Don’t even think about it.

Unless you’re living under a rock, you probably know that Martha Coakley lost her bid to take Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat in Massachusetts.

I’m just going to say it – I wasn’t surprised at the outcome.  Much like Dukakis and Kerry, Coakley didn’t do what campaigns should do between winning a primary and crushing a general election.  If you don’t believe me, just go to google and start reading.  The shorter version of how the campaign work slowed down can be found via kos and Marc Ambinder from The Atlantic.

Like the Lambeau Field incident during the Kerry campaign, Coakley flubbed a question about a Red Sox legend in a state that takes baseball as seriously as breathing.  All politics is local and don’t you dare try to run for office without knowing your home teams and your local heroes.  Was that the reason she lost? Of course not.  It was a symptom of a larger problem.

And no, I’m not trying to take a swipe at people working on the campaign, or those that volunteered and made calls.  Grieve over the loss, embrace how much you hate losing, and then figure out the next way you choose to volunteer.  Trust me, I have PTSD* from working on various *cough Hillary cough* campaigns.  But don’t – even for a moment – think this race has any implications beyond this special election.  You worked hard, so give yourself some time to rest and move on to the next battle.

My biggest worry is that tomorrow (and indeed, right now) the headlines trailing Coakley’s loss will beat the tired and not factual critique that women can’t win higher officer.  Fact is, this isn’t about women winning or losing.  This is about a candidate that didn’t work as hard as the other candidate – her gender has nothing to do with it.  Scott Brown wanted it more, worked harder, and was the challenger after the Democrats had a historic winning streak.  This Massachusetts race is similar to Chris Christie beating John Corzine in New Jersey.  And beyond that, any attempt to draw parallels is inaccurate.  It’s like having a sample size of 1 and saying you can predict the weather forever.  Forget it.

And if you’ll excuse me, I have to go figure out a way to keep myself from looking at the internet for 3 days.    Because my heart has had enough of a beating, and for me – I’d rather look at the next electoral horizon than attempt to read the tea leaves on an isolated skirmish.

*Note: I do not mean to be disrespectful to our soldiers or others that suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  While I experience it in a much, much milder form than people who lived through active combat, my friends will attest to the fact that talking to me about the 2008 Democratic Presidential primary is still a rough topic. Sometimes these losses will give you a permanent hairline trigger on a rage and sadness that will take a lifetime to forget.


  1. DCBadger

    Well there are certainly tea leaves to read here and you already spelled them out….like so many other campaign.

    Politics are local and local politics matter. Hard work pays off. Not paying attention will hurt you.

    These are lessons everyone needs to keep in mind.

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