I voted today shortly before the polls closed and then went to a movie so I wouldn't waste two hours of my life wringing my hands in front of MSNBC. Saw "An Education" instead. Good flick. A bit hard to understand what a "man of the world" would see in a 17 y.o. schoolgirl, besides the obvious (I've been there!), but I'm pleased to suspend disbelief in the name of entertainment.
It was no surprise to turn on the radio afterwards to Brown's victory speech - the soppy end where he made an extended joke about he and his daughter taking on Obama and a player of his choosing in a friendly game of basketball. I hope Obama takes his offer and selects Lebron James as his teammate.
Now I will share a few thoughts about my impressions of this election, and to an extent, this first year of the Obama Administration, as tonight's election will widely be claimed to be a repudiation of the Obama agenda (whatever that is).
Firstly, I'm not pleased with the way the Democratic primary here in my adopted state (I've lived here since 2005, moved up from Connecticut) was conducted. Coakley was a done deal before Kennedy's body cooled, and that was a mistake, in retrospect, though not one in which any individual can or should be blamed. I really don't know very much about Martha Coakley, certainly not enough to say anything authoritative about her potential as a Senator. Her campaign left a lot to be desired, and that's all I'm going to say about that.
What annoys me, really, is that I consider our Congressional Delegation to be very strong, and yet among them, only Mike Capuano ran for the nomination. I think Barney Frank, Ed Markey or Bill Delahunt would have been much stronger candidates to even the playing field vs. Coakley and would have ginned up more interest on our side in our primary. It just felt way too much that Martha was going to be the Dem's candidate, and the heavyweight contenders didn't enter the primary in complicity.
Secondly, this economy is a buzz kill, and I think our Democratic leaders in DC have so far failed to rally us together as a nation to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe it's impossible in this environment, but the Saturday youtube videos aren't gonna go down in history with FDR's fireside chats. Populism shouldn't be a marketing strategy, and that's all it is anymore. If a candidate really represents the people, s/he needs to be prepared to lose everything - their job included, and from Obama on down, I don't think our Democratic representatives in Washington are prepared to shed their own proverbial blood to pass meaningful reform - healthcare, finance, foreign policy. You know, if I'm Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landrieu or Harry Reid, I read the tea leaves and throw Hail Marys until my constituents throw me out. If they're gonna lose, they have nothing to lose personally. So why not leave we the people with some fantastic parting gifts by way of a public option and reinstatement of Glass Steagall?
But I suppose their careers come first. Good luck, Blanche and Harry. I decline in advance to contribute to your re-election campaigns.
Thirdly, I'm no longer smug about our 100% Democratic representation in DC. I'll miss that.
Finally, I think the way forward is to pick ourselves up, dust off the seat of our pants, learn from this loss and move on with minimal angst. It's not the end. Politics and representative governance will go on long after we're all dead. For myself, I've been feeling a fair degree of anomie for a while because of employment issues, but I believe I can certainly stand to become more involved in promoting my Democratic, liberal views in a real time way. Like Martha, connecting with people is not my greatest strength. But being comfortable is usually a symptom of being complacent and disengaged, and I've been too comfortable and pleased to post occasional comments to this or that message board. That doesn't count as being engaged in promoting a liberal vision for this country's future.
It's human nature to point fingers and engage in recriminations, but I'm going to resist that. My Party lost this time. We - I - didn't make the case to unenrolled voters here. We - our elected officials in DC - didn't gauge the mood of the electorate in what I think is a very discouraging time in our history. So good lessons can be learned from this race. Fortunately, Brown only holds this seat until 2012, and I think we can and will do a much better job then, and next year, in making the case to the American People that their trust is better invested in Democratic candidates than in Republicans. But our current officeholders have a duty to make that case by truly and boldly promoting all our interests, including those of the least powerful and connected among us, against narrow corporate interests that are inordinately defended by the other party.