Special Election Open Thread

I am off to a memorial service for a friend’s mother so I am posting this early today.

I admit, I have not gotten involved in the Massachusetts race at all. I didn’t make calls or donate any money. In light of the healthcare fiasco and all the uncertainty around that issue, which is dear to my heart, I am afraid I am suffering from a bout of outrage fatigue and need to check out of politics for a while. I actually hung up on the Democratic National Committee today when they called to ask for money. Once again, I told them I would donate to MoveOn.org and to please remove me from their list.

I am just so upset at how little the Democrats have accomplished with super majorities in the house and senate. If the tables were turned, the Republicans would have passed so much (bad) legislation just because they could. We were so focused on bipartisanship and pleasing a small group of so-called moderates that we got nothing done. It’s time to challenge some of these Dems in the primaries and start over with a clean slate of candidates.

Okay, I am getting of my soapbox now and letting you all debate tonight’s senatorial election in Massachusetts amongst yourselves. Here is a Boston Globe article on the record turnout for this special election. The polls close at 8 p.m. ET.

Of course, if you are suffering from outrage fatigue, too, you can discuss other stuff. Enjoy!

98 thoughts on “Special Election Open Thread

  1. I am sure my Blue Dog Dem will get

    replaced, by a R.  He even voted against the health care bill, but voted for cap and trade.  Most of the Blue Dogs are barely hanging on and were voted in on an Obama wave and most will lose to R’s.  I don’t think passing a sweeping health care reform bill was ever a reality.  Social security and medicare were not what they are now when they were first passed.  Civil rights moved very slowly, however you have to take the first step to advance at all.  Looks like we might not take that step.  Predictions are a lot of voters that voted for the first time in 2008 will stay home next election.

  2. I am sure my Blue Dog Dem will get

    replaced, by a R.  He even voted against the health care bill, but voted for cap and trade.  Most of the Blue Dogs are barely hanging on and were voted in on an Obama wave and most will lose to R’s.  I don’t think passing a sweeping health care reform bill was ever a reality.  Social security and medicare were not what they are now when they were first passed.  Civil rights moved very slowly, however you have to take the first step to advance at all.  Looks like we might not take that step.  Predictions are a lot of voters that voted for the first time in 2008 will stay home next election.

  3. I haven’t been into vote yet

    (waiting for my husband the election warden to come home on his dinner break) but I’m hearing that it’s been very very busy all day across the state.

  4. I haven’t been into vote yet

    (waiting for my husband the election warden to come home on his dinner break) but I’m hearing that it’s been very very busy all day across the state.

  5. my husband is from Mass.

    We’re both pretty upset by how things are going down. It seems like the Dems didn’t even try to campaign and then suddenly realized “Oh ****, we might actually LOSE this thing!” I just feel sick to my stomach.

    • My parents are there

      they are Dems except when jackasses like John Silbur run, but they are registered Independent, therefore getting all the annoying robocalls.  I don’t understand why this campaign has been so badly run.

      • I think they didn’t think they had to run

        a real campaign.

        The Dem insiders I’ve talked to locally finally just gave up on the statewide campaign and started running it from the ground. That only happened in the last week or so, though. It even sounds like the national Dems didn’t get it.

  6. my husband is from Mass.

    We’re both pretty upset by how things are going down. It seems like the Dems didn’t even try to campaign and then suddenly realized “Oh ****, we might actually LOSE this thing!” I just feel sick to my stomach.

    • My parents are there

      they are Dems except when jackasses like John Silbur run, but they are registered Independent, therefore getting all the annoying robocalls.  I don’t understand why this campaign has been so badly run.

      • I think they didn’t think they had to run

        a real campaign.

        The Dem insiders I’ve talked to locally finally just gave up on the statewide campaign and started running it from the ground. That only happened in the last week or so, though. It even sounds like the national Dems didn’t get it.

  7. So….

    So what does large turnout mean for this race? That the Dem has a chance, or the Rep is going to take it?

    I remember here in NJ when Corzine got booted out, there was really high turnout.

