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Five myths about the Massachusetts Senate election

The myth-making about what happened in the special election between Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R) and state Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) has already begun.

Before we got too far removed from what happened -- and a new Post poll in Massachusetts goes a long way to helping understand how Brown won and why -- we thought we would debunk five of the biggest myths about the race that was.

The full piece is over in the Opinions section but here's a taste:

Myth #1: Scott Brown didn't win the race, Martha Coakley lost it.

It's undeniable that when the national spotlight shined on Coakley in the final days of the race, she didn't perform well. From suggesting that there is no al-Qaeda presence in Afghanistan to seeming unfamiliar with Boston Red Sox great Curt Schilling, Coakley was an awkward and uninspiring presence on the campaign trail. But to simply lay the loss at her feet misses the point. Brown and his team knew from the start that the best -- and possibly only -- way to win the race was to sneak up on Coakley. Throughout December, while she was measuring the drapes for her new Senate office, that's exactly what they did.

Despite a financial disadvantage, Brown went on television first with a now-famous -- and sure to be much-copied -- ad that pictured him driving around the state in a pickup truck, reinforcing his average Joe-ness. In a debate eight days before the election, Brown was confident and reasonable, clearly outperforming Coakley. And, most important, in the race's final days -- with a crush of national press attention and millions of dollars' worth of ads being run against him -- Brown stayed true to his central message ("I'm the independent voice in the race"). He offered Coakley and national Democrats no openings on which to attack.

Myth #2: Brown's victory means health-care legislation is dead.

Their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate is now a thing of the past, and Democrats have been left to scramble to salvage President Obama's main legislative priority. Options remain, though, even if none of them are very appealing, particularly since Speaker Nancy Pelosi's pronouncement that the votes are simply not there to pass the Senate bill through the House without any changes. The simple political reality is this: The White House believes that any bill at this point is better than no bill at all. Remember that this president was elected to get Washington working again; an utter collapse of health-care reform would badly undermine that image.

To read the other three myths, check out the full piece.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 22, 2010; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Next: Chatting on Mass. Senate, Citizens United and professional wrestling

Comments

37th

havent you figured out that liberals can say what they want with impunity?

If they ever lived up to their promises and moved we would all be better off.

But liberal promises are hollow.

Posted by: Moonbat | January 23, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

37th&0: are you out of your mind? Obama is a hundred times tougher on terror than George W. Bush ever was. Obama has taken the WoT to where the radical Islamists are entrenched and has managed to have killed more than half the known AQ leaders. Not only did W ignore an explicit warning of 9/11, he dropped the ball on Osama and took the USA into a pointless war that created unprecedented recruiting opportunities for AQ and the Taliban. If Obama is soft, Bush was vaporous.

Please explain your objections to trials in New York. They're criminals, criminals go to court.

Posted by: LouieEnnic | January 23, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

LouieEnnic:

Perhaps you missed the original comment I was responding to?

Posted by: JakeD | January 23, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

"People like the owner of this blog site--Chris Cillizza--will go back to business as usual portraying the GOP as the fiscally responsible party as they go back to their business as usual--enacting policies and ruling on Supreme Court questions in a manner that is pleasing to the powerful, the wealthy, the advantaged and the white, the very, very white.

Take my advice folks. Just drop out and let the media and the republicans have at it. As for me, I am ready to pack up and move to someplace where the public is a bit more rational and intelligent and don't sit around all day gobbling up the rank, squalid leavings of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

Adios Muchachos!

Posted by: jaxas70 | January 23, 2010 9:33 AM"
___________

Adios and good fortune, j70.

O-Nation

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 23, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

jaxas70:

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

==

I feel the same frustration as jaxas. Citizens are supposed to vote their interests, principles, and values, making the best choices they can with the best available information. Not based on who they'd like to drink a beer with or who they relate to better.

And I really don't see the point of snide remarks like this.

Posted by: LouieEnnic | January 23, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

jaxas70:

Don't let the door hit you on the way out. I hear Vietnam is nice this time of year ; )

Posted by: JakeD | January 23, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

People simply do NOT want Obama's soft policy on terrorism.


AND Obama is not doing himself a favor by placing those policies into effect on the low-down - by saying that it is Eric Holder making these decisions - and by telling the public about the policy through leaked memos.

This is what Obama is trying to do: they put out a leaked memo, see if there is an outcry, and if it seems like the political environment is alright, Obama proceeds.

However, what is really happening is that it is not sinking into the public what these soft policies are all about.

