I hate to say this: Martha Coakley is going to lose tomorrow. Badly. And though Health Care will probably play some role in this, at the end of the day Coakley's loss will be entirely because of the absolutely horrendous campaign that she ran.
The ineptness shown by Martha Coakley and her campaign staff are going to make her more unpopular than Mike Dukakis was after he lost the Presidential election in 1988. And deservedly so.
Among other things: Martha's campaign didn't even have locations to do phone banks until last Wednesday. And they were still scrambling this weekend to put phones up.
In short, this campaign has been a cluster-fuck of epic proportions.
After her defeat tomorrow, Martha Coakley's new last name is going to be Munson. And deservedly so. I never thought that I would live to see the day when another Massachusetts Democrat would be reviled more than Mike Dukakis post-Nov 1988, but that is exactly what is going to happen to Martha Coakley.
She had best brace herself for the onslaught. It is going to get ugly. And it will be largely deserved.
But before I explain why, let me say some really nice things about Martha Coakley. Even though I do not support her (I voted and worked for Capuano in the primary), I like Martha Coakley a lot.
I've listened to her on the Jim and Margery radio show a number of times and found her surprisingly funny, witty, and incredibly intelligent. That stands in contrast to my initial view of her which is (and was) that she is not a good candidate. And that is putting it nicely.
In fact, as replacement for Teddy Kennedy of all people, I thought of Martha as a horrible candidate. I wanted someone who would be a firebrand and a populist with a record of standing up and fighting back against long odds. Apparently, I wasn't alone. Unfortunately, it was Scott Brown who stole that mantle and ran with it.
And again, on a personal level Martha is very nice. Really kind. But her record is hardly one as a firebrand.
But back to why Martha Coakley lost this election. In spite of Massachusetts reputation as a reliable Democratic state, Republicans have run very well here for statewide office. They won the Governorship three times and held that office for 16 years. They also won the State Treasurers office.
But more important than these races is the fact two of the most legendary US Senate races of the last 50 years occurred right here in Massachusetts (Kennedy/Romney of 94, and Weld/Kerry of 96). There was also the Kerry/Rappaport race of '90. None of these campaigns was a cake walk for the Democrats. Kerry and Kennedy prevailed over Weld and Romney, but only after incredibly bruising campaigns that were at anything but sure things.
So why would anyone - especially Martha Coakley - believe that this race was going to be won with ease? Why? Because it was "Ted Kennedy's" seat? Nonsense.
This race should have always been considered close, and yet Martha Coakley and her campaign committed the grossest case of political malfeasence we have ever been witness to here in Massachusetts. So bad that it is akin to 'malpractice'.
For starters, Martha did not really run a campaign - not "on the ground" nor "on the air". She was barely visible during either the primary or the general election - few if any commercials, rallies, public appearences. Instead, she sat on her "lead" and thought that she could simply sail into the US Senate with ease. The only real campaign events were the three debates, which reportedly she lost (according to polling of those who actually watched them).
Second, once Martha Coakley started to campaign her weakness as a candidate were glaring. She bumbled through answers and interviews - including the now infamous remark to Dan Rea that Curt Shilling is a Yankee fan. WTF?!?
Third, Martha Coakley had virtually no field organization. She ran and won the Attorney Generals position and the primary without building a town by town and city by city organization of volunteers who could help deliver the campaigns message at the local level and coordinate Get-Out-The-Vote efforts for election weekend.
Over the weekend, I got two completely shocking reports about the state of Coakley's campaign. The first was that her campaign didn't have phone bank locations until last Wednesday or Thursday. Having worked as a paid staffer on at least 6 campaigns, I can't begin to tell you all how absolutely outrageous this is. If you don't even have phone bank locations going into the weekend of the election, you aren't running a campaign.
Case in point. Guess who else doesn't have a phone bank operation (as far as I know): Joe Kennedy, the libertarian candidate.
Additionally, I got one report that at least one member of Congress was making phone calls this weekend to the heads of union locals asking them to open their offices for phone banks. This means that a sitting member of Congress was doing the job that should have been done by either Martha's campaign manager, political director or field director.
In the end, there are so many reasons why this defeat is going to be unforgiveable, not the least of which is that the GOP is going to use this as an excuse to say that it is "about Obama" or "Health Care" or whatever else - and in some part that is true. But at the end of the day Martha Coakley lost this campaign all on her own.
UPDATE: Rachel Maddow gave pretty much the same analysis that I present here on her show tonight. She just didn't come right out and say what Democratic insiders are saying here in Massachusetts: that Coakley will most certainly lose. Let me be clear about this: I am not happy about this. But as grown ups we should be able to have adult conversations about these things without people threatening to "HR" me, or accusing me of being a troll, or lecturing me about how "this isn't helpful". I will be out there working for Martha Coakley tomorrow, hoping beyond hope for a win. Where will you be?
UPDATE II: Scott Brown is a racist douche and a lunatic. The people of Massachusetts are going to be shocked once they find out what this guy is really about. He is not a "Weld" Republican. He is lockstep with the racist, hardline right wing of the GOP. Teddy Kennedy will roll in his grave if we elect this dope.
UPDATE III: If Coakley does win tomorrow it will be because the Labor Movement pulled her ass out of the fire. And she and every other God Damn Democrat better never f-ing forget it.