Sara Whitman

Massachusetts Is Not Invincible

Filed By Sara Whitman | January 20, 2010 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Harold Ford, invincible, Martha Coakley, Massachusetts, Massachusetts special election, naked frat boys, Scott Brown, Tea Party, teabaggers

I have always been so proud to be from Massachusetts. Home of the liberals, even when liberal became a bad word. invincible.jpgWe have marriage equality, we have health care, we had the "liberal lion" Teddy Kennedy. I thought we were invincible.

Clearly, so did the Coakley campaign.

Sure, we elected Mitt Romney, but he handed out flyers at gay pride, pretended to be pro-choice, pretended to be like William Weld- a very socially liberal Republican.

He wasn't.

Now we've elected a naked frat boy named Scott Brown. Wealthy white guy who said he was an outsider. A guy who played on anger and white male privilege.

Anyone for some tea?

I am not alone feeling there is some push back about gender going on here- a woman is still suspect as a candidate. Still, I can't help but feel the message was wrong- we have great health care here. And the economy, while bad, isn't as bad as many parts of the country. Unemployment is at about 8% - lower than the national average.

So what was it about? The media keeps reporting on voter "anger." I agree, people are angry but how is it they can forget that Bush policies landed us in this mess? Obama is not Hercules- he could not possibly have made these deep problems in such a short period of time.

It took Bush 8 years, after all.

Is it the bailout of Wall Street? The perception that Obama has coddled the banks with the stimulus package? Have we not moved fast enough to create new regulations?

When I met the President, my kids begged me not to say anything political. Please, Mom... it will be sooooo embarrassing.

Um... he is a political guy, you know. Kind of his job.

But I have to admit, I kept thinking about the economy, the battle for health care, the devastation in Haiti, the war... I didn't have the heart. I'm not saying ENDA, DADT aren't as pressing. It just felt like so much on his plate already.

And those pesky teabaggers nipping at his heels, who now are so emboldened, I'm wondering if they are going to start wearing the sheets and hoods again.

Before the polls were closed, the Democrats were getting in a circle and shooting at each other. Pointing fingers at who lost this race and why. Without question, this needs to be evaluated but can we please not humiliate ourselves? The loss is bad enough.

When the AP called the race, my kids were just in bed so they heard our outrage. They were disgusted that Brown won- oh, my liberal kids. Good for them. I mumbled to Jeanine that I was sick of it. Sick of losing. Sick of politics. Sick of the games, the maneuvering, the tension.

Let's move to Costa Rica. It's warm, they have decent health care, and they have no army.

I didn't realize that Jake had heard me. He asked me this morning if we were moving. I said, Oh, honey, I was upset. Remember the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? Remember how Alexander wants to move to Australia?

He smiled.

And his mom says at the end, Even in Australia they have bad days? We're not moving. It was just a really bad day.

I'm not going anywhere. And no, I will not give up. The campaign was not well run, no question, but no one dreamed this could happen. The rest of the country must take note and learn from this. We cannot afford another naked frat boy to get elected to the United States Senate anywhere. Everyone in New York? Take Harold Ford very seriously. There are no free rides for anyone.

It is a hard, painful lesson to learn: Massachusetts is not invincible.


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I can not figure out so many of the "average voters" who are quoted in the news keep saying something along the line : "I voted for Obama because he promised change. Obama is moving way too fast on health care, so I had to send a signal."

A lot of the quotes from voters I'm reading and the polling I've been seeing show a lot of confusion on the part of voters. They want a national public option... so they vote for the guy who promises to kill health care? They were worried about jobs... so they kill the chance of a second stimulus?

Obviously they didn't quite get the candidates' positions. Which makes me think that Brown's going to be a sitting goose for a Democrat in 2012. Who's going to run against him?

it was an intellectual argument that the urban areas got but the rural areas did not.

I'm not sure, Alex. I have a few ideas... my worst case scenario is that Brown runs for president and abandons the senate race- honestly? I can see vicki kennedy done with her mourning and so disgusted she runs.

she's very very smart that one.

all the dems that get to a certain level in the state senate tend to end up... um.. busted for something.

