Pure Masshole self-indulgence, for a slow Sunday evening. I was talking about the primary with my Spousal Unit, a lefty-liberal who faithfully donates and votes and even does GOTV work sometimes, but not a political junkie. And he said, “Not that I won’t vote for her, but I’m still a little pissed at Coakley for losing to Scott Brown… ”
I’m sure he’s not the only Democratic voter with that bias, but watch the video above, and remember that Shannon O’Brien knows better than most how hard it is for a female politician to get ahead in Massachusetts. “Elizabeth Warren!,” say the spectators, but let’s be honest: Warren was an outside candidate — nothing to do with the permanent MA-Dem establishment. When she ran in 2012, she had just drawn lots of national progressive attention by being passed over for a big political job, and none of the men who were plausible Democratic Senate candidates felt like taking the risk of running against Centerfold Brown and all his out-of-state money/muscle. Warren, much as I love her and hard as I campaigned for her, was no threat to the state’s Permanent Party. If she won (as she did!), they could take the credit, and if she lost, it was no skin off Steve Grossman’s future plans. (The same is true of Governor Patrick; he ran in 2006 as an “outsider”, winning a three-way primary where his opponents bloodied each other badly, and running in the general election against a Republican woman and an unusually deep- pocketed “independent”. This is not at all a coincidence. Ours is a progressive Commonwealth, but the political machinery remains firmly in the hands of old-school urban traditionalists.)
Video by way of D.R. Tucker at the Washington Monthly, who adds:
… In order to win the general election, Coakley will have to rip the moderate mask off of Baker, who has been trying to position himself as a non-reactionary Republican in the tradition of former Massachusetts Governor William Weld. Coakley must point out that Baker clearly plans to pull a switcheroo—run as nice-guy centrist, then govern as a radical Scott Walker clone. She must mention—early and often—Baker’s controversial ties to New Jersey’s Koch-approved Governor, Chris Christie…
Hey, there are plenty of moderate Republicans out there—go to your local cemetery, and you’ll find moderate Republicans all over the place. Baker is not one of them; if he was, then why did he run for governor in 2010 as a climate-change-denying Tea Partier?
This will not be an election, but a trial, with prosecutor Coakley trying to put away an identity thief and con artist falsely representing himself as a reasonable Republican. I’m confident that she will present a compelling case, and that the Bay State’s jury will give Baker a harsh sentence.
And that, I think, is the pro-Coakley argument for progressives: Come November, it’s gonna be Charlie “smiling, centrist, independence-loving independent” Baker running on the (stealth) Repub ticket. Dr. Donald Berwick is the True Progressive’s Choice (and, I’m told, a very nice man) but that’s not going raise his primary share much above the single digits. When the low-info voters catch a mid-October thirty-second political spot, the main difference between Baker and Steve “lifer in the Dem machine” Grossman would be how Baker looks like the TV ideal of a classy upscale candidate, and Grossman… does not. Which is shallow, but that’s the waters in which we are fishing.
True, I have a sentimental attachment to the idea of bringing Massachusetts forward into feminist parity with such progressive states as Arizona. But given the race we’re running as of this point in time, I think that Martha Coakley is also the best Democratic candidate we have. By all means, vote for Berwick this Tuesday, but when your fellow primary voters once again fail you, don’t take it out on Coakley in November, okay?