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Op-Ed: Is Another Revolution Brewing in Boston?

By Johnny Simpson     Jan 13, 2010 in Politics
In many ways, there is as much riding on the Senate race between Scott Brown and Martha Coakley as once rode on the back of another well-known Bay Stater, Paul Revere. Will Boston again host a revolution? Will a Brown win be 'The Shot Heard 'Round D.C.'?
Many of you may already be familiar with the US Senate race in deep blue Massachusetts between Scott Brown, the upstart conservative Republican State Senator, and liberal Democrat fixture and current state Attorney General Martha Coakley. What was only ten days ago a snoozer of a race and expected coronation for AG Coakley into the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat has turned into a horse race too close to call. Rasmussen currently has the race at 49%-47% for Coakley, a 1% drop for the Democrat in the past week as compared to a 6% rise for Brown.
There is a lot to be puzzled over by this race for those not intimately familiar with Massachusetts politics. First up, I have to explain the term 'Massachusetts Republican', the oxymoronic banner under which candidate Scott Brown is running. Having been one myself for 18 years, I can attest that it is a much lonelier occupation than Maytag Repairman. Try living in Barney Frank's district in Newton and casting Republican votes across the board as I did for many years. A greater exercise in futility you will never know. One pundit has likened Massachusetts Republicans to Bigfoot; you know they're out there, but you just can't see them. Sadly, I can attest to that crude analogy's accuracy.
All of which makes Republican Scott Brown's ascendancy in the polls to neck-and-neck status with Martha Coakley nearly as amazing a feat as a band of ragtag Colonials challenging the mighty British Empire. It just doesn't happen. But it is. Unless you have lived in Massachusetts and understand the political atmosphere. i.e. liberal Democrat through-and-through, you have no idea how stunning it really is that a relatively unknown Republican State Senator from Wrentham is giving the current liberal Democrat Attorney General with huge name recognition a real run for her money. Even Martha Coakey herself has described the transformation of the race as "frightening" in a recent conference call with major national Democrats.
In this bluest of states, that situation alone must be as scary for state and national Democrats as the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, only this is not a movie. If a major Bay State liberal Democrat and Attorney General with statewide name recognition campaigning for the former seat of the Liberal Lion of the Senate is having this much trouble, what does that portend for far more competitive races in November? It should also be noted here that a great deal of public dissatisfaction is being generated by state Democrats' contemplations of stonewalling Brown's confirmation until after the ObamaCare vote should he win the race.
Though Scott Brown still remains a long shot to take the late Liberal Lion's seat (an assumption Brown turned on its head and skewered liberal debate moderator David Gergen with, scoring mucho points with the public), the fact that he is even competitive with Coakley is nothing short of a Massachusettes Miracle. Compounding the problems for candidate Coakley is her perceived weak performance in Tuesday's debate, in which she flip-flopped on her death penalty stance vis-a-vis KSM and declared that there are no terrorists left in Afghanistan, a position even President Obama wouldn't abide. Adding further to her public perception problems are her recent hurried foray to D.C. for mega-lobbyist rush funding of her campaign, and the alleged roughing-up of pesky Weekly Standard reporter John McCormack in D.C. by a Democrat aide to Coakley after said lobbyist funding event, which Ms. Coakley witnessed firsthand from not five feet away.
THIS JUST IN: It appears Ms. Coakley has hammered yet another nail into her foot by belittling Fenway fans, which Boston radio gadfly Howie Carr pounced on in his radio show today. News coming fast and furious. The larger point being, what is happening in Massachusetts today should not be happening, even in fiction. The fact that it is happening at all is, well, revolutionary. And despite a 3-1 to 4-1 ratio of Democrats to Republicans in the Bay State, 51% of Massachusetts voters are Independents or unaffiliated with either major party. Among likely voters in those categories, Brown has an amazing 71%-23% lead. Mr. Brown also garnered a jaw-dropping $1.3M in an online "money bomb" campaign in one day, hence candidate Martha Coakley's rush to D.C. for big campaign bucks from lobbyists and the Democrat political machines.
Realistically, six days from now the ordinary will happen in Massachusetts and Martha Coakley will be crowned the new US Senator from the Bay State, complementing liberal Democrat Sen. John Kerry. Yet it is the very real possibility of the unthinkable happening, a Scott Brown victory, that is captivating the national political scene. The fact that national Democrats, lobbyists, Emily's List and the SEIU union now have to pour millions into a race that not two weeks ago was a foregone conclusion in this bluest of states is unthinkable in itself. Even worse, it is costing the DNC and DSCC truckloads of campaign cash it can ill afford, and which now cannot be spent in other highly competitive state and district races next November.
Lastly, it cannot be underestimated how greatly the unpopularity of President Obama's and liberal Democrats' policies are undermining Coakley and shoring up Brown. Even in deep blue Massachusetts, sentiment is weak for the ObamaCare bill currently before Congress. Scott Brown would become the 41st vote against it and would sink the Democrats' filibuster-proof 60-vote super-majority. It is days like these that I live for as a citizen journalist. Anything can happen, even the impossible. And a great deal is riding on the outcome, including absolute Democrat control of the Senate and President Obama's political agenda.
What a difference a year makes in American politics! A Brown win in deep blue Massachusetts would be no less shocking and unbelievable an occurrence than if the Red Sox were to come back from three games down against the hated but mighty New York Yankees in an ALCS and go on to win the World Series in a sweep. It just can't happen. Wait a minute. Lots more to come in the next week, no doubt. Like Bill Clinton coming to Boston Friday to prop up Coakley in an impromptu fundraiser, maybe even bring her some coffee.
Stay Tuned, People. It's going to be a wild one right to the finish line!
UPDATE: New York Sen. Chuck Schumer just called Brown a "far right tea-bagger" in a new fundraising email. I don't see that helping, but what did I say about things getting wild? Opinions on this incredible situation and eyebrow-raising developments are most welcome in the comments section. Will update.
UPDATE #2: This just in from the Boston Herald - Candidate Coakley is now accusing the Brown campaign of negative advertising and mudslinging. Highly ironic, considering the first ad released by the Coakley campaign after the last debate was widely considered to be highly negative across the political spectrum, and was even condemned by Brown's daughters who had been quiet to that point. Ms. Coakley attributed the downward spiral of the tone of the campaign to "extreme right-wing elements" who have distorted her record, though she didn't specify said "elements" by name or provide examples of the alleged distortions.
UPDATE #3: From ABC News via Drudge - ABC's Rick Klein asks if Republicans have already won in MA.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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