Sufferin’ Succotash – the MA Senatorial Election Debacle 7

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.



About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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7 thoughts on “Sufferin’ Succotash – the MA Senatorial Election Debacle

  • fan o' candy

    I agree, and there’s more. It’s the massive deafness of big… an inability of big politicians and big businesses and big industries and big entertainment networks and news organizations to hear tiny: individual people.

    And the media f*d up royally. Terrible coverage. Missed story angles. Inaccurate mood pieces. Ignored patterns of questionable democracy…like fake debates. I was at a lot of events. The write ups ranged from good to lame.

    Boston is one of the most complacent cities I’ve seen anywhere. City folks needed to wake up and smell the coffee and take matters into their own hands somewhere along the way. The campaign included some color but mostly: white commentators and white debate questioners and white experts. I have nothing against white. (Some of my best friends, etc ;) But how about a bit of variety, folks, from different classes. Not more elite folks and bickering and more beerfests in garden settings after.

    In Chicago and NYC and Philly I saw communities see wrong and right it, be cool together and figure out chess strategies as a team to get leverage by planning four moves ahead. Help me understand: what just happened one year after the Inauguration and one day after MLK Day?

    I saw Carlotta Lanier and D’Army Bailey speak at Ogletree’s event at Harvard Law. Carlotta said folks had to wake up. She should know as the youngest of the Little Rock 9 whose house was firebombed. And D’Army, the former judge and MLK follower in Memphis and Clark U was very pointed. He said black leaders “will sell you out as fast as white.” Power is power. He smiled but it was the smile of someone who knew that comfort is achieved by muscling through discomfort.

  • Candelaria

    You are so right with your comments.  Boston is at once active and complacent.  I do think political leaders, of all backgrounds and ehtnicities, take the populace for granted.  Thanks for reading and commenting.