So one high-profile incident happens, like the Detroit bomber, and everyone starts talking about ALL the things Obama has done.


Only then does the real reaction of the public come out - and people simply do not want it.


First - get the trials out of New York - how they believe a change-of-venue motion is not going to work in the first place is just not realistic.

And how can a New York jury be fair ? Who in New York has not formed an opinion on 9/11 already?


These issues will be anywhere, but in Manhattan it is crazy to have a trial.


Obama's whole idea that Bush was somehow on a seriously radical track on terrorism is simply wrong - reality has hit Obama's ideas and there is no way that he shouldn't abandon his soft policy.

The enitre country WANTS Obama to quit the soft policy - so why doesn't he do that?


Is he just being stubborn? Or he thinks he knows better than the American people.


There is a base arrogance to Obama which is making all these policy episodes much much worse than they have to be.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 23, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

There is no denying that the cracks started when Obama started looking soft on terrorism in the wake of the Detroit bombing incident.


The mulitiple statements from Obama - gradually exposing his soft policies - started this whole episode.

It wasn't just Coakley on vacation - I don't know if she was actually on vacation or just not campaigning on account of the holidays.

First, in her defense, who wants a political candidate bothering them in a holiday week - it is bad -

I still believe that people are waiting for an opportunity to express their displeasure with Obama - a sentiment which is not showing up somehow in the the approval/disapproval numbers.

Coakley clearly was caught by the compressed nature of that election.

It wasn't just compressed, it the time between the primary and the general was shortened by the holiday - until the campaigns had only two weeks between New Year's weekend and the general.


OK that affected bothe campaigns equally, however that worked in Brown's favor.


The centrality of Obama can not be under-estimated - Obama's policies on health care and terrorism were at the center of this election.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 23, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Chris

broadwayjoe at 9:50 has another "ad hominem" attack


I keep on pointing this out.


The problem is clear: broadwayjoe and his pals start to pile on - and they invite reactions from other posters - then the conflict intensifies from there.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 23, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

There is plenty of messages for the Democrats to take out of this election and this poll tells a lot about what is going on out there. There are also some messages that Republicans need to take so as not to overreach. I am going to pars this poll based on the fact that Coakley still got 47% of the vote

That Obama has done too many things at once. This has created a messaging problem for the Democrats. This problem has been compounded by Obama letting the legislative leadership run the agenda. While this was the intension of our founding fathers this has not been the route to a an effective President in at least the last century.
People want something done about healthcare. Notice that over 60% of Brown's supporters want him to work with Obama on healthcare. What this means is just saying "no" will not work.

Posted by: bradcpa | January 23, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

No hard feelings, "3_." There may still be good tickets remaining to the inaugural game of the All-American Basketball Alliance. Courtside maybe...

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 23, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Truth is most in the Country are just plain mad, they took it out on Coakley and they will do it again unless the Dems and Obama turn things around soon.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | January 23, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

What I take away from all of this is just how gullible and easily manipulated American voters are--especially those who ridiculously call themselves "independent". There is no such thing as an independent. When you go to the polls you are either a democrat or a republican. So called independent or third parties never garner anymore than single digits on a ballot.

When the media polls so called independents what they are doing is polling either a disgruntled republican or a disgruntled democrat. The pollsters never tell you that. They act as though independents were a legitimate party on the ballot.

Look. I would bet you that a good number of the people who voted for Scott Brown are simply angry, emotionally overwrought voters who are less interested in governing or problem solving than they are in making some sort of childish statement. It is rather like a child throwing a tantrum because he or she didn't get want they wanted in the last election. Indeed, the entire tea party mentality seems to be nothing more than a collective tantrum on the part of people who really do not give a hoot about the problems we face but rather are voting against Obama and the democrats out of a spite borne out of a mainstream media that seems to obsess on a negative on Obama that seems to pull in ratings and circulation.

Yes indeed, the democrats have done s poor job because they simply wallowed in their stupid Senate rules and gave themselves over to the worst kind of democrat--conservatives who shouldn't even be labeling themselves democrats because in the final analysis they really do not believe in anything other than grabbing as many goodies as they can for their districts. There is no concern for the nation as a whole in either party right now. The republicans will probably end up right back in power and after they do, how many of you out there think that there will be any tea party protests against them?

People like the owner of this blog site--Chris Cillizza--will go back to business as usual portraying the GOP as the fiscally responsible party as they go back to their business as usual--enacting policies and ruling on Supreme Court questions in a manner that is pleasing to the powerful, the wealthy, the advantaged and the white, the very, very white.

