View Full Version : Brown vs. Coakley Shows Obama Has Become a Political Albatross

01-18-2010, 02:55 PM
Coverage of the Martha Coakley-Scott Brown Senate race brings to mind Yogi Berra’s famous quip, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

Not because of Coakley claiming that Boston Red Sox great Curt Schilling was somehow a New York Yankees fan (more on that later) or even the apt comparison with the 1991 Harris Wofford-Dick Thornburg special election which largely centered on health care (as Politico’s Alex Isenstadt noted).

Seeing President Barack Obama reverse course and make a last minute/last ditch effort to save the Coakley campaign brings back memories of November, when Obama put his prestige and political capital on the line in an unsuccessful attempt to save the gubernatorial campaigns of New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine and Virginia’s Creigh Deeds.

Those two elections were a stinging rebuke of the Obama Agenda – higher taxes, government control of health care and out of control spending. Since November, Obama’s poll numbers have only fallen. Coupled with the “perfect storm” that is Martha Coakley’s candidacy – a bad candidate running a bad campaign in a bad year for Democrats – and it may be shocking, but not altogether surprising that Scott Brown is in a position to win.

There are two basic unwritten rules in Massachusetts: don’t insult Catholics and don’t insult the Red Sox. They’re unwritten because it was unconceivable that any candidate would break them. Yet Coakley has managed to do both – suggesting Catholics should not work in emergency rooms, disparaging Fenway Park and picking a fight with Schilling that resulted in the Red Sox hero joining Brown on the campaign trail.

Coakley’s missteps, astonishing though they are, are really a sideshow to the larger issue of the effect Obama’s declining poll numbers have on Democratic candidates. When in a short three-month period Republicans win in New Jersey and are in a position to win in Massachusetts that translates into an environment absolutely poisonous for Democrats.