Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Martha, my dear

Martha Coakley was not my first choice as this state's next senator, and she has not run a good campaign since the primary. However, for the state and the nation, it is important that she win today.

Republican Scott Brown came out of nowhere and has demonstrated more charisma and enthusiasm than Coakley, but his regular-guy approach (like the commercial where he is walking the streets of Southie) belies the fact that he would line up in Washington with interests that act against working people in America.

Coakley seemed to assume that winning the Democratic primary ended the race, but she wasn't paying attention to the lessons of William Weld et al: When the GOP presents a more attractive candidate (as Weld to John Silber) whose ideology isn't on the surface they can win in Massachusetts.

Still, I have to believe that if Democrats turn out in any decent numbers, Coakley will prevail. If not, the future of health-care reform and the rest of President Obama's domestic agenda is in trouble. Further, the outlook for the party in November would be worrisome.

10 comments:

Garrett said...

love how you post that she has not run a good campaign, yet you still say she must win. Will she suddenly get better at running things when elected in?

Jim said...

First, you should know that I am uber-liberal, and therefore I'd like to see the most progressive candidate win in any election. Second, I don't see campaigning and governing as requiring the same skill set.

Coakley laid low after the primary -- an apparent mistake -- and in public she's come off as stiff and cold. Brown has portrayed himself as a regular guy, and he's come off as warm and friendly. He's won people over. However, I don't think for a second I want him in Washington voting against progressive policies.

That make sense?

Eric Bradley said...

How about that incredibly ignorant gem when she said that Catholics shouldn't work in emergency rooms? So much for religious freedom, or is that not a progressive issue anymore?

Jim said...

Actually, the ignorance is on the part of those who believe anything that Sean Hannity says. He apparently keeps leveling that charge, which carries some sway in very Catholic Massachusetts, even though it a distortion of what Coakley said.

She said, and I agree with her, that she would oppose legislation that "say[s] that if people believed that they don't want to provide services that are required under the law and under Roe vs. Wade that they can individually decide to not follow the law."

Eric Bradley said...

You can find audio transcripts of her comments everywhere, not just on Hannity, from when she was interviewed on the subject.

And her wonderful quotation is just another fancy way of denying religious freedom. I'm not talking about issues like blood transfusions - I'm talking about forcing half of the nation to either violate their conscience or suffer grave consequences at the workplace.

This isn't asking for an exemption to commit murder - this is asking for protection for those who do not wish to perform ACTIONS that they consider gravely immoral. Again, what ever happened to religious freedom for the left? Or has the state trumped my right of conscience?

dylan said...

services that are required under the law

Required?

dylan said...

For the record, Coakley's remarks, as reported by the Catholic blog Vivificat!:

Radio Host Ken Pittman: Right, if you are a Catholic, and believe what the Pope teaches that any form of birth control is a sin, uh, you don’t want to do that.

COAKLEY: No, but we have a separation of church and state Ken, let’s be clear.

PITTMAN: Yeah, in the emergency room, you still have your religious freedom.

COAKLEY: [stuttering] The law says that people are allowed to have that. And so then, you can have religious freedom, but you probably shouldn’t work in the emergency room.

PITTMAN: Wow. Ok.

I'm trying to imagine a candidate who says, "I believe blacks should have civil rights, but maybe they shouldn't be sitting on juries." Beyond the pale. But somehow Coakley's remarks were acceptable to 1.1 million voters.

(In fairness, maybe some of them weren't aware of the remarks -- they were underreported.)

Jim said...

The quote above is somewhat different than, "Catholics shouldn't work in emergency rooms," isn't it? Still, we're only seeing the part of the conversation. From what I've found online, Pittman -- the conservative radio host -- responded (according to the Boston Herald, "I agree that you’ve gotta have some balance there." Further, Coakley's campaign issued a statement later that said, "Martha Coakley supports current Massachusetts law, which protects the rights of individual doctors, nurses and other health-care providers to not participate in providing abortion or sterilization if they object to these medical procedures on moral or religious grounds.” Where is the controversy?

Honestly, I am so sick of this manufactured persecution that Catholics -- and more broadly, Christians -- are always spouting off about in this country. It is -- and I say this with all due respect, my friends -- a bit sickening.

dylan said...

The Coakley campaign claimed:

"Martha Coakley supports current Massachusetts law, which protects the rights of individual doctors, nurses and other health-care providers to not participate in providing abortion or sterilization if they object to these medical procedures on moral or religious grounds."

Well, if that's true, then why did she attack Scott Brown for his vote upholding the conscience clause? One doesn't attack someone for voting in a way with which one agrees!

dylan said...

Honestly, I am so sick of this manufactured persecution that Catholics -- and more broadly, Christians -- are always spouting off about in this country. It is -- and I say this with all due respect, my friends -- a bit sickening.

It's not quite persecution, but there are disturbing cultural trends and attitudes. As far back as 50 years ago, someone (Peter Viereck?) called anti-Catholicism "the acceptable anti-Semitism." And of course, there are periodic acts of transgressive "bravery" of the Sinéad O'Connor variety or, more disgustingly, of the Andres Serrano/Chris Ofili variety. (As one blogger puts it, because Rome does not issue fatwas. Nor should she!)

And then, there's the anti-Catholicism that comes from "the religious right"! John Hagee, and at times, Pat Robertson, have not been guiltless of this particular phenomenon.

You'll have to admit, we've gone a long way in this country from the days when Bishop Fulton Sheen could appear on a major television network in prime time, and talk about the things above. (From Fulton Sheen to Charlie Sheen in fifty short years? Not an improvement, it says here.)