Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

On Coakley

I'm stil following politics, just slightly less religiously than in the past - so for example I am watching Massachusetts and massively pissed at how Coakley ran her race. You can blame the party for lack of support all that you want but the truth is that voters like to see their candidate out for more than 10 minutes at a time, and they like to see a candidate who doesn't disdain facing the voters.

Coakley may well be a good Senator but just because you think you can rest easy especially in a "change" election, well, there's no voter that likes being taken for granted. You still gotta work like you want it. And she didn't seem like she wanted it. She sniffed at the idea of "standing outside Fenway Park [map], in the cold, shaking hands.” She then said that gladhanding basically wasn't worth her time when she had the support of a small town mayor. Take that plus her dissing Curt Schilling as a Yankees fan. YEah, she dissed the star pitcher who led the Red Sox to an 04 victory against the Yankees. Doesn't play well deep in Red Sox country. Plus her staffer's gaffe in wiping out a conservative columnist in the final days of the campaign. All bad. Bloomberg looks better for having endorsed Alan Karzei, founder of CityYear. Sam Yoon looks better for having endorsed Congressman Mike Capuano.

She's not the most progressive of the primary candidates, and indeed I have a friend who worked in her office who never wanted to work in the AG's office again. But she would have been good on a lot of issues, and she would have been a good Democratic vote in the Senate. But being privileged and being distant doesn't win you votes. Yes, this is Massachusetts, which has had Senator John F. Kerry, who was pilloried for being a windsurfing snob, in office for 20-odd years and Senator Ted Kennedy (may he rest in peace) for more than half his life. But I've seen both work a room and a convention hall, and they can both turn on the charm whether it's a donor, a voter, or an average citizen. And they do it because it's part of their jobs to respond to the public. Coakley lost because she ran as much from the crowds as she did the . You can't only like the idea of being a Senator, you gotta work for it.

Dan Drezner, a professor at Tufts writes, "I don't want to live in a swing state ever again" after being barraged by calls from surrogates and the campaigns, and likely some 527s and PACs urging him to vote for or against a candidate. All I can say is, I've been on the ground in swing states in presidential elections, and that ain't the half of it. Real swing state residents have people knocking on their doors repeatedly at all hours, their mailbox and doorstep gets cluttered with campaign lit, they get leafletted at the grocery store, at school, and at church. Not to mention the state fair and wherever you go to try to escape this stuff. Your tv is full of commercials about the candidates - cable or mainstream channels. You turn on the car radio and it's blanketed with ads.

Anyway, there's not a lot to be hopeful about in this special election.

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