    • I think it can be hard to say

      I remember in 1990 the Jesse Helms-Harvey Gantt race had huge turnout and people thought that could be good news for Gantt.  Turned out it was heavy on both sides though.  Helms squeaked it out.  I don’t know much about this race though.

  8. So….

    So what does large turnout mean for this race? That the Dem has a chance, or the Rep is going to take it?

    I remember here in NJ when Corzine got booted out, there was really high turnout.

    • I think it can be hard to say

      I remember in 1990 the Jesse Helms-Harvey Gantt race had huge turnout and people thought that could be good news for Gantt.  Turned out it was heavy on both sides though.  Helms squeaked it out.  I don’t know much about this race though.

  9. Exactly what Elisa said.

    Outrage fatigue, for sure. This post was pretty close to my entire thought process today.

    I always listen to All Things Considered on my long commute home at night, but tonight I had to switch and listen to music. Why torture myself, I thought. Why bother even caring. I’m just too tired to Consider All Things. I might have to just stay in a happy cocoon for a  while, listening to loud music and pretty music and music that makes me furrow my brow and get all earnest and everything in between. Because I’m tired of being outraged, and especially tired of being outraged at how often I have had to be outraged over the past year.

  10. Exactly what Elisa said.

    Outrage fatigue, for sure. This post was pretty close to my entire thought process today.

    I always listen to All Things Considered on my long commute home at night, but tonight I had to switch and listen to music. Why torture myself, I thought. Why bother even caring. I’m just too tired to Consider All Things. I might have to just stay in a happy cocoon for a  while, listening to loud music and pretty music and music that makes me furrow my brow and get all earnest and everything in between. Because I’m tired of being outraged, and especially tired of being outraged at how often I have had to be outraged over the past year.

  11. Definitely bummed about MA

    I think it’s a shame on so many levels…  Why’d they take it for granted?  Coakley taking a week off at Christmas?!?!?  On the other hand here in WA we had a rather blah candidate for governor, Chris Gregoire, who has been a fantastic governor, all things considered.  Her Republican opponent would have been a disaster.

    I made calls for Coakley yesterday but couldn’t today.  I’m glad I did something but I definitely feel the fatigue, too.

    • I just can’t believe it

      The goddamn home state of Tip “Everybody Likes to Be Asked” O’Neill, and the Dems let this one slip through the fingers? Tell you what, I did my fair share in the trenches in Massachusetts while at BU and a bigger bunch of self-satisfied yahoos you’ll never meet. Every freakin’ state-wide election they seem shocked, shocked that people don’t automatically go and vote for whatever Democrat wins the primary.

      • Massive miscalculation at the DNC.

        Timmy Kaine, recently of a failed (IMHO) VA governorship, screwed up big time.  They just let this slip away.  Bad bad bad.

        sigh.  The up side from a political perspective is that Obama now has an excuse when nothing else happens in Congress.  Oy.

        • Upside

          I’m hoping it’s that everyone realizes that it’s time to kick it up a notch and do good governing, and work hard to keep Dems where they belong.  I don’t care if Dems in red states topple, necessarily, but Dems in blue states or blue congressional states sure as hell better stay in.

          I also am sick, as I have been for a long time, about the idea that 60 senators is necessary to pass legislation.  Let the Republicans filibuster.  Fine!  See how well that goes over.  Supermajorities shouldn’t be needed to govern.

            • So I tell myself

              I hope the Dems pass health care and then pivot, super quickly to jobs, jobs, jobs.  Dip into the populist anger out there and pull independents away from these teabagging-lite candidates.

              Sigh…

          • Exactly.

            I think CA has demonstrated the fundamental flaw of requiring supermajorities to govern.  I’d like to fantasize about the Dems invoking the nuclear option now, but I had the opportunity to talk to some Hill staffers this weekend, and I realize now it won’t happen.  They’re too worried about the precedent.  sigh.

