With Republican Scott Brown now strongly favored to win a special U.S. Senate election in Democrat-dominated Massachusetts, shell-shocked Democrats are already asking how their candidate, Martha Coakley, could possibly have lost Ted Kennedy's former seat—one they've controlled for decades. Here, a quick look at who's blaming whom—and for what in this fast-developing drama:
MARTHA COAKLEY, for...
• Laziness: "Coakley makes an easy target," says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. "Not only did she fail to do the basic retail politicking ... [scorning, for instance,] the notion of shaking hands in the cold at Fenway Park ... but she couldn’t be bothered to carry out the tasks that would have allowed others to do so on her behalf."
"Let the blame game begin"
• Incompetence: "Martha Coakley has proved so far to be a state-of-the-art gaffe machine," says Christopher Coffey at Fox News. "Her campaign has been overwhelmed by repeated embarrassments."
"It's not just about Coakley, stupid"
OBAMA, for ...
• Alienating Americans: "Mr. Obama won the White House in part on ... his cool confidence amid a recession and an unpopular war, says a Wall Street Journal editorial. Yet, on his watch, Congress has repealed "more or less the entire post-1980 policy era ... turning the U.S. into a cradle-to-grave entitlement state."
"The message of Massachusetts"
THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, for …
• Self-centeredness: "The Democrats' 'bad climate' is a direct result of how they've governed," says Jonah Goldberg in the Baltimore Sun. The populist backlash is fueled by a sense that Democrats are acting on their preferred agenda and by their own rules."
"If Democrats lose Kennedy's seat, they should only blame themselves"
"CIRCUMSTANCES," for ...
• Being insurmountable: "Democrats strongly believe," says Byron York in the Washington Examiner, "that if Coakley loses, it will be because of a special set of circumstances — a weak candidate and a particularly bad political environment."
"Massachusetts: Dem attacks on Coakley get personal"
SCOTT BROWN, for …
• Exploiting voters' vulnerabilities: "Brown backers say they are voting for change," says Joan Vennochi in the Boston Globe. "Instead, they are supporting a slick, packaged politician who is happy to manipulate them."
"Brown supporters trying to suppress vote by bullying"
THE 'LIBERAL' MEDIA, for …
• Being too restrained: "Liberals can win elections, but they still have trouble winning the narrative," says Kevin Drum at Mother Jones. "There's simply no liberal counterpart to Drudge and Fox and Rush: a conservative commentariat that concedes nothing [and] pounds home its points like a jackhammer. ..."
"Losing the thread"
TED KENNEDY, for ...
• Living too long: "When one guy occupies one of the state’s top three offices for nearly half a century, it’s all but inevitable that political sclerosis will set in," says Jason Zengerle in New York Magazine.
"Who's to blame for a candidate like Martha Coakley?"
CHRISTMAS, for …
• Distracting voters: "The lack of attention [paid] to this race definitely worked to Scott Brown's advantage. His supporters were fired up and always planned to vote," says Joe Sudbay at AmericaBlog. "Most people in Massachusetts just weren't paying attention to politics over the holidays."
"The race in Massachusetts, where it really stands"
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