The dynamics in Mass. are all about three main things: a) a rather bland Dem candidate who took the race or granted for too long while the opponent got out there and pressed the flesh; b) a very deep recession, NOT caused by Obama/Dems, that simply has a lot of people angry and frustrated and in a general kind of anti-incumbent/anti-incumbent party mood regardless of the incumbent party; c) an off-cycle election where an insurgent candidacy can gain traction in a reduced electorate; and electorates are almost ALWAYS reduced in off-cycle/special election environments, especially among Dems/Progressives who are almost ALWAYS less reliable than R's/Conservatives/Conservative-leaning. THIS is what is going on in Mass.: LOCAL dynamics during a deep economic recession. It is not a function of huge Dem party/liberal contempt of national level Dem/Obama policies. OVERALL, the nation is indeed MODERATE, and Prez elections and MANY other elections are decided by these swing voters, as happened in '06 and '08 out of anger with Bush/Cheney/R's. And GOVERNING with an opposition party and a diverse Dem caucus requires the kind of compromise that the very nation was founded upon. *** All said, the Dems are working the ground HARD right now in Mass., and I think they'll win it by a few points.
Further, people should consider:
1) SCHIP, all kinds of green initiatives, Lilly Ledbetter law, working to close GITMO, new financial regs., a stimulus to save or create well over a million jobs, more stem cells, fewer choice restrictions, ... can you find ANYTHING there "progressive" enough?
2) Health reform is very, very difficult. It is very complex, and requires huge compromise in a big, ideologically diverse nation. Sorry, but that is the way it is. It is the idea to excise tax "Cadillac Plans" that has people up in arms. They are working to tweak that. The current pipe dream of single payer is nice and one I'd love to see, but even Kucinich says there is not enough of a national movement to accomplish that now. The health bill does many good things too, and it is just a START. We can't only see the negative, much like Eeyore as some say these days.
3) There are HUGE differences between D's/Obama and the likes of McConnell, Boehner, DeMint, Inhofe, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck..... So please be more fair.
here on the ground the reality is the people hate this HCR bill. I know, I know, nobody wants to come out of their denial to hear that but it is the simple truth. All that other stuff you mention in your OP plays a much smaller role here in MA. On the street here in MA, people are saying no to Martha because of her flip to support HCR.
17. No one on DU sounds like that, although you wish we did.
Edited on Sun Jan-17-10 08:03 AM by Tesha
What we tell you. over and over again, is that:
1. We knew Obama wasn't on the side of the progressives, but we at least expected that he would honor his minimalist campaign promises.
2. Aided and abetted by his DLC and corporate friends, he hasn't done so. He has caved-in on a variety of important promises.
3. We're tired of working hard to elect people (whom we already realize are compromises/compromisers) who then turn out to give away the store to the other guys.
4. Eventually, the moral hazard of continuing to be willing to work for "the lesser of two evils" is going to wear people down and they're going to stop doing that.
5. 2010 may finally be the year where that happens, galvanized by Obama's *STUNNING* betrayal of so many of his campaign promises.
But I realize stating all that isn't nearly as much fun as mocking a rather large set of DUers and activists who are generally supportive of democratic values and also Democratic candidates when they happen to hold to democratic values.
3. I am not reassured by your rationalization of the mess we're in. I'm in VA and saw what happened in
Edited on Sun Jan-17-10 07:43 AM by leveymg
the Governor's race earlier this year. It's much simpler than you might think - 23 percent of so of the electorate that turned out to vote for Obama and the rest of the ticket simply didn't show up. The Republicans all did, and picked up the State House by a 60/40 margin. They did it without even picking up many previous centrist/independents. They turned out, we didn't.
That's a fact that the Democratic Party leadership is going to have to understand. It's the party activists who turn out the vote. If we don't ring doorbells, and make phone calls, it's not going to happen. In '08 we talked many people -- discouraged voters -- into voting who hadn't been to the polls in a long time. If the Party Leadership continues to turn its back in the base and the people, then they're going to lose a lot more elections. Maybe, that's what the Blue Dogs want - to be the head of the minority party again. They're doing a great job of making that happen.
