Public Comment

Thoughts on the Senate Election in Massachusetts

By Ralph E. Stone
Thursday January 28, 2010 - 08:45:00 AM

Yes, Martha Coakley managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the recent special Senate election in Massachusetts. I wonder how much campaigning the Kennedy clan did for her. Guess there is no such thing as a “Kennedy” seat in Massachusetts anymore.  

I am not so sure Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts foreshadows a Democrat disaster in the midterm elections. But all 435 House and 36 Senate seats are up for grabs. Traditionally, the party in power loses seats in the midterm elections, and the Democrats will probably lose more than the average but still maintain a majority in the Senate and the House. However, the Democrats will not have a filibuster-proof Senate and the conservative Blue Dog Democrats in both houses will control the debate. This may mean a lame duck presidency for the remainder of Obama’s first term. So much for making history. 

During the Sturm und Drang over health care legislation, the president and the congressional Democrats caved in to the health insurance and drug companies, resulting in a pending health care bill that no one is happy with. In the meantime, the Democrats forgot that it’s jobs, jobs, jobs that concern too many Americans. And it does not look like the unemployment figures will improve dramatically before the midterm elections. Americans fear losing their jobs or have lost their jobs, and many are facing foreclosure. Meanwhile the federal, state, and local safety nets have been reduced or eliminated altogether. These hard-pressed Americans see a $1 trillion plus industry bailout, extravagant executive pay and bonuses, and a $12 trillion national debt. It may not be the Democrats’ fault, but they will pay at the polls. 

There will be the usual accusations of voting hanky-panky. Some commentators have suggested that the hand count shows a Coakley win, whereas the voting machine results show a Brown win. If there was some doubt over the results, why did Coakley concede so quickly and why haven’t the Massachusetts Democrats challenged the election? Regardless, when the dust settles, Brown will be the winner and Coakley the loser.  

I am not optimistic that the Democrats can get their act together. As Will Rogers quipped, “I belong to no organized party, I’m a Democrat.” Worst-case scenario, we will have a Sarah Palin presidency in 2012. Be afraid America, be afraid. 


Ralph E. Stone is a retired Bay Area attorney. He was born and spent his early years in Massachusetts.