            • Nuclear option isn’t necessary

              I strongly feel (okay, I’m obsessed) that the Dems should just let the Republicans filibuster.  Then, take out plenty of ads in key districts talking about Republicans ‘playing games’, ‘wasting the American’s people’s time’, ‘showboating’, and being afraid of an ‘up or down vote’.  Sure nobody will like that things are stalled but the Repubs will suffer more than the Dems.  

              I think the Republicans need to have their bluff called on the 60 vote nonsense.  I mean really, should we need 60 Republicans to pass legislation?  No, I think if we have 55 Republicans they can probably do a fair bit of vote passing.  So it goes.

              I think I can feel my blood pressure rising!

              • you make an interesting point

                When Newty shut down Congress in ’94, it was a powerful weapon for the Dems to use. WTH – I say we dare them. Double dog dare them.

                • Pass it along!

                  I really would love to see them try this.  If I knew anybody at all working in DC politics I’d be babbling incessantly about this to them.  Maybe I’ll make a bumper sticker: Let the Republicans Filibuster.

                • Yup, but the 60 votes needs addressing

                  The health care bill can pass as you mention, but in general the Dems need to figure out how to pass bills with fewer than 60 votes.  They should have before but they sure as better figure out how to do it now!

                  • If the current “voter fatigue” continues they

                    nee to find a way to pass legislation with a lot less than 60 votes.  Doing a quick scan I don’t see a lot of “rally the troops” talk.  

                    • OFA conference call

                      I made calls for Coakley through OFA and they sent out an email re: a conference call tomorrow.  They were pretty speedy about it so here’s hoping the Dem leadership ‘gets it’.

                    • True but unsurprising

                      I certainly hope OFA wasn’t calling people multiple times.  When I chatted with people it seemed that the calls were from different places — robocalls from President Obama and other politicians, OFA calls, etc.  Personally I think robocalls should be illegal.  When I mentioned that people usually warmed right up and told me that yes, they planned on voting for Martha Coakley.

                      From what I understand it’s unusual to turn a ‘yes’ vote into a ‘no’ vote from calls.  I found people were turned off but I think it was mainly because Martha Coakley hadn’t energized voters.  I heard lots of “I hope Scott Brown doesn’t win” but very little “I love Martha”.  Even dedicated Dems who based Republicans admitted to not feeling that great about Martha Coakley.  Not a stellar sign.

                    • That was pretty much my experience. Even with

                      the results I liked I could download and report my data.  I think robocalls do turn people off, hopefully they will be gone soon.

          • Exactly

            Are people really going to be that excited about constant filibustering?  I say let the Repubs dig their own hole on that one.  I definitely don’t want to see a precedent where we say that we need so many on one side or let’s just give up right now because nothing will get done.  Even if that turns out to be the reality.

      • I hope so

        I hope that this was a bad campaign, not a sign of things to come.  I need to regroup and then I’ll feel better (I hope).  Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

  12. Definitely bummed about MA

    I think it’s a shame on so many levels…  Why’d they take it for granted?  Coakley taking a week off at Christmas?!?!?  On the other hand here in WA we had a rather blah candidate for governor, Chris Gregoire, who has been a fantastic governor, all things considered.  Her Republican opponent would have been a disaster.

    I made calls for Coakley yesterday but couldn’t today.  I’m glad I did something but I definitely feel the fatigue, too.

    • I just can’t believe it

      The goddamn home state of Tip “Everybody Likes to Be Asked” O’Neill, and the Dems let this one slip through the fingers? Tell you what, I did my fair share in the trenches in Massachusetts while at BU and a bigger bunch of self-satisfied yahoos you’ll never meet. Every freakin’ state-wide election they seem shocked, shocked that people don’t automatically go and vote for whatever Democrat wins the primary.

      • Massive miscalculation at the DNC.

        Timmy Kaine, recently of a failed (IMHO) VA governorship, screwed up big time.  They just let this slip away.  Bad bad bad.

        sigh.  The up side from a political perspective is that Obama now has an excuse when nothing else happens in Congress.  Oy.

