Open Thread: Massachusetts Primary Tuesday

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?

Kentucky Kernels

The backstory, as described by Mr. Charles P. Pierce:

Charles and David Koch — America’s favorite political porn merchants and the Mitchell Brothers of the Citizens United era — are having a week for themselves. Really, it’s like watching a really good episode of that HBO series about the Nevada brothel. First, yesterday, noted ‘ho Mike (Payola) Allen, one of the founding geniuses of Tiger Beat On The Potomac, went on liberal MSNBC and had a giddy old time with Squint and the Meat Puppet about that silly Harry Reid and all that noise he’s been making about the fact that the Kochs are well on their way to strip-mining American democracy…

Central to the ads that TBOTP helpfully collected for us all was an invitation-only hootenanny held by the Kochs last June to which a veritable All Star team of prospective conservative political porn stars showed up to demonstrate their facility with the money shot, and I do mean money shot. And nobody auditioned for his close-up more enthusiastically than did Mitch McConnell, the Minority Leader of the United States Senate. The Nation got a hold of an audiotape of Mitch’s audition and, boy howdy, this guy has the potential to be the Ron Jeremy of the Koch grindhouse…

Dear Democrats: Here’s the thing. A full 74 percent of Americans polled favored raising the minimum wage. Mitch McConnell just spit in their eye to curry favor with two Americans. A full 69 percent of Americans polled favored extending unemployment benefits. But none of them are named Charles Koch or David Koch, so Mitch McConnell believes they don’t count….

More at the link, of course.

Not coincidentally, I suspect, this week New York has a feature piece on Alison Grimes, and the NYTimes lapdances gives McConnell a sympathetic spread

Which Dem Should Run in Montana?

From Politico:

Sen. John Walsh announced Thursday that he’s dropping out of the race for his Montana seat, cutting short a brief Senate career marred by accusations of plagiarism and dealing a blow to Democrats’ already-grim chances of keeping the spot.

Walsh will stay in the Senate through the end of his term, which ends in early January. But he said the plagiarism revelations had “become a distraction” from the debate Montanans deserved to hear in the race…

Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock appointed Walsh, his lieutenant governor, to replace Baucus, in the apparent hope that his incumbency could be a boon in a challenging electoral environment. But with Walsh out, the Montana Democratic Party now has until Aug. 20 to name a new candidate in the November election — and not a strong bench to choose from.

Pressure is building in Democratic political circles for Nancy Keenan, a long-time abortion rights activist, to jump into the race, even though sources say she has so far resisted. And at least one other Montana Democrat, former lieutenant governor John Bohlinger, has expressed interest.

Whoever does step in would face Republican Rep. Steve Daines, who is heavily favored to win a seat the GOP has not held since 1913…

My emphasis. Conventional Wisdom seems to be that Democrats are doooomed, but would — for instance — support from Emily’s List / ActBlue make a difference?

Long Read: “Edwin Edwards Will Live Forever”

Marc Jacobson, in NYMag, has a great profile of one of the Trickster God’s favorite sons:

When Edwin Washington Edwards, the soon-to-be-87-year-old four-time governor of Louisiana (1972–80, 1984–88, and 1992–96) was sent to federal prison in 2002 following his conviction on a variety of racketeering, money laundering, extortion, and fraud charges including accepting $400,000 from the then-owner of the San Francisco 49ers to secure a riverboat gambling license, it seemed as if one of the most outrageous political careers in a state known for outrageous politicians had come to an end. Edwards, a.k.a. EWE, the Cajun Prince, the Silver Fox (for his gleaming locks), the Silver Zipper (for his roving eye), the Lizard, and several other a.k.a.’s, was already 75 years old and rumored to be not in the best of health. It was even money that the Zipper, who for years ran a weekly high-stakes poker game at the governor’s mansion, would draw his last breath behind bars…

The kicker came a few months ago: Proclaiming “I know my ­Creator is not done with me yet,” Edwards announced his intention to seek the congressional seat in Louisiana’s Sixth District, a mule-­collar-shaped realm that runs from the Baton Rouge suburbs in the south to the coonass (the preferred self-identifier of some Cajuns) precincts of Terrebonne Parish. There was a symmetry to the plan, since if Edwards won, he’d return to Congress exactly 50 years after first being elected to the House in 1965…

Edwards began to talk about Bobby Jindal. Jindal was all over, in New Hampshire and Iowa, “everywhere but Louisiana,” in hopes of landing on the ass end of the 2016 Republican national ticket, Edwards declared.

Edwards explained that pols like Jindal sell themselves as “good government” in that they’re the favorites of the rich and well-brought-up. They are supposed to be above corruption. But was that really true? Declaring himself an advocate of “pretty good government,” Edwards said, “I’m the shady politician, right? But what happens when Jindal turns down billions of federal money for Medicaid­ to help people in need, a program that could mean as much as 17,000 jobs!—just because he doesn’t want to be seen as taking anything from Obama which is going to hurt him with the right-wingers? Who’s the self-serving one then? Is that good government?… Read more

More About NC’s “Moral Mondays”

Re-running this, because it kinda got overlooked early this morning, and I owe commentor Betsy:

Looks like the big Moral Monday will be June 23. Legislature is about to finish its dirty business and wrap up the session, so it would be worth publicizing what will probably be the big finale to the weekly protests.

I can’t stress this enough: People in other states should be interested in the Moral Monday movement.

My elevator pitch version is this — This is a purple state. And what happened here can happen in any purple state — just as it did in Ohio and Wisconsin. The statehouse got bought after Citizens United opened the floodgate to corporate / richie-rich cash, and red gerrymandering skewed the Congressional districts, so that even though a majority of NC voters voted for Democrats, 9 out of 13 reps sent to DC were Republicans. “Your state is next” is what I tell people who think “oh well that’s just the stupid south” — North Carolina hasn’t been the “stupid south” for a long time … it’s more like Ohio and this can happen in any purple state thanks to our Citizens United overlords.

The national media has ALMOST totally whiffed on this story…