Because suspicion always haunts the guilty mind, I took a walk this cold and sloppy and ugly morning. I have to see my doctor soon (just a regular checkup) and because I like the guy (a Navy man) I'm trying to shape up so he will be less disappointed in me. He's a straight-talker, knows we all owe a debt to God, so he's never panics, just asks me if I prefer living more days or fewer. I say more. Well, then drink more V8, walk more, and drag another fat man out for racquetball from time to time, says he, or can't you do that? Am I asking for too much? So I had a nice quiet walk, showered, made strong coffee, lit up a Fonseca 10-10, and pondered the world. Tiring of the bad press reports coming out of Haiti, I read the papers (on Kindle) and sun light entered the cave. Even the L.A. Times
reports that the Dems are on the edge of the abyss in the Bay State. (Also see Boston Globe
, NY Times
). That this is going to happen the day before Obama celebrates (?!) his first year in office might be attributed to bad fortune, or to good. And it will happen in the most Democratic of states, the one with the late Senator wedded to nationalizing health care? But what is certain in all these news stories in which ordinary folk's opinion are featured is that they know what to do when their opinion is being ignored and justice is no longer abstract and it looks like the great ax will fall. Can Obama turn it around with a day trip? I doubt it.
Some points from a local guy,
1. Right-leaning Massachusetts folks are energized like I've never seen them. They are a distinct minority, but there are more than the GOP's 14% voter registration rate would have you think. Lots identify as independents - or unenrolled as they are called here.
2. Two constituencies are in play. White suburban persuadables who don't identify as either liberals or conservatives and nonwhites in Massachusetts gateway communities. Brown made a great impression on suburban white voters (as was revealed by last week's PPP poll) and Coakley needs to convince these voters that Brown is an extremist in order to win. The main weakness of the Brown campaign is that its strength is almost entirely among white voters. The same PPP poll showed Brown losing by huge margins among both Latinos and African Americans. The key for Coakley will be the turnout in the gateway communities like Lowell, Lawrence, Malden, Lynn, Salem, Brockton, Fall River, and New Bedford. These areas haven't seen a Brown surge and if the voters in these areas get out, it will swell the Democratic margin. This is where Obama can matter. His coming to town won't change many Brown voters to Coakley voters, but it might get some otherwise apathetic voters who think of the GOP as the enemy to get out to vote.
3. The Coakley ad blitz is like nothing I've seen in my life and I've lived in a market that included southern New Hampshire for almost my whole life. Every commercial break contains at least one ad telling you that Brown is a monster. My impression is that the pro-Coakley ads outnumber the Brown ads by at least 3 to 1.
4. The Brown campaign has a relentless phonebanking operation. I've gotten at least a dozen calls this week and four calls today. They might want to dial it back. It is getting a bit annoying.
Thanks, Pete. Re #4: There's some political scientist study that contends that all these calls produce a net gain, even though they may be counterproductive in a few cases. We should force that political scientist--I don't know the reference--to recant. Someone help find the work, please.