        • Upside

          I’m hoping it’s that everyone realizes that it’s time to kick it up a notch and do good governing, and work hard to keep Dems where they belong.  I don’t care if Dems in red states topple, necessarily, but Dems in blue states or blue congressional states sure as hell better stay in.

          I also am sick, as I have been for a long time, about the idea that 60 senators is necessary to pass legislation.  Let the Republicans filibuster.  Fine!  See how well that goes over.  Supermajorities shouldn’t be needed to govern.

            • So I tell myself

              I hope the Dems pass health care and then pivot, super quickly to jobs, jobs, jobs.  Dip into the populist anger out there and pull independents away from these teabagging-lite candidates.

              Sigh…

          • Exactly.

            I think CA has demonstrated the fundamental flaw of requiring supermajorities to govern.  I’d like to fantasize about the Dems invoking the nuclear option now, but I had the opportunity to talk to some Hill staffers this weekend, and I realize now it won’t happen.  They’re too worried about the precedent.  sigh.

            • Nuclear option isn’t necessary

              I strongly feel (okay, I’m obsessed) that the Dems should just let the Republicans filibuster.  Then, take out plenty of ads in key districts talking about Republicans ‘playing games’, ‘wasting the American’s people’s time’, ‘showboating’, and being afraid of an ‘up or down vote’.  Sure nobody will like that things are stalled but the Repubs will suffer more than the Dems.  

              I think the Republicans need to have their bluff called on the 60 vote nonsense.  I mean really, should we need 60 Republicans to pass legislation?  No, I think if we have 55 Republicans they can probably do a fair bit of vote passing.  So it goes.

              I think I can feel my blood pressure rising!

              • you make an interesting point

                When Newty shut down Congress in ’94, it was a powerful weapon for the Dems to use. WTH – I say we dare them. Double dog dare them.

                • Pass it along!

                  I really would love to see them try this.  If I knew anybody at all working in DC politics I’d be babbling incessantly about this to them.  Maybe I’ll make a bumper sticker: Let the Republicans Filibuster.

                • Yup, but the 60 votes needs addressing

                  The health care bill can pass as you mention, but in general the Dems need to figure out how to pass bills with fewer than 60 votes.  They should have before but they sure as better figure out how to do it now!

                  • If the current “voter fatigue” continues they

                    nee to find a way to pass legislation with a lot less than 60 votes.  Doing a quick scan I don’t see a lot of “rally the troops” talk.  

                    • OFA conference call

                      I made calls for Coakley through OFA and they sent out an email re: a conference call tomorrow.  They were pretty speedy about it so here’s hoping the Dem leadership ‘gets it’.

                    • True but unsurprising

                      I certainly hope OFA wasn’t calling people multiple times.  When I chatted with people it seemed that the calls were from different places — robocalls from President Obama and other politicians, OFA calls, etc.  Personally I think robocalls should be illegal.  When I mentioned that people usually warmed right up and told me that yes, they planned on voting for Martha Coakley.

                      From what I understand it’s unusual to turn a ‘yes’ vote into a ‘no’ vote from calls.  I found people were turned off but I think it was mainly because Martha Coakley hadn’t energized voters.  I heard lots of “I hope Scott Brown doesn’t win” but very little “I love Martha”.  Even dedicated Dems who based Republicans admitted to not feeling that great about Martha Coakley.  Not a stellar sign.

                    • That was pretty much my experience. Even with

                      the results I liked I could download and report my data.  I think robocalls do turn people off, hopefully they will be gone soon.

          • Exactly

            Are people really going to be that excited about constant filibustering?  I say let the Repubs dig their own hole on that one.  I definitely don’t want to see a precedent where we say that we need so many on one side or let’s just give up right now because nothing will get done.  Even if that turns out to be the reality.

      • I hope so

        I hope that this was a bad campaign, not a sign of things to come.  I need to regroup and then I’ll feel better (I hope).  Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

  13. What the hell, Massachusetts?

    Ted Kennedy is spinning in his grave.  If this SOB holds up healthcare or what’s left of it, I hope all of the departed Kennedys come and haunt the shit out of him.

