If you're in Massachusetts, there's a special election for U.S. Senate tomorrow, and it's much closer than it should be--the Republican Scott Brown (who is horrid--who votes to eliminate tax breaks and aid for 9/11 emergency responders?) might actually win. There are several reasons why I'm voting for Coakley*:
1) Republicans hate science. Massachusetts received $2.25 billion in NIH funding alone in 2008 and another $400 million from NSF. That's equivalent to ten percent of the MA state budget. As someone who works for USDA once told me, "Republicans cut my budget, Democrats increase it." You like science funding, vote Coakley.
2) She hasn't screwed up being a senator yet. I'm seriously considering writing letters to my congressional delegation and others (which hopefully will include Coakley) in February, laying out what they have to do to get me to vote for them--the default for me at this point is not voting. I have no leverage if Brown wins.
3) In the primary, she was responsive to the Democratic rank-and-file. Has she run a horrible general campaign? You betcha. But she was pretty good in the primary. Unlike Capuano, she intuitively made the right moves, and rewarded the rank-and-file. We have to reward good behavior.
4) She's good on the issues, particularly women's health and rights, as well as cleaning up Wall Street. Is this 'pandering'? Probably. But who cares? For once, a Democrat is pandering to Democrats, instead of rewarding the other guy.
Brown is horrid--do we really need another ideologically crazed movement conservative blow-dried haircut? So vote Coakley, even if she did run a horrible campaign.
*Actually, since I'm traveling, I've already voted absentee.
My suspicion is that Coakley will win handily. Reasons for the media polls/buzz being that it is ZOMFGCLOSE are as follows:
(1) Coddled rich media scumbags have multiple orgasms when Democrats "get their comeuppance", and every single fucking bit of their narrative efforts anticipate total splooge all over the fucking place.
(2) Normal human beings--i.e., non-wingnut-fuck-ups--would rather stab their eyes out with a hot poker than spend time on the phone answering the questions of some sleazeball polling operation.
Coakley, it should also be pointed out, helped defend and perpetuate a massive miscarriage of justice by backing "ritual abuse" convictions obtained by her predecessor as DA. Either she believes in woo like "recovered memory" nonsense, or she has a very scary vision of what constitutes justice:
Yeah, I suppose if you really want to get down to it, it's like choosing between a shit sandwich and a bowl of warm sewage soup. At this point, I think even Coakley's most lukewarm supporters are seeing her as more of a warm body to make sure health care gets passed than anything else. In other words, under the circumstances, she's about the best we're going to get, though given what the general election has turned into, I'm sort of glad I voted for Khazei in the primary. He didn't have a snowball's chance in hell, and Coakley looked like a sure thing, but I don't regret it.
1) I'll give you this one. (Most) Democrats seem to support funding for fundamental scientific research to a larger extent than (most) Republicans. Although, I'd be interested to see a detailed analysis of voting records in Congress to confirm that.
2) "She hasn't screwed up being a senator yet."
Well, she hasn't been a senator yet. What she has been is a district attorney and Mass. Attorney General, and Orac pointed out how 'great' she was at that.
3)"In the primary, she was responsive to the Democratic rank-and-file."
How much of the state is 'Democratic rank-and-file'? Most articles I've read put Democratic Party registration at under 40% of registered voters. I can understand if you consider that a plus, if that's how you identify yourself. But unless you expect a bunch of independents to just go along with what the Democratic rank-and-file want, then she'll need to respond to a lot more of the public than that.
4)"She's good on the issues, particularly women's health and rights, as well as cleaning up Wall Street. Is this 'pandering'? Probably. But who cares? For once, a Democrat is pandering to Democrats, instead of rewarding the other guy."
I'll admit, that not living in Massachusetts, I don't know either candidate well. Just going by his website, Brown doesn't strike me as a typical pro-life type, in that he has a vaguely worded statement about abortion being a conversation between a woman and her doctor. Yes, he's against partial birth abortion and for adoption and parental notification, but those aren't nearly as much of fringe opinions among independents as you might think.
As for Wall Street, will she also go after Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae? Those firms might end up costing taxpayers more than the entire TARP program. (Of which, some banks have been paying the loans back, correct? Will the same be true of those two?)
How far is far enough that you'll draw the line though? Coakley's conduct in the Arimault case goes beyond simple political disagreement - it kept an innocent man in jail when Coakley had no reasonable basis for persisting that he was guilty.
And why, if Democrats are willing to look the other way about this to get another vote in the Senate when they already have a majority, should I ever trust them any more than Republicans on the rights of the accused?
Matt: Do you have any reason to think Scott Brown would be better?
(For whatever it's worth, I voted for Capuano in the primary, and I don't think this race would be close at all if he'd won. Coakley's campaign seems to have fucked up the general pretty severely, even ignoring anything else about her.)