Senator Scott Brown delivered an old fashioned electoral whipping to Martha Coakley yesterday, defeating her handily across Massachusetts and upsetting the national applecart for the Democratic Party. Scott Brown ran an energetic campaign, and used a great retail operation to create a “wholesale” message that really resonated.
The Coakley campaign, on the other hand, should hang their head in shame. The recriminations have begun already, with the Coakley campaign blaming the National Party for not coming to the rescue with funds immediately after the primary. In a memo released over at “The Fix” at the Washington Post, the finger pointing started even before the election results were in, with the Coakley campaign putting their spin on the defeat.
National Dems Failed to Aid Coakley Until Too Late
— Coakley campaign provided national Democrats with all poll results since early December
— Coakley campaign noted concerns about “apathy” and failure of national Democrats to contribute early in December. Coakley campaign noted fundraising concerns throughout December and requested national Democratic help.
— DNC and other Dem organizations did not engage until the week before the election, much too late to aid Coakley operation
Brown Capitalized on Concerns About National Democrats
— From the beginning, Brown labeled President Obama’s health care and cap and trade plans as tax increases. Polling throughout the race showed this to be the most effective attack on Coakley.
— Coakley’s lead dropped significantly after the Senate passed health care reform shortly before Christmas and after the Christmas Eve “bombing” incident. Polling showed significant concerns with the actions of Senator Nelson to hold out for a better deal. Senator Nelson’s actions specifically hurt Coakley who was forced to backtrack on her opposition to the abortion restriction amendment.
— Democrats concerns with Obama’s Afghanistan plan forced Coakley to oppose the Afghan war in the primary, which hurt her in the general.
Claims about Coakley’s Scant Campaigning and Miscues Were Exaggerated
— Because of the failure of national Democrats to support Coakley, she was forced to devote significant time to fundraising in December. She also released a variety of plans in December and had a public event nearly every day.
— Coakley’s failure to release television advertisements until 12 days before the election was the result of a fundraising problem that national Democrats failed to resolve. Meanwhile, right-wing groups pumped significant amounts of money into Brown’s campaign, allowing him to go up with ads first, including negative attack ads funded by the Swift Boat and Willie Horton groups.
What a load of malarkey. The Coakley campaign went dark, and that was not only on the airwaves. She had no events scheduled for a week or better in December, while Brown was out doing a truckload (sorry) of retail. The campaign gaffes are well chronicled, but the total lack of outreach is unexplainable and a sign that the win was taken for granted. The National Party is not perfect by any stretch, and the President and his team must share the blame to a degree, but they rely on intel from the campaign, and the signals from that campaign all pointed to an easy win. Lets face facts. The campaign is responsible, and from day one they were behind Scott Brown in every way imaginable. They were outsmarted, and even worse than that, they were out-hustled.
As far as Scott Brown goes he and his team deserve respect on multiple fronts. The strategy of issue generalizations and blasting away at the health care bill worked. The candidate was exceedingly disciplined and did not ever seem to veer off message. And he worked like a horse, truly showing people he wanted their votes in a personal way. He was more than willing to shake hands and be cold while doing it. And as I grit my teeth lets congratulate Eric Fehrnstrom for a job well done. Congratulations to Senator Brown. All parties involved should move to seat Scott Brown now, in advance of certification. Anything less than that would be unacceptable.