Take my advice folks. Just drop out and let the media and the republicans have at it. As for me, I am ready to pack up and move to someplace where the public is a bit more rational and intelligent and don't sit around all day gobbling up the rank, squalid leavings of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

Adios Muchachos!

Posted by: jaxas70 | January 23, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

", it became clear you are just another brain-dead progressive who has the intellectual capacity of a ball of yarn.

Hilarious to have figured her out so quickly.

Who said liberals weren't transparent?

Posted by: Moonbat | January 23, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

To read the other three myths, check out the full piece here:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/157986

Posted by: JakeD | January 23, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Gov. Palin has never shot an animal from a helicopter. Just like she never said "I can see Russia from my house.". Some people are blinded by hatred.

Posted by: JakeD | January 23, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Republican Scott Brown's win in the most liberal state in the USA is due only because of Barack Obama's incompetance, and his Socialist Communist policies that he's trying to shove down the throats of the American people, who don't want what he's shoveling.
The voters in N.J., Va., and Mass. were merely the first to reject Obama, they won't be the last. By the midterm elections in Nov., even the most fanatical Obama--worshipper will have to admit that the Obama presidentcy is a failed presidentcy.

Posted by: armpeg | January 23, 2010 3:44 AM | Report abuse

Good summary of the aftermath.  Health Care Reform shouldn't be dependent on sixty Senators, bills should pass or fail on simple majorities.  I think this is the first column I ever read that wasn't all about gloom for Democrats.  And odd time to break the pattern.

I think Brown will get a half a term.  By his campaign for re-election he'll either have succumbed to a primary challenge for not being radically right enough, or he'll lose in the election because he's been a Republican toady and joined his party in childish rebellious antics.  It's a lose-lose for him.  And it was a weird election anyway, a McDonnell deception with a negative sign in front of it, running as more conservative than he really is.
In any case, it's really scary how disconnected Americans' voting habits are from reality.  No Republican should be able to get elected to national office, it shouldn't be possible, not after the messes Bush left us with and especially not after the year of infantilism we've gotten from the Republicans in the House and Senate.  Openly, in broad daylight, yearning for failure.  It boggles the mind.  Why would anyone punch the chad for these guys?  They may be a resurgent party but they're not a serious one, not a legitimate one, not a credible choice for solving the nation's problems.  It's a measure of how poorly Obama has led that anyone would vote for these guys, much less elect a Senator.

Wake up, Mr. President.  You could end up giving power back to the people who get us into wars and ship our jobs away.

Posted by: LouieEnnic | January 23, 2010 2:37 AM | Report abuse

37thand0Street: the Massachusetts election is a mirror.  Everyone has their own idea of why Brown won and everyone is reporting his own biases in doing so.  There's no real good news to take away from it, Republicans don't want to lead and Brown ran with a promise to stand in the way of Obama, which is all the Republicans are about.  It's extremely bad politics.  From where I sit, thousands of miles away on the Left Coast, he's the millionaire lawyer in a new suit and a new haircut driving around in a pickup truck and calling himself Joe the Blue-Collar Guy.  It's a big fat image ploy, and the only reason it worked is because his opponent didn't bother to mount a solid campaign.  She thought she had it in the bag.  She let down her state, her party, and America, because now it's going to be harder to get anything done.

And there is so much to do.  In case you haven't noticed. we're in real big trouble and I'm not talking about a guy who set his underwear on fire.

America needs a leader able and willing to stand up to Wall Street.  I thought that was Barack Obama.  I was wrrong.  The only thing worse than Obama would be if the other party got back into power, that would finish us off.  They're against even **having** a middle class.

Posted by: Noacoler | January 23, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

DBW: palin shoots animals from helicopters and enjoys it. I make no aplogies for referring to sickness of that degree as demonic.

I'm not running fir public office, you know, nor do I believe that any election or anything else pivots on what we say in this blog. I despise Palin to an inexpressible degree. And I'm not talking about politics. Cruelty to animals is REAL personal.

Posted by: Noacoler | January 23, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

A different view of the Scott Brown election:

http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15330481

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 23, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Chris:

There was a Wave effect or a Herd Mentality up in Massachusetts - there has to be way to explain how so many people shifted so quickly in Massachusetts over a period of a few weeks.


It's the kind of anger that I wonder if it's going to show up in the polls.


It's like everyone is checking around to see if its OK to come out and vote against Obama - they want to move together with a bunch of people.

