Senator Elect Scott Brown
Did Hubris Bring Martha Cokely Down?
It is almost impossible to overstate the magnitude of the political disaster in Massachusetts. If the Senate seat held by the recently departed Teddy Kennedy for nearly half a century – in a state that had not elected a Republican to the Senate since 1952 – could be won by a man who ran on a platform to kill the Health Care reform Bill that was the great goal of Kennedy’s political career, then anything can happen in the present political environment. For among other things, it means a majority of the people of Massachusetts failed to honor the legacy of a man who served them honorably for 47 years…He died working for them and he never needed the job!
The recent losses in Governor’s races in Virginia and New Jersey, were hard to take, but the loss in Massachusetts is devastating because it threatens to scare many other Democrats into timidity on the great issues that form the Obama agenda for substantive change. This is especially true of the so-called Blue Dogs, those Democrats in Red states who were already a recalcitrant lot bogging down the President’s legislative agenda.
It may turn out that nothing of significance is now possible; if the members of Congress panic and choose political expedience over principle, then the President’s program will be wounded beyond repair. Much of this will depend upon how the election results are interpreted and what strategy the Democrats adopt going forward. The first problem that any Democratic strategists must confront is that it is hard to come up with a logical explanation for what happened in the Bay State, or a coherent plan to deal with it, because the political choice made by the voters was irrational.
There is nothing the Republicans are selling that is different from the bill of goods they sold us before, which drove the country to near collapse. It’s the same old song. It’s not even old wine disguised in new bottles; it’s old wine in old bottles. Any content analysis of the Republican’s rhetoric will reveal the absence of serious argument addressing the major issues that the Obama Administration is grappling with. Perhaps that’s why Martha Cokely and the Democratic Party thought the election was a done deal. And no matter how they try to spin this defeat, it is obvious that they viewed the outcome of this senatorial race as a fait accompli for the Democrats.
I have no doubt that future historians will view this as one of the greatest debacles in US political history, brought on by the decision of the democrats to count their chickens before they hatch. They forgot that, as in sports, no matter how favorable the prognostications of the wise guys: You’ve got to play the game and it ain’t over til it’s over. Historians might well conclude, along with this writer, that it was a toxic combination of an ignorant electorate and Democratic hubris that led to Martha Coakley’s defeat. Going forward, Democratic strategists would do well to remember that it was Hubris that brought Satan down, and he was the favored Arch-Angel of God!
Harlem New York
Janurary 20, 2010