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Punting the Pundits: Wednesday Afternoon Quarterbacking in MA

Punting the Pundits: Wednesday Afternoon Quarterbacking in MA

It's the day after the Massachusetts special election to fill the United States Senate seat vacated by the untimely death of the Liberal Lion and the greatest senator to ever serve this country: Edward M. Kennedy.  We know that already, you may be saying. Ah, but I live in Massachusetts, where the importance of history cannot be over-stated. Funny thing about history, though, is that in order to make history, you generally need to do something first, before all other comers. And Massachusetts has led the way of this nation time and time again. So what does this first — the first Republican elected to the Senate in nearly 40 years — mean for the rest of the country? Is Obama and his agenda now as dead on arrival as the disappointing 2009 Red Sox? For those who are only privy to the national spinmeisters take on this election here are some first-hand observations about just what happened and what, if any, are the national implications.
 
Don't Hate on Martha

I know Martha Coakley is now persona non grata in many liberal/Democratic circles. How could she lose in an overwhelmingly Democratic state? First of all, she's our Attorney General, and although a darn popular one she has never held a legislative seat. In fact, the only other election she lost was for state representative. So she's never had to do 'retail politics' on a grand scale and she's not particularly good at it.  Let's face it, most highly intelligent people find it difficult as well. I suspect the reason she ran for this seat now was in part because she figured in a short election cycle her name recognition and high 'positives' with the public would offset her pressing-the-flesh handicap. There's a public perception now (being spread by the likes of Jon Stewart) that she was arrogant and didn't work hard enough.  Not true.  She had to win a hard-fought primary first against three other opponents. While she was doing that, Scott Brown had a cakewalk over a late entry and not-so-serious opponent, Jack E. Robinson (say it out loud). After she won the primary handily, due to hard work and a stellar organization, she had to pivot to refilling her coffers for the general election. The conventional wisdom was that people wouldn't be paying attention during the holidays anyway, so this didn't seem like a huge strategic error.  Unfortunately,