    Oh and who wants to bet that a sex tape will emerge featuring the American Idol contestant daughter?  Good lord.

  14. What the hell, Massachusetts?

    Ted Kennedy is spinning in his grave.  If this SOB holds up healthcare or what’s left of it, I hope all of the departed Kennedys come and haunt the shit out of him.

    Oh and who wants to bet that a sex tape will emerge featuring the American Idol contestant daughter?  Good lord.

  15. blessing in disguise?

    Okay, hear me out here. You know how when you’re in an argument and your opponent gets really entrenched, so you get even more entrenched? Or when you live with a clean freak so you become more of a slob in opposition to that, to sort of stake out your position? Well, is it possible that without Democrats trying to drag the country forward, Republicans might start to think, Huh — maybe affordable health care isn’t the bogeyman after all?

    Maybe it’s bitterness but part of me just feels like sitting back and watching what all the conservatives who fought so hard against health insurance reform will think once they win, and nothing good happens. Is it really gratifying to NOT get insurance coverage? Or to pay through the nose for it? Isn’t that sort of a pyrrhic victory — “the government doesn’t come between me and my doctor” — if you can’t even afford to see the doctor?

    Okay, rambling here, but feeling like maybe there’s a grim upside to this.

    • Hmmm….

      I’m more inclined to believe that either A) the MA dems really were torn apart (interesting diary on DailyKos about the MA dem machinery not supporting Coakley enough) or B) the Dems better pay attention to the fact that voters continue to be worried about the economy.  I don’t think healthcare is worth losing sight of but I hope the focus is shifted to jobs, jobs, jobs once the health bill is through.

    • I agree

      If Dems really are “stunned” by this, like the NYT says we were, maybe this will wake them up. Then again, maybe it will scare them into running even more toward the right, which is their go-to strategy for everything.

      Also, I think the health bill sucked–a mandate without cost controls?–so maybe going back to the drawing board is the best approach.

  16. blessing in disguise?

    Okay, hear me out here. You know how when you’re in an argument and your opponent gets really entrenched, so you get even more entrenched? Or when you live with a clean freak so you become more of a slob in opposition to that, to sort of stake out your position? Well, is it possible that without Democrats trying to drag the country forward, Republicans might start to think, Huh — maybe affordable health care isn’t the bogeyman after all?

    Maybe it’s bitterness but part of me just feels like sitting back and watching what all the conservatives who fought so hard against health insurance reform will think once they win, and nothing good happens. Is it really gratifying to NOT get insurance coverage? Or to pay through the nose for it? Isn’t that sort of a pyrrhic victory — “the government doesn’t come between me and my doctor” — if you can’t even afford to see the doctor?

    Okay, rambling here, but feeling like maybe there’s a grim upside to this.

    • Hmmm….

      I’m more inclined to believe that either A) the MA dems really were torn apart (interesting diary on DailyKos about the MA dem machinery not supporting Coakley enough) or B) the Dems better pay attention to the fact that voters continue to be worried about the economy.  I don’t think healthcare is worth losing sight of but I hope the focus is shifted to jobs, jobs, jobs once the health bill is through.

    • I agree

      If Dems really are “stunned” by this, like the NYT says we were, maybe this will wake them up. Then again, maybe it will scare them into running even more toward the right, which is their go-to strategy for everything.

      Also, I think the health bill sucked–a mandate without cost controls?–so maybe going back to the drawing board is the best approach.

  17. it sounds

    It sounds like she didn’t do a very good job campaigning. I wasn’t following the race that closely, but the pundits last night seemed to think she was phoning it in. That’s never good.

    The other thing that annoys me is this idea of “Teddy’s seat.”

    Nobody owns a seat in the Senate, not Teddy, not the memory of Teddy, not the Kennedys, not the Dems, not the Repubs.

    Kind of like how Caroline Kennedy thought she could strut in and get that NY Senate seat when Hillary left. We can honor the Kennedys and their service, but nobody is owed anything.

