One day a hare saw a tortoise walking slowly along and began to laugh and mock him.The aftershocks from the political earthquake that just occurred in Massachusetts will extend to the first Tuesday this November. Democrats are dazed and reeling from what should have been their easiest electoral victory in the nation. Martha Coakley, their candidate, was 30 points ahead in the race only weeks ago. Look up the word complacency in the dictionary and you may see her photograph alongside the definition. [For younger Whistleblower readers, a dictionary is a large volume that fossilized folks like myself still consult for word definitions and correct spellings.]
The hare challenged the tortoise to a race and the tortoise accepted. They agreed on a route and started off the race.After Coakley prevailed in the primary election by 19 points on December 8th, she vanished. I guess she felt entitled to a Senate seat that Democrats controlled for nearly 6 decades. While she was AWOL, Scott Brown plodded on, putting one foot in front of the other, and pursued the strategy that most successful politicians advocate – meeting voters. I’m no political expert, although I did handily win an election to the illustrious office of Ninth Grade Vice President several decades ago. I suspect, however, that most voters want candidates to actually campaign and earn their support.
The hare shot ahead and ran briskly for some time.The GOP national leaders wisely stayed on the sidelines. The Democratic leadership unwisely made the same choice. Only at the race’s conclusion, as Coakley was leaning over a cliff, did President Obama try to apply a Band-Aid to a corpse. The President and his advisors, in a John Kerryesque moment, were against coming to Massachusetts to stump for Coakley, until they were for it.
Then seeing that he was far ahead of the tortoise, he thought he'd sit under a tree for some time and relax before continuing the race. He sat under the tree and soon fell asleep.The President made fun of Scott Brown’s truck. Even as a high school candidate for higher office, I knew that you never, ever make fun of someone’s truck. I’m sure that when the President uttered these words, that David Axelrod had an apoplectic reaction. This might be even worse than referring to voters as 'bitter clingers of guns & religion'. It’s okay to make fun of a candidate’s BMW, or even a Lexus, but don’t touch the pickup.
The tortoise, plodding on, overtook him and finished the race.Those who study campaigns, or should study them, will be studying this one for a while. This was a political bombshell. As expected, the blame game is in full operation. While a circular firing squad seems appropriate, some are scapegoating Republicans as the ‘Party of No’ in the wake of their electoral debacle. If I were a Democrat, I would suggest a different strategy. Coakley didn’t lose because of the nefarious ‘Party of No’. She lost because liberal Massachusetts, a Democratic bastion, became the ‘Electorate of No’. They soundly rejected the current versions of health care reform. Most blame Coakley. Many blame the Democratic Party. Some blame the GOP. I blame the health care reform plans and the opaque and tawdry process that created them. Those whom we elected to serve us nearly succeeded in forcing a plan that most of us reject right down our throats. If they wouldn’t gulp it down in Massachusetts, they won’t swallow it in the rest of the country either.
The hare woke up and realized that he had lost the race.Huh? What happened?
Slow and steady wins the race!