“Sufferin’ succotash,” Sylvester the Cat said when he was distressed usually after having failed, once again, to catch Tweety-Bird. He said it with a stutter and plenty of spit. (Daffy Duck also uttered the phrase but it was Sylvester’s originally.)
I’m stuttering, sputtering and shaking my head in dismay at the outcome of the special election to fill the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts.
Unlike Tweety, Martha Coakley, did not outrun her nemesis, Scott Brown. In fact, she didn’t even run a campaign. I wonder why:
- Was it arrogance?
- Did she believe the poll numbers and think they were written in stone?
- Was it merely that she is not a people person and therefore didn’t think she needed to get out and campaign among the people?
- Did the other Democratic candidates in the primary fragment her political base?
- Were they too invisible in their support after she won the primary?
- Did they fail to campaign for her?
- Did she have the I wrong campaign manager?
- Was she too broke to mount an effective campaign a few weeks ago?
- Did the Democratic machine take her winning as an inevitability?
Perhaps it was all of the above reasons.
I do know that she messed up, no, a stronger word is needed, she effed up this campaign.
I do know that, until last week, I didn’t get a piece of mail from her campaign and was only invited to one event the week before. (I got plenty of mail and emails from everybody else, except the Kennedy guy.) I even got mail from the Brown campaign!
The lessons resonate beyond politics:
- Don’t ever get comfortable or complacent when running for any office or pursuing any job. (You don’t have it until you get it and even then the rules can be changed along the way. Just check out what happened to Conan.)
- Don’t take your constituency for granted.
- If you’re going to run for public office you got to deal and be among the public, in all sorts of settings even those that aren’t comfortable.
- Whenever progress is made, there is inevitable backlash and backsliding.
- Don’t underestimate the power of social media to garner support.
- Never under-estimate how far media recognition and good looks can go.
(Having a daughter who has a bit of fame, i.e., Ayla Brown who competed on American Idol and is a basketball player for the NCAA, can give you traction.)
- The Republican Party used to represent conservative and upper-crusty, classy – no longer. Can you say WWT?
I would like to have the option to vote NO when I hit the polls – as in, none of the above. Please give us some better candidates. As far as I’m concerned, neither Coakley nor Brown are worthy successors to Senator Ted Kennedy’s legacy.
Oh well, 24 months until we can undo this debacle.