It's just a theory - and obviously a great number of factors are at work.


But many people don't make decisions based on one factor - they see three things they dont like, and they go that way - when any one of those things might not be enough to sway them.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 22, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Chris:

I take issue with the RACIAL CHARGES in Broadwayjoe's posting at 9:33pm.


Clearly, no one in the country is allowed now to have any differences on policy for fear of being called a racist.

This is RACIAL INTIMIDATION. And it has had a horrible effect in our country.

Unfortunately, this attitude started with the Obama campaign during the primaries - and it filtered down around the country so now every democratic nutcase uses this charge to vent their anger about anything - whether Obama is involved with the issue or not.


Any thinking person knows that all policy issues have differences - and a range of views - and those have nothing to do with race - but now that won't stop these people from throwing out the racist charges all the time.


It really has become a national joke.

I bring this up now for one reason: I believe there is now a HERD MENTALITY IN THIS COUNTRY.


I believe a large segment of the population has watched these false racist charges - and actually felt a sense of intimidation from them.


OK - good for the democrats - they have found a way to intimidate the population.


In 2008, few people felt it was safe to criticize Obama for fear of being called a racist.

BUT NOW - THE HERD MENTALITY HAS TAKEN HOLD - PEOPLE ARE WAITING FOR IT TO BE SAFE TO GO WITH THE HERD AND LASH OUT AT THIS ATMOSPHERE OF FALSE CHARGES.


People don't like this atmosphere of pending false charges of racism.


They are waiting for a chance to show their anger.


I believe this is what happened in Massachusetts over the past 4 weeks.


For one, rarely have polls moved so fast.


People were looking around, seeing if it was OK to come out against Obama - as soon as they began to see if it was OK, there was suddenly a wave of people voting against Obama.


Yes, this was about health care - but there is a health care program in Massachusetts - there has been a nagging feeling that more has been at work.


Yes, terrorism was an issue too.


But those issues do not explain the wave aspect which happened over the past few weeks.


A great deal of people came out to vote - and the turn-out which was supposed to be low - suddenly shot through the roof to Presidential election levels.

This election was a REACTION TO THE RACIAL INTIMIDATION OF OBAMA AND THE DEMOCRATS - PEOPLE HAVE BEEN WAITING TO COME OUT AND SHOW THEIR ANGER AT OBAMA.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 22, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Noacoler:
I was just starting to think of a reasoned reply to your initial questions of frustration over Obama's lack of progress on health care. But then when I read your line referring to Palin as "the devil woman from Wasilla", it became clear you are just another brain-dead progressive who has the intellectual capacity of a ball of yarn.

Progressives...if you yearn to be taken seriously, feel free to offer forth reasoned arguments. Unfortunately, I usually find most progressives resorting to name-calling very quickly as they normally are not on the side of facts or history. How frustrating it must be.....

Posted by: dbw1 | January 22, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

...should have read "Fix coworker."

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 22, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

After the Wilson "You lie" incident, coworker Courtland Milloy wrote in the Post that Obama promised to call out those who misrepresent his agenda but then never did--he was just sellin' wolf tickets.
I'm at ground zero here and the natives are restless.

BHO needs to take Drudge/Fix/Faux News World on directly--use them a convenient foil--but it may not be in him to do that. That world, of course, may still be on Cloud Nine after the recent news about a new league: the All-American Basketball Alliance.

"An all-white basketball league is being pushed by Don Moose Lewis as the AABA. This all-white basketball league is called the All-American Basketball Alliance, and it is being led by Don Lewis who is claiming that it is needed because white American-born citizens are now in the minority."

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2613683/allwhite_basketball_league_run_by_don.html?cat=9

Any chance Phalin and Buchanan will get season tickets?

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 22, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I admit I’m completely confused.  Yeah Obama has mad executive talent, his campaign proves that even if Cletus is still screaming that he’s inexperienced.  But something is wrong, some instinct gone awry.  Obama is still conceding ground to people who, as you said, only care about making him look bad and have no concern for the fate of the American people in the meantime.
 
And for a guy who showed perfect political pitch in 2008 he’s gone tone-deaf since taking office.  There is SO much he might have done; people are enraged at their health insurance, there is plenty of rage to tap into there, but what has Obama done?  Passively allowed Republicans to dominate the debate with unchallenged lies.  Obama won’t even call them liars.  So instead of hearing about preexisting conditions or – the gall! – the moral depravity of dropping people who are battling cancer, Obama has turned the podium over to that devil woman from Wasilla and her death panels.  I’m furious.  I donated $1500 to that SOB and I want my money back.  It’s nothing but animal charities from now on.
 
