats. Obama promised too much. He failed to take into account whether his own party supported his vision. They generally do not. I still believe that the President wants to do the right thing, but I think the first day he showed up at the White House, he learned pretty quickly that what he wanted and what was permissible were very different things. I would suggest that the President act in such a way that he is comfortable being a one term President. Think Harry Truman. If he truly is a man of principle, he will take what little power the Presidency has and use it to make things better for those who don't have a seat at the table. He will not get praise from the American people, but maybe he might accomplish something that is worthwhile in the long run.

Posted by: Scott F. on January 20, 2010 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

As for the argument over whether Coakley was too v. not enough liberal: just putting aside competency for now, it's a false, simple-minded spectrum. Even rational voters who are deficit hawks, suspect bureaucracy etc. would be against pro-Wall Street policies and more tax cuts for the rich. It's about being more populist, and trying to get voters to appreciate their own public-interest rather than be stupid tools who fall for ulterior scammers like Brown.

Posted by: neil b, on January 20, 2010 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with John S. above. The Dems lost because they are being seen as a do-nothing party. The Repubs get things done -- bad things, but at least they DO them.

Coakley was a perfect symbol for a do-nothing party. She did nothing to campaign for the seat until it was too late, and she screwed up more often than not. She was a poster child for the Dem's fecklessness, and she paid the price for it.

The prescription to fix this is for the Dems to GET THINGS DONE. It doesn't really matter WHAT, at this point. Just DO SOMETHING.

Posted by: Remus Shepherd on January 20, 2010 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Scott F. on January 20, 2010 at 9:33 AM

Scott F. wins the thread. That pretty much nails it. I've worked in corporate communications for years and it's possible to get people -- even seemingly rational, well-informed people -- to believe anything. It really is all about perception and packaging (truly sad as that may be when it comes to politics).

Posted by: electrolite on January 20, 2010 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

What should be (re)learned is what my great-grand-uncle who spent his life working for Harry Truman told me 40 years ago: Never ever take any election for granted, run every one of them like you're 20 points down.

Coakley and the Democratic establishment in Massachusetts thought they owned that seat, that it was perfectly OK to allow a known bad campaigner to run for the office since it was her "turn." They chose this second-rate bimbo over an alternative with a proven record or fighting in elections and winning.

If these morons want to know who "lost" the election, all they have to do is look in the nearest mirror.

Posted by: TCinLA on January 20, 2010 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Have I posted anything based on falsehoods?
Posted by: Palin-Brown 2012

Nope, just the usual wingnut alternate-universe bullshit.

Posted by: TCinLA on January 20, 2010 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

I have a question for all of you voters in Mass. I heard a caller to the Ed Shultz show on Monday say that the police and fire unions were supporting Brown because of the Gates incident. The argument was that Obama was wrong to intervene in a local police matter and stupid to presume that a police officer could be "bought off" with a bottle of beer. Any truth to that?

Posted by: joanneinDenver on January 20, 2010 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

There's a populist fervor in the electorate that the Cons are tapping into more successfully than Liberals.

Posted by: JWK on January 20, 2010 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

"Have I posted anything based on falsehoods?"
Posted by: Palin-Brown 2012

"Nope, just the usual wingnut alternate-universe bullshit."
Posted by: TCinLA

TCinLA, I'd say you're being a tad harsh on P-B12.
P-B has actually said nothing directly counterfactual -- unusual for a rightwinger, and even more so for a Palin fan -- and thus deserves credit for that.
Of course, there's a big difference between "not lying" and "telling the truth" -- especially if by that we mean "telling the WHOLE truth."
For example: P-B said, truthfully: "Stopping Obamacare is what Brown ran on."
What he leaves out is that, here in Massachusetts, we already have something much better than the current iteration of Obamacare, and it's what P-B and his ilk deride as "RomneyCare." It is very close to universal in the state (read "Commonwealth," but most people other than here or in VA would recognize the term), and despite problems (including budget overruns of course), only about 11% in a recent poll said they wanted MassHealth abolished. That means that even among our teabeggers, over half of them like MassHealth enough to keep it, and want it, as the saying goes, "mended, not ended."
And of course P-B, as with every other Publican, pundit, and punk, utterly ignores the fact that well over half of the US population who disapprove of the current HCR bills do so from the left, not from the right -- specifically, we're furious that the public option is left out, and the mandated purchase is a giveaway to the very insurance firms who have created the vile situation that has us paying 50-100% more for health care than any other civilized country, but getting deeply inferior outcomes for that money.
Similarly, when P-B says -- truthfully -- that "It didn't help that Obama refused to say anything about the Christmas Day attack for so long," he completely elides the fact that W said nothing for far longer (twice as many days) about the Richard Reid attack. Since it's a near-mathematical certainty that P-B didn't have a problem with W at the time, P-B is being a typical Publican tool, fool, and hypocrite -- but not (as far as today's posts go) an out-and-out liar, nor (as w/P-B's hero Palin is) a complete fantasist/fabricator.
Credit where credit is due.

Posted by: smartalek on January 20, 2010 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

We've all seen races in which the thoughtful, hard-working, experienced candidate who emphasizes substantive issues loses out to the fun, likable opponent (see 2000, presidential election of).

Umm, I know this fact has disappeared down the rabbit hole, but the thoughtful, hard-working, experienced candidate who emphasizes substantive issues won more popular votes than the fun, likable opponent.

Posted by: Stefan on January 20, 2010 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK



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