    I think part of the problem was that the Dems in MA were stuck on this idea that they didn’t have to work for it, and that is arrogant.

    • State Democratic committee

      is unbelievably arrogant, and split into two major factions-  East Massachusetts (really, Boston) and Western Massachusetts, with a small sub-faction from the southeast. The Dems are quite good on the ground – ie, fielding local candidates for the state house and senate, but seriously can’t hold their sh*t together statewide, which is why the Republicans had such a long streak of holding the gubenatorial office. I remember from my days volunteering on campaigns in Massachusetts that institutional hacks would be absolutely shocked and at a loss as to why their candidate wouldn’t just naturally swan their way into whatever statewide race they were running. All the energy would go into winning the primary, which in reality only sees a 10-15% voter turnout, and then a big coast up to election day. I got sick of it and stopped turning out. The big exceptions were, IMHO, John Kerry’s 1996 Senate re-election campaign, where he nearly lost to Bill Weld (the close race made everyone hungry – desperate, really, and we got a fair number of national help) and, from what I see, Deval Patrick’s election.

      Anyway, my point being, I highly doubt we’ll see a Come to Jebus moment from the state dems in Mass in the next two years. Their positions are sweet and assured, so the same ol’ group-think can continue. My FB friends in MA aren’t giving me much hope – a lot of “The Dream Will Never Die” status updates (yeah, that’s workin’ out real good for ya), a lot of “Curt Schilling sucks” statuses, etc.

      /soapbox pontificating.

        • Dunno…

          Term limits have made things even worse in our legislature.  There is a learning curve when you come in as a rep.  If you don’t know anything, guess who ends up writing the legislation?  The lobbyists.  They ended up with even more power than they had before.

  18. it sounds

    It sounds like she didn’t do a very good job campaigning. I wasn’t following the race that closely, but the pundits last night seemed to think she was phoning it in. That’s never good.

    The other thing that annoys me is this idea of “Teddy’s seat.”

    Nobody owns a seat in the Senate, not Teddy, not the memory of Teddy, not the Kennedys, not the Dems, not the Repubs.

    Kind of like how Caroline Kennedy thought she could strut in and get that NY Senate seat when Hillary left. We can honor the Kennedys and their service, but nobody is owed anything.

    I think part of the problem was that the Dems in MA were stuck on this idea that they didn’t have to work for it, and that is arrogant.

    • State Democratic committee

      is unbelievably arrogant, and split into two major factions-  East Massachusetts (really, Boston) and Western Massachusetts, with a small sub-faction from the southeast. The Dems are quite good on the ground – ie, fielding local candidates for the state house and senate, but seriously can’t hold their sh*t together statewide, which is why the Republicans had such a long streak of holding the gubenatorial office. I remember from my days volunteering on campaigns in Massachusetts that institutional hacks would be absolutely shocked and at a loss as to why their candidate wouldn’t just naturally swan their way into whatever statewide race they were running. All the energy would go into winning the primary, which in reality only sees a 10-15% voter turnout, and then a big coast up to election day. I got sick of it and stopped turning out. The big exceptions were, IMHO, John Kerry’s 1996 Senate re-election campaign, where he nearly lost to Bill Weld (the close race made everyone hungry – desperate, really, and we got a fair number of national help) and, from what I see, Deval Patrick’s election.

      Anyway, my point being, I highly doubt we’ll see a Come to Jebus moment from the state dems in Mass in the next two years. Their positions are sweet and assured, so the same ol’ group-think can continue. My FB friends in MA aren’t giving me much hope – a lot of “The Dream Will Never Die” status updates (yeah, that’s workin’ out real good for ya), a lot of “Curt Schilling sucks” statuses, etc.

      /soapbox pontificating.

        • Dunno…

          Term limits have made things even worse in our legislature.  There is a learning curve when you come in as a rep.  If you don’t know anything, guess who ends up writing the legislation?  The lobbyists.  They ended up with even more power than they had before.

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