Brown will of course be a one-termer .. by 2012 he’ll be that GOP fluckwad, not the charismatic unknown, but by 2012 it could be too late.
 
Obama needs to get a god damned spine. 

Posted by: Noacoler | January 22, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

More wise advice from President Josiah Bartlet:

"President Josiah Bartlet: [Before the State of the Union, Bartlet is counseling a cabinet member on what to do in the event of a terrorist attack] You got a best friend?
Roger: Yes, sir.
President Josiah Bartlet: Is he smarter than you?
Roger: Yes, sir.
President Josiah Bartlet: Would you trust him with your life?
Roger: Yes, sir.
President Josiah Bartlet: That's your Chief of Staff."

Mr. President, these are desperate times especially with the prospect of unlimited rightwing corporate money to be spent against you in 2012. You need to appoint as your Chief of Staff...Michelle LaVaughan Obama. Seriously.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 22, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

@noa, co-sign.

A LOT of true BHO deadenders/diehards are really disappointed in 44. Some say if the GOP can prop up some McDonnell/Brown type who can pass himself off as a moderate, BHO may lose in 2012, a thought unthinkable four months ago. Of course, if the GOP decides to go over the waterfall with Phalin, Huckabee, or the other wingnuts, BHO's reelection is assured.

What I don't get is: after the opposition tells you explicitly and publicly that they want you to fail, and that they will not vote for anything you support because you are a _______, what's the point of endlessly begging for bipartisanship?

In regard to health care, what was gained wasting five months chasing down the votes of two female GOP senators from a state with less than five people--who, BTW, still turned their backs on you? The last BHO highlight was when Anita Dunn called out Faux News (and put them on the defensive) and she was gone by the end of the month. Van Jones gone. Greg Craig gone. I am NOT a big fan of BHO's rope a dope strategy; doctors'll tell you all it gets you is Parkinson's. As a HuffPo poster urged, BHO needs to pursue a Let Obama be Obama strategy but it may be too late. O-Nation is in trouble.
___

A lesson in leadership from the Administration of our greatest President, Josiah Bartlet:

Leo: "Listen up. Our ground game isn't working; we're gonna put the ball in the air. If we're gonna walk into walls, I want us running into them full-speed."

Josh: "What are you saying?"

Leo: "Well, you can start by telling the Hill the President's named his nominees to the FEC. And we're gonna lose some of these battles. And we might even lose the White House. But we're not going to be threatened by issues: we're going to put 'em front and center. We're gonna raise raise the level of public debate in this country, and let that be our legacy. That sound alright to you Josh?"

Josh: "I serve at the pleasure of the President of the United States.

Leo: "Yeah?"

CJ: "I serve at the pleasure of the President."

Sam: "I serve at the pleasure of President Bartlet."

Leo: "Toby?"

Toby: "I serve at the pleasure of the President."

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 22, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

No Brown wasn’t a referendum on BHO but the fact a Republican could be elected to any more responsibility than handing out clean towels in a hotel toilet is a really bad sign.
 
Obama has seriously screwed up.  What America needs is someone more like a liberal Dick Cheney, unscrupulous and effective and paliamentarily deft, someone willing to unapologetically tell Republicans to take a long walk on a short pier and get the nation’s business done.  Someone who would bail out homeowners and put bank executives alongside former Bush officials in prison, not coddle them, someone who could pursue a jobs program at the same time as universal healthcare, someone who would have told Lieberman and Nelson to go screw themselves. 
 
Instead we got Mr. Incremental Change & Conciliation with Thugs, and now he’s not only lost momentum on his agenda, he’s backed into a corner with no easy exits.  It absolutely stinks and the only thing that could be worse would be if Republicans got back in power and finished the job of making us a Third World nation with no middle class at all.

Posted by: Noacoler | January 22, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse


Chris

You are right on all 5 accounts.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 22, 2010 5:48 PM
______

Some would say 3_'s endorsement kinda invalidates the article. LOL.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 22, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

34 + 2 = 36
35 + 2 = 0
36 + 2 = 38


Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 22, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

"cohendc, I really enjoyed reading your post. I also think Brown's campaign ran a distinct "he's a man" metamessage.

More importantly, I think Brown, Palin and McDonnell all speak a visual language of success to younger voters and to voters who are not engaged by deep resumes and serious lives. Brown, McDonnell and Palin all emphasized their life style in their campaigns, and to varying degrees they presented the kind of fit, youthful and well-groomed appearance that I think attracted some voters to John Edwards.

