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Vote for the Democrat... or the Democrats will become even less less-evil than they're preparing to be

vastleft's picture

Still making up my mind about what to do next Tuesday.

Digby's pitch isn't making it any easier to swallow my near-complete revulsion at my lifetime party and vote for Martha Coakley instead of abstaining.

I can only assume that Digby's "guarantee" is misworded:

Sadly, the lesson that will be taken from losing Ted Kennedy's seat to a right wing Republican is not that the Democrats have been too liberal, I guarantee it.

Anyway, the notion that 2009 was the Golden Age of Obama Liberalism isn't exactly the best rally 'round the donkey pitch I've ever heard.

In any case, I think we've probably seen the outer reaches of liberal governance in the Obama administration.

But, I guess that's the point. What makes us more sophisticated than the Republicans is that some of us know our party is serving us shit sausage, and brainiacs that we are, we contort our thinking to decide it's all hunky dory anyway. That's why we're the best and the brightest!

No votes yet


jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

to their base. I do respect the more reactionary folks on the right for commanding some of the attention of their party bigwigs, unlike the Democrats, who have been able to ignore their supposed constituents with almost no blowback from the 'activists' on the left.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... to abstain (or turn in an empty ballot) is a steady diet of creepy ads by Scott Brown, a classically Stepfordian Republican, mouthing the same generic quasi-libertarian rightwing bullshit.

I'm somewhat favorably inclined toward Coakley, but she's almost certain to be a team player with today's miserable, base-hating Dems.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

He is super creepy, and we're likely to have him for a long time, if he wins.

On the other hand, I absolutely cannot get over the about-face Coakley did on abortion in the health insurance bill. And I think that a big reason she's in trouble in the polls (if that's even true) is her pro-choice supporters sliding away, even no one's telling that story, or even speculating that it might be the case. Because oh no, right wing populism is so much more exciting!

But how can I carry on enabling the Democrats to spit all over me? I'm very tired of that. It's one thing to feel like what I do or care about doesn't have an effect for the better, but it's another to feel like I'm actually participating in the great screw-over of the country, including me and my family and friends. I'm leaning toward staying home based on a very visceral reaction: if Coakley didn't stand up for me, didn't even fake standing up for me until she was actually elected, why should I stand up for her?

Anyway, I hope you post what you decide, VL.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

Coakley's abrupt about face on reproductive rights marked her as a machine politician without principles. There's no chance she'll vote against the terrible bill now being prepared by the Leadership. So, you're right. A vote for her is a vote enabling the Democrats continuing screwing over of America. It's also a vote that will help to get this bill passed.

TaosJohn's picture
Submitted by TaosJohn on

I think if I were in MA, I'd abstain. To hell with the Democrats. That "health" bill has got to be defeated.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

Then don't fool around. Vote for the SOB Republican. Not only will the bill be defeated, but the Dems will face the fact that they need to pass legislation without 60 votes.

In fact, with at least 5 extreme blue dogs among them, they'll probably have to do it with 54 votes. But that's enough, if the get rid of the filibuster.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

I'm all for defeatiing the healthcare bill, but after that's done, Brown will be one more vote that will stand in the way of any movement on single payer or other real healthcare reform. Brown will be there for at least six years (given how protected incumbents are, maybe more). So that's one vote you aren't going to get on healthcare, even good healthcare, but are going to get for spying, torture, and war.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

Honestly. Have the Democrats stopped spying, torture and war? Have they offered real health care reform? Is single-payer on the table?

In what universe are the Republicans stopping the Democrats from doing anything, and in what universe do the Democrats ever stop the Republicans from doing anything?

Coakley is the reason I no longer think that electing women is the answer at this point. Her reversal on the Health Whatever bill was completely unacceptable. If she is elected, she will simply follow the evil ways of the current Administration. Before we can focus on electing women, we have got to shake up the Democratic Party and shake it up HARD, so that real liberals will have a chance to be themselves, and not be assimilated into the Oborg.

I ask, in all seriousness, when you think real liberal legislation is going to be offered. In what vision of the future, within six years, will this happen?