6. A discouraged electorate. Not like a plague "reduced" 20 percent of the Democratic vote in VA.
Edited on Sun Jan-17-10 07:40 AM by leveymg
People stayed home because they don't like what they're getting from the leadership. Soem of the other points made by the OP may be also be contributory. But, the basic fact is that the Democratic Party has been demobilized by the actions of its elected officials in Washington.
You're supposed to just vote because they have D's after their name and because the R's are so much worse. Just don't expect the D's to actually do anything other than a list of a lot of things that people list with "plan to....." or "promise to...." or "started to....." or "committed to........".
And I mean really, isn't that enough?
The sad thing is, for a lot of us including myself it probably will have to be.
Sure. But to be quite honest with you, for every thing progressives may have gotten or liked, in the same legislation or around the same time there have been either just as many or more giveaways or gigantic loopholes in the same legislation or at the same time to corporations, the wealthy, republicans, blue dogs, etc.
"Working" to close Gitmo? O.K. sure. I understand it's not going to happen overnight. But when so many other reprhensible portions of the patriot act and Bush era policies get extended...then o.k. 1 for us....1, 2, 3 for them.
Did the stimulus have some good things in it that created jobs? Sure. And I don't expect Obama to be going door to door handing out checks and jobs to people. But when there were so many other loopholes to let corporations throw more jobs down the shitter, and when there were obvious but clearly ignored ways they could have created even MORE jobs that they just didn't pursue....then o.k. 1 for us....1, 2, 3 for them.
Financial Regulation? Yeah, on that one it's more like a .0025 for us.......several billion for them.
So yeah, there has been some good done. But just as quickly and with other actions or blatant inaction that good is neutered at best, or completely demolished at worst.
Again.....I have no options. I'll continue to vote Dem because I have no choice. And I've accepted that. I'm not going to be one who sits on my hands or doesn't vote and I sure as shit am never voting for republicans. But if you expect me to be part of the cheering section and pretend that shit doesn't stink.....then sorry but that ain't gonna happen.
You are not in Massachusetts. The GOTV effort going on now is almost unprecedented. The activists and campaign workers are out in force in a huge way. No one is sitting on their hands. All the whining and hand-wringing is coming from people far away (like Virginia) who think they have some sort of inside track. The people on the ground in MA are working hard, despite your concern to the contrary, and Coakley will ultimately prevail. Remember, MSNBC, NBC and the other mega-corporate media outlets have a stake in making this a referendum on Obama, which it is not. Don't let their self-serving bullshit fool you.
14. I'm reporting on the ground what I saw here. The same dynamic is at play there - it's only been in
the last couple weeks that DNC, DSCC put a lot of resources into MA, as it is truly a bell-weather race. I'm not trying to throw sand into your GOTV gears (don't impugn my motives), just pointing out the overarching reason why the Democratic Party is in trouble - there's the deepening impression that "Hope and Change" were campaign buzzwords, but policy is bought and paid for.
40. What do you know about GOTV ? Been doing it since LBJ.
Edited on Sun Jan-17-10 12:55 PM by leveymg
My earliest political memory is riding on my father's shoulders at a campaign rally in New Haven. A nice man reached up and shook my hand. My parents tell me it was JFK. I went door to door for LBJ when I was in grade school. I had that Eugene McCarthy flower power bumper sticker for years. Cast my first vote for McGovern. Interviewed Dukakis for a paper in Boston. Was a Kerry Traveler and did electoral protection work in PA. Worked the Obama and combined Democratic campaign as a paid staffer. Was an Obama state and Congressional delegate, worked the polls during the VA Governors race this year. I'm on the freaking Democratic Committee.
Don't lecture me about getting out the vote. Who's the cynic, punk?