It's a stupid way to cast your vote, but there it is.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | January 22, 2010 6:25 PM"
_____

What she said. :)

There also a whole back-to-the-50s knownothingism (racism, militarism, polio, McCarthyism, uncontrolled corporatism) the Phalins and Browns represent that, sadly, resonates with a significant, but thankfully diminishing, segment of America. After all no one seriously thinks Phalin has the wherewithal to even manage an Arby's, yet the MSM would have you believe she's an American Evita ready to take over as Commander in Chief. I'll go with journalist Charley James' fact-based, fully sourced reporting on her, thank very much.

___________

I strongly disagree that the first point is a myth. Any telegenic, well spoken white male Dem could have handed Brown his lunch just as any such candidate would have beaten McDonnell easily in Virginia. Does anyone think Tim Kaine (if he hadn't been term limited) wouldn't have beaten McDonnell with one hand tied behind his back. Coakley was just bad news, a bad candidate (she took a long vacation in the middle of her campaign for goodness sakes) who lost; it's that simple. Brown wasn't anything special and his win wasn't a referendum on BHO.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | January 22, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

cohendc, I really enjoyed reading your post. I also think Brown's campaign ran a distinct "he's a man" metamessage.

More importantly, I think Brown, Palin and McDonnell all speak a visual language of success to younger voters and to voters who are not engaged by deep resumes and serious lives. Brown, McDonnell and Palin all emphasized their life style in their campaigns, and to varying degrees they presented the kind of fit, youthful and well-groomed appearance that I think attracted some voters to John Edwards.

It's a stupid way to cast your vote, but there it is.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | January 22, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

On one level, the American people want the fantasy, but they don't want the reality of paying for it.

There has to be regulations to deal with the abuses of the health insurance companies.

Take the 80% and work with the Republicans. Obama is going to have to share the credit with the Republicans if he wants to get anything done.


What is more important to Obama - getting something done or denying the Republicans any credit for it ???

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 22, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Five Truths about the Race

1. 42yr Democrat seat now Republican
2. Health care couldn't pass before, definitely can't pass now.
3. Democrats where looseing seats way before this election
4. Obama's shine is getting a little dull
5. Women can win anywhere, but Chris Cillizza just wants to make excuses.

Posted by: tonyspdx | January 22, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

re myth 5: Women can't win in Massachusetts.
I disagree with the analysis on this point: I think that gender was a significant factor. Brown's campaign was very male, including the truck baloney, the national guard, being an average JOE, and projecting very much as a guy's guy. Also, the male thing marries very easily with anger, something that isn't tolerated in women candidates. All of these male factors, in fact, work very well in Massachusetts.

Posted by: cohendc | January 22, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

The midterms are going to be all about Obama - right now the country is about to dump him - and they want to vote him out as soon as possible.


Obama has made a mess of his first year.


Scott Brown did a favor to Obama - giving him an early wake-up call and time to recover.


The seniors - many did not vote last time for Obama - because they didn't vote - they are not coming out for Obama - ever - they want to vote
AGAINST Obama now.


The young demo that Obama has is not coming back.


Obama has a serious problem.


The Independents do not want Obama anymore - this is probably the group that Obama has the best chance of getting back however I don't see it happening.


Obama is basically holding the minorities and the democrats and that is it. going up, going down - the voters really don't have a good way to show they don't like his policies.

We basically have a reverse-Bradley effect going on - the polls - people are going to want to not appear racist and they are going to say they like Obama - but they don't like his policies and they want him out - then then can continue to like him when he is out of office.

People really did not think the election through - during the primaries, people did not know we were going to be in an economic crisis.

I believe the American people know they made a mistake with Obama - it doesn't help that he broke his campaign promises - and he is being really unrealistic about being bipartisan.


Obama basically is a lame duck right now - maybe he can pull out of it -

But the whole country wants him out.


,

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 22, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't disagree with this article any more. Scott Brown DID win the race with bright freash campaigning and reminding voters that the Senate seat belongs to the people, not to whom may feel entitled to it.

Although it may not be the final death throw it csrtainly would take Congress doing something that would politically destroy anyone who sdid and end around democracy to get this dogged legislation passed. The people do not want it.

Democrats will indeed face the wrath of the people aross the country if the continue on this path of agenda before country and it's people. America is calling on the people who hold office to get back to it beaing a job of service and not privelage. Lose the arrogance, the "we know better than you attitude and LISTEN. This same house cleaning will happen to republicans too. More and more it's no longer Dem/Repub its Liberal-Progressive/Conservative and clearly the growing party is the latter.