I can't see it.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

There will be no progress if we can't get the Dems to do something else apart from what they're doing now. If you vote for Coakley, it makes it easier for them to keep doing the same things, which is worse than nothing from a progressive point of view. I think there's no choice. If you won't do all you can do beat them; you're endorsing what they're doing. Only our saying "no," can possibly get them to start saying "yes."

Submitted by lambert on

... a vote for the R is probably the best way.

One alternative would be to put a big box marked "No Confidence" up on Boston Common, and drop your ballot into it, while being filmed (of course). Useful for November.

If Coakely hadn't grotesquely flip-flopped on Stupak, I might be more enthusiastic about her from a 30% perspective, but so much for that.

As for Digby, "lesson learned" by whom?

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

Undervotes are quantifiable. Not turning in a ballot is significant, but is easily blown off since there are any number of reasons for not votiing (laziness, out of town, recently moved, etc.)

In 2008, I learned that "none of the above" was a perfectly acceptable way to vote.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

That's the one reason I would give for voting for Coakley (well, that and the 30% solution thing on women's issues). Coakley sued the Feds over DOMA and I think could be counted on to vote to overturn it in the Senate.

I don't think killing healthcare is enough to vote for Brown, who will do everything to ensure not only that the current healthcare bill dies, but also that nothing better ever replaces it. It's that latter part that's the problem.

mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

one could hope for in a Senator. Frankly, I was not at all swayed by Mike Capuano, and think Coakley was easily the best of the primary candidates. The notion of abstaining as to not vote for Coakley seems utterly absurd to me. If we take that line of reasoning to it's logical end, we could all abstain in every election and then just have 100 of the rightest wing Republicans in the Senate, a far right President, and a rightwing House. Coakley, should she win, will easily be one of the most leftwing of the 100 US Senators. It's not as though you are being asked to vote for the likes of Ben Nelson for crissakes. And, finally, we need more Democratic women in the US Senate, and Coakley will easily fit to the Left of perhaps every female US Senator barring at most Boxer. Frankly, I find no compelling argument for abstaining from this election.

S Brennan's picture
Submitted by S Brennan on

I can't see myself voting for Scott Brown, but I can see myself voting against Martha Coakley to put a knife to the collective throat of Democrats Obama/Reid/Pelosi.

If Scott Brown defeats Martha Coakley, the Democrats will realize they are under threat. They will realize being the right wing party with a pretty smile isn't going to work for them.

The down side is pretty limited. If all the Dems could achieve with complete control of both houses and the presidency in 2009 is the pile of shit they produced, her loss won't change any current dynamic except to put the fear of electoral death into Obama/Reid/Pelosi.

Reading the convoluted rationalizations from Democrats, Obama/Reid/Pelosi are right to treat the "left" [in the USA] with disdain.

Submitted by hipparchia on

the problem with the democratic party is that when a democrat loses to a republican in a situation like this, the dems think it's because their candidate was too far left and so we get more blue dogs and blue dog wannabes. it never occurs to them that dem voters stay home and repub voters come out in droves.

alternate interpretation: the democratic party leaders themselves are right-leaning and LIKE it when the voters help them spread the lie that given democratic candidates are too lefty.

S Brennan's picture
Submitted by S Brennan on


What they say they think..and what they actually think are to different things.

"the problem with the democratic party is that when a democrat loses to a republican in a situation like this, the dems think it's because their candidate was too far left"

Truman was far more accurate when he said "given a choice between two Republicans, the voter will always vote Republican". At what point will it occur...that "dems think it's because their candidate was too far left" is a convenient lie? If you accept this obvious lie, it's game set & match, you are powerless to a lie.

BTW, the "left" in the USA is the right center to extreme right in Europe, so the line "dems think it's because their candidate was too far left" should be laughed at and the person speaking scorned whenever it's trotted out.

Not that I am directing this against you Hipparchia.