While the pundits keep talking about the middle they completely try to discount the left. The way I see it is that Obama margin of victory against a loser like McCain is proof that a lot of voters thought he was too conservative. I know of many that stayed home. Anybody thats "Independent" is automatically classed between the two corporate parties. The democratic party keeps shoving these corporadems up are ass claiming they can get votes. Dull, uninspiring gray flannel candidates never turn out the voters like great progressives can. Senator Wellstone was a good example of this so maybe he had to go. To give Axelrod credit for the campaign reminds me of Warren Spahn's comment about Casey Stengel. He played for Casey with the old hapless Dodgers and the worst team ever 61 Mets and when asked about he said"I knew Casey before and after he was a genius. Besides that I think many independents are really just low information voters and need an exciting candidate to get them to turn out.
10. Understand first what national governing is all about. 2nd, all politics is local.
Edited on Sun Jan-17-10 08:02 AM by RBInMaine
To win a prez election and many others, you must have swing voters. It remains on balance a centrist NATION. The '06 and '08 were swung to Dems by moderate Indies disallusioned with Bush/R'. YES, the base is also critical, but to expand the map, you must get the Indy moderate swing voters in big elections. In VA you just had two Dem govs. Rare they would elect three in a row. Deeds stunk as a candidate. We have a severe recession, and the R there talked economy, economy, economy and won over the I's. Dems/Progressives are always less reliable, and they were especially uninspired by Deeds, while Obama remained quite popular. Very similar in New Jersey. Corzine blew it bigtime as an individual with his governing style, so enough held their noses and let Christie win with 49%. (There was no love for Christie.) Plus add in the severe recession, and there you have it.
Look at CA right now. Arnie the Govenator is quite unpopular, and that will probably be a Dem pickup next time around.
To GOVERN nationally, there must be compromise because of the huge diversity across the Dem party and having to work to some degree with the opposition party. Still, on balance we have far more "progressiveness" with Obama/Dems than with R's in power. This is what far too many "progressives" seem to refuse to recognize. It is always seems "glass half empty."
In MA, Obama is quite popular. This is not his fault. It was a weak campaign strategy by Coakley. But I think she'll still pull it out. They are working damn hard in this endgame to do that.
19. We aren't even holding onto the map we had in '06. Again, look at VA.
Edited on Sun Jan-17-10 08:11 AM by leveymg
Swing voters tend to be low-information voters or discouraged voters who swing with whichever party currently has momentum and the most plausible promise of change. Right now, that is not the Democratic Party because of the failure of the leadership to appear to be committed and capable of delivering a change agenda. Results are even more important to the activist base who need to see a return for their hard work.
Delivering SChip, etc. may be important, but it's not really enough of what people are looking for. We're looking for major legislative accomplishments in proportion to the number of Democrats in office -- something Harry Reid and Barack Obama aren't delivering. Nancy has a better track record delivering a solid majority in the House, which has a more progressive membership. The Senate has been too timid and centrist, because timid centrists still run the upper house. Obama has, as well, appeared to be timid and centrist. They've been ineffective at delivering major reforms in an environment that requires bold, aggressive action.
We need to govern from a clearly identifiable set of principles. That's what leaders do. The American people have yet to see much real leadership, and are becoming discouraged. That opens the door to those who want to destroy what we hope to create.
It's not going to be easy. Coakley doesn't seem to know who her base is. No one is fired up. The unions are behind her publicly, but have a history of saying one thing and not being able to get their members to follow through. The frantic phone banking is irritating people because the preliminary weeding out process was not done. Coakley has never won any election except the easy Attorney General one. Mass. has a long history of crushing female candidates for high office. Coakley should have realized this wasn't going to be a cakewalk.
And the liberal base is disheartened because they feel sold out by Congress and Obama. They will probably drag themselves to the polls, but most are not going to work their butts off for elected officials who repeatedly forget about them the day after they win the election. They want to believe but the evidence keeps getting in the way. Meanwhile, the Brown crowd owns talk radio and newspaper letters to the editor sections. And they have bags of money pouring in from everywhere. This will be a real feather in the right wing cap if they can pull it off.
If Martha loses, it will be portrayed as a victory for the teabaggers across the country and the celebration in the media will be unwatchable. The media gasbags will advise everyone running for office to move to the right. If they listen, they are doomed. The lesson is not move to your right, it's play to your activist base. But you won't hear that on tv.
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