The Obama brand has taken a HUGE hit.
Losses in Va., N.J. and Mass. when he was VERY involved show he cannot draw voters any longer. I'm sure Reid has NOchance of winning whether Obama stumps or not.

I do agree that women CAN win in Mass.
Those barriers were broken long ago.

The Democrats must stop looking through rose-colored glasses. You have been rejected in your stronghold. It's up to you to learn and apply what you have learned to grow.

Posted by: mblackfordster | January 22, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

"

Politics has become a never ending game of tug of war between the two parties. Why does each side have to dig in their heels? Why can't they meet in the middle and try to work out what's best for America and all her citizens? In the meantime, the majority of American families - which are the middle class and lower class, are suffering to keep afloat. Politicians are no better than little kids always pointing the finger of blame at someone else. These people are well educated adults and should be able to come together to work out their differences.

Posted by: Nevadaandy"

Why should they do anything different? Hasn't the MA election shown that obstructionism works?

Posted by: DDAWD | January 22, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Chris

You are right on all 5 accounts.

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Posted by: 37thand0street | January 22, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Politics has become a never ending game of tug of war between the two parties. Why does each side have to dig in their heels? Why can't they meet in the middle and try to work out what's best for America and all her citizens? In the meantime, the majority of American families - which are the middle class and lower class, are suffering to keep afloat. Politicians are no better than little kids always pointing the finger of blame at someone else. These people are well educated adults and should be able to come together to work out their differences.

Posted by: Nevadaandy | January 22, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

this is one of the most comical pieces I've read in some time. it gets to be comedy what's passed off as journalism these days.
never mind she was so horrid at campaigning she took a week vacation off durring the campaign, and did everything known not to do, naaaa, wasn't that, why, Brown was sneaky.
as for the rest of this drivel..democrats betrayed their base breaking every promise that put them into power, while keeping all the promises their base prayed they would break.
the dems kept their promise not to impeach Bush, something these dems should have been prosecuted for deriliction of office, but then violated every promise, like ending the closed door whoring of their office.

Posted by: scammersmurf | January 22, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

You too.

Posted by: JakeD | January 22, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

"Did you not see what I linked to on YouTube?"


I did not.

Have a nice weekend.

.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 22, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

ddawd writes
"If he wants a shot at re-election, he must cater to the demands of his constituents."

That's what I'm thinking as well. He may not be the guy that his supporters - and cheerleaders - think he is. But he's in a hard spot; if he votes like Snowe & Collins, he'll get a primary challenge - as a freshman he doesn't have the luxury of bucking the party. But if he's a solid party vote, he's out on his keister in 2012.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 22, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Senator ELECT Brown (R-MA)

Posted by: JakeD | January 22, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

bsimon1:

Did you not see what I linked to on YouTube? You and pResident Obama's dismissive "attitude" about the trucks are light years away from Mr. Cillizza pointing out what everyone else (and Fred Thompson) knows.

Posted by: JakeD | January 22, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Unless, of course, he is eyeing a certain seat down Pennsylvannia Avenue ; )

Posted by: JakeD | January 22, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

"PLEASE keep up the condescending "Everyone can buy a truck" attitude."

Did you not read what our gracious host wrote? He said "Brown went on television first with a now-famous -- and sure to be much-copied -- ad that pictured him driving around the state in a pickup truck."

Do you understand what 'sure to be much-copied' means?

And for the record, I have owned several pickup trucks, and another one will likely be my next vehicle. Of course, I use a pickup to get work done, not to pander to a bunch of voters in order to establish 'average joe' bona-fides.

.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 22, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

"By his voting record in MA, he's much closer to being a moderate Dem than a Republican, yet we're likely going to see him falling into line to vote the party line on all significant legislation."

Who knows? He might end up like Cao in New Orleans? He kind of started off toeing the party line, but has veered more and more liberal. I presume Brown doesn't intend on simply keeping the seat warm for a few years. If he wants a shot at re-election, he must cater to the demands of his constituents. Obstructing the Obama agenda isn't going to do it in a state where Obama is immensely popular. Trust me, the teabaggers will despise him before his next election.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 22, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Coakley would have won had Obama stayed out of MassachusettEs?