Submitted by hipparchia on

truman, yeah! he was one smart cookie.

the 'center' in the us is right if you're talking about the politicians, but actual people are much further left.

i don't mean to argue that we have to keep voting for the 2% less evil, just that getting more republicans elected doesn't 'teach the democrats a lesson'. now if you're trying to hasten the downfall of the current sclerotic versailles, then yes, electing more republicans should do it.

not that i want to live through that though i've considered voting republican for that reason. my proposed solution: ordinary people need to run for office, every office, especially real lefties, preferably as bernie sanders type independents.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

Hi hipparchia, you say:

"i don't mean to argue that we have to keep voting for the 2% less evil, just that getting more republicans elected doesn't 'teach the democrats a lesson'."

Maybe so, but it does tell them that they've got a problem, since the public doesn't like what they've done. What people don't like exactly, is up to them to find out, and there's no guarantee they'll learn the right lesson. They lost in '94, but it didn't teach them the right lesson about health care reform, namely that "it's Medicare for All, stupid." Instead they learned, "the President should let Congress develop the reform bill."

Now if they lose in Massachusetts, and later on, elsewhere, they may again learn the wrong lesson. But they may also learn the right one. In any event, however, I think politicians learn the right thing after they get negative feedback from the public. Unless they get that feedback, they can't possibly learn.

So, give them that feedback with Coakley. It's relatively low cost to do it, and it may save us the trouble of having to send them much more costly feedback this Fall.

Submitted by hipparchia on

the feedback they don't want, which is the feedback that they really need, is the rioting in the streets variety.

the no drama obama meme was only partially about hillary clinton's 'polarizing effect' on the nation, the rest of it was about avoiding the 'drama' of the of the 60s [with some intergenerational resentment thrown in]. all those antiwar demonstrations and love-ins and woodstock are just so last generation.

the democratic party has for some time now been happy for the lefties to just sit at home, or to go out and vote, anything to keep them from demanding stuff be done to make the lives of actual people better.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

when Obama said he was no longer going to fight the battles of the '60's.

My thought was, "But we haven't WON yet."

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

My view is pretty much the opposite of yours. Pelosi was supposed to be a liberal, but look what happened.

Sure, the leadership might say that the candidate lost because they are too lefty, when that is not the case. But using that possible threat to continuously elect candidates that further entrench the legacy parties is exactly why we are where we are. I was of that view several years ago. I used to believe it was fine to vote for whomever was the Dem because once they had a majority, theyd be able to get stuff done. I invested more of my life to the Dems from 2003-2006--even ones I wasn't excited about--that most people I ever encounter. Of course that was not the case, not even with supermajorities.

I am unmoved by intellectual blackmail that says voting "less evil" is the only option. I felt that way about Obama--didn't vote for him--and I feel the same now. After all the time I spent jumping head first into the Democratic Party (I was a caucus chair for the national CDA for a time, not to mention countless other orgs), I realized that "less evil" is a tactic that both sides are using to continue the same shit. I no longer accept the rules of the Village/legacy parties. The logic you mention is no different, to me, than 11-D chess. Just like Neo in the Matrix, if you learn that the rules of the Matrix are not set in stone, you can empower yourself. Its not easy, but you can never escape if you play by the rules that prevent you from what they want to prevent you from.

S Brennan's picture
Submitted by S Brennan on

Why is your mistake on Pelosi related to my post? I don't get the reationship???

"My view is pretty much the opposite of yours. Pelosi was supposed to be a liberal, but look what happened."

And then the rest of tour post seems to support my I haven't a clue. You seem to be arguing with somebody else.

So rather than say something like this "The logic you mention is no different, to me, than 11-D chess.", why not try this:

Brennan you say this "quotation here " and I think this is wrong because of [insert factual data here].

Submitted by hipparchia on

i'm supportive of liberals who want to try to retake the democratic party.

for a long time i thought third parties were the way to go, especially as the greens seemed to be growing in influence.

my present theory is that diluting the legacy parties power is more likely to happen via electing more independents like bernie sanders.

i don't really know what's in the minds of the dem party leaders, but the observable result since i registered to vote 3 decades ago [just in time to vote against reagan] is that the lesson that democrats