Opinion: The blame game: who lost Massachusetts?


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Even before the polls close, political insiders are debating the outcome.

If Democratic Atty. Gen. Martha Coakley loses the Senate seat held by the liberal icon Ted Kennedy for 48 years, look for the blame game to get even louder. Many are blaming Coakley.

In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a wide margin, Coakley assumed her victory in the Democratic primary was a coronation. So she took a little break during the holidays, dismissing Republican state legislator Scott Brown as an irrelevant irritant.


“Going dark was not a great idea,” said Massachusetts Democrat Richard Neal.

As his campaign against ObamaCare gained traction with independents and Tea Party activists -- Boston, after all, was the site of the original tea party 235 years ago -- Coakley was forced to debate Brown. By all accounts, he won. Take a look on this video.

Others blame the White House for not spotting Brown’s surge in time to stop it. And White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel reportedly blames the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic pollster Celinda Lake for failing to raise red flags about Brown’s Big Mo.

“With the legislative and political stakes so high, it’s unbelievable that the Senate committee and White House let this race get so out of hand,” one senior Washington Democrat told Politico. “There’s a lot of blame to go around. Martha Coakley is only one of the problems here.”

Others sharing the blame include Gov. Deval Patrick, whose approval rating with state voters has slipped to 41%, and President Obama and a Democratic-controlled Congress for running up big deficits while job losses continue.

Coakley made a lot of mistakes. She said the Taliban were gone from Afghanistan. She said Curt Schilling, a hero to the Red Sox Nation, was a Yankee fan.


But the defining moment of the campaign may have come when Coakley was asked why she was not spending more time with voters. Noting that Brown stood outside Fenway Park greeting hockey fans who attended a special outdoor game between the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers, Coakley said, “ As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park? In the cold? Shaking hands?”

In politics they call that tone deaf.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo Credit: Associated Press

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