The dems are going to shoot each other for a while. We'll see who is left standing.

maybe I'll run. I'll go buy a truck now so I can appeal to the average joe. because they'll all think my name is joe.

and I've had my john deere hat for many many years...

I'm proud of the people of Massachusetts (one of my favorite states to visit). They showed they are independent thinkers. Democrats (Republicans too) should never take their votes for granted.

Trust me, in Australia we have terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days.

Perhaps fewer of them though. It would be unthinkable not to have ENDA like protections, or to prevent GLBTs (yes, Ts as well) included in the military.

Same-sex marriage... not so much. Even civil partnerships are only in a few states. But we're working on it, and going forwards steadily.

Trust me, in Australia we have terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days.

Perhaps fewer of them though. It would be unthinkable not to have ENDA like protections, or to prevent GLBTs (yes, Ts as well) included in the military.

Same-sex marriage... not so much. Even civil partnerships are only in a few states. But we're working on it, and going forwards steadily.

Massachusetts . . .the joke among the Missouri Synod Lutherans from Chicago who were summering on the shores of Lake Michigan, when I was working there in the mid-seventies, was that they called it "M'achusetts" because the "ass" was left in Dallas when Kennedy was shot. But, there are still a few Kennedy's left. Maybe, there is hope for the future.

Massachusetts is a "blue" state that voted for Ed King in the seventies. Does anyone remember Ed King? Ronald Reagan called him his favorite Democratic Governor. King seriously considered running as a republican in 1986. Remember? Ronald Reagan was a democrat once. I don't think everything is Cambridge, Northampton and Amherst in Massachusetts. I think a lot of people have the wrong idea about how liberal Massachusetts is beyond its cultural centers. I live close to Fall River.

Bill Weld was an interesting character but a republican, nonetheless. Even if he were pro choice and listened to the Grateful Dead one should remember that Harvard Law School fellow and Wesleyan graduate, John Perry Barlow, helped Dick Cheney get his career off the ground. Libertarianism is a very complex political ideal. The better brand of republicanism is libertarian but libertarian w/out a social conscience. I can't really think of any libertarian democrats.

Where are the libertarians who have a social conscience? I don't know about the Kennedy's. I haven't seen much libertarianism from any of them. In some ways I cannot blame the attitudes of those Chicagoans I stayed with many years ago. I remember reading Mike Royko's book "Boss" when I was out there.

I wish there were an alternative to the Democrats and Republicans. I wish people could just keep it simple. Let live but help out those who really need help. There is so much factionalism wherever you go, though. I don't know why or how those in other parts of the country have forgotten that the truest Republicans were those opportunistic carpetbaggers from the Northeast, just like the Bushes the Browns and the rest of the Dick Armey. I think people like Brown thrive on that sort of amnesia.


I don't think Sara has it quite right re: the economic situation here in Mass.

Just to add some to the perspective:

according to the US Dept Labor unemployment stats for Mass:
in Sept 08 the unemployment rate in Mass was 5.6%
by Sept 09 the unemployment rate in Mass was 9.3%
That is an increase of almost 70%.

And it does not include those who do not report, those who have stopped hunting for jobs, and/or those (like my husband) who haven't had a raise in 2 years while working much longer hours. (while I am unemployed - so only one income in this house...)

Now the economy has recovered a little bit since Sept 09 - per the last official report the state has added @ 17,000 jobs.

But it still has over 60% greater unemployment than in Sept 08.

I know that is a lot of mindnumbing detail.

But the point is - people are not just angry. They are scared.

And our 'great insurance' here in mass is still tied to how much a person can afford.

So I think Sara doesn't quite catch the zeitgeist in her description.

This economic environment is much of what is at the heart of Brown's victory.

Last note - I voted for Coakley. But...

To disregard the 'angry voters', to demeean their rationale, is only to set ourselves up for another loss.