Posted by: JakeD | January 22, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

leapin:

There is something deep-seated about being abandoned / neglected as a child there. Same thing happened with Bill Clinton FWIW ; )

Posted by: JakeD | January 22, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

bsimon1:

Please PLEASE keep up the condescending "Everyone can buy a truck" attitude.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=jepAO74hP5I

Here in California, with 12.4% unemployment (and many more who have simply given up looking for work), not everyone can even "rent" a truck anymore.

Posted by: JakeD | January 22, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

CC – Good points and you are right the story is ongoing and there is plenty of time for twists and turns.

The real story is not a populist backlash, but a growing populist backlash, whose ultimate nature and magnitude are as yet unknown. Why is the backlash growing?

Voters are sick and tired of a terrible year of big spending and big deficits, especially the sight of Obama and his congressional allies almost daily talking about spending money that we do not have.

Obama made promises that he broke, frequently and vehemently. Deception is problem for him, Pelosi, Reid, and cohorts. It is a problem for a regular politician but proves fatal for a self-appointed messiah.

We went from a Republican “culture of corruption” to a liberal cesspool of corruption. Sen. Chris Dodd lectures Wall Street while he gets sweetheart loans and vacation-home deals. Few could make up a story that the nation’s top tax lawmaker, House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel, is a tax dodger, and the nation’s top tax enforcer, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, is an even more egregious tax dodger. The Democratic Senate leadership started buying healthcare votes at $300 million a clip.

Obama still blames George W. Bush ad nauseam. He did it in Massachusetts again — and on the eve of the election, no less. Blaming the past for the mistakes of the present gets old quickly. And when one adds in the constant condescension about naïve yokels not knowing what’s good for them, it gets even worse.

Elite liberals are not good class warriors. Factor in multi-millionaire Nancy Pelosi’s government mega-jet or Barack Obama’s various overseas junkets or the big Wall Street money that went into Obama’s near billion-dollar campaign coffers, and it is hard to take seriously Obama’s constant war against “them.” The voters have figured out that their president likes the elite plutocracy and the lower middle classes, but not so much the wannabe rich who aspire to cross his hated $250,000 income threshold , at which point suddenly they become unpatriotic, unwilling to pay their fair shares, and reluctant to spread the wealth around.

It is not particularly smart to constantly demonize the entrepreneurial classes, promise to raise income, payroll, healthcare, and inheritance taxes on them, and expand government regulations and then wonder why they are not creating more jobs.

Purple-state presidents don’t appoint Van Joneses and Anita Dunns. A healer doesn’t start in on the “rich,” “Wall Street,” the “big” oil companies, drug companies, insurance companies, or “fat-cat bankers” — especially when he has done his best to shake them all down for campaign money, hire as many of them as he can in his own administration, and arrange cut-rate loans, insider deals, bailouts, and guarantees for all of them.

In his attempts to be liked by all of the world he is increasingly respected by nobody.

Posted by: leapin | January 22, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

"Brown stayed true to his central message ("I'm the independent voice in the race"). He offered Coakley and national Democrats no openings on which to attack."


Which goes to tell you voters don't do much research on their own. Brown was able to establish a persona that Coakley didn't challenge, much to her detriment. Worse, she played right into his gameplan - which is to say that while Brown's campaign was better, you can't ignore that Coakley's campaign was atrocious. But my larger point is: is Brown the independent voice he claims to be? Or is he defining his agenda as "100% anti-Obama"? By his voting record in MA, he's much closer to being a moderate Dem than a Republican, yet we're likely going to see him falling into line to vote the party line on all significant legislation. Is that being an 'independent' voice? MA voters will get to decide in 2012.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 22, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

"Brown went on television first with a now-famous -- and sure to be much-copied -- ad that pictured him driving around the state in a pickup truck, reinforcing his average Joe-ness."


Want to run as a TEA candidate?

Step 1: rent pickup truck

.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 22, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Same goes for Myth #4.

Myth #3:

I agree that "Extrapolating from Massachusetts in January to nationwide elections in November is a dangerous game" but if things are still the same (or worse) on November 2nd, the GOP could indeed take back Congress. We are all in for a bumpy ride.

There WAS, in fact, at least one "exit poll" done on Tuesday:

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections2/election_2010/election_2010_senate_elections/massachusetts/first_look_at_massachusetts_election_night_poll_data

Posted by: JakeD | January 22, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Re: Myth #2:

Obamacare may not be officially dead, but it is on life-support and the insurance company just rescinded the policy, all before Senator ELECT Brown (R-MA) I just love typing that, is even sworn in.

Posted by: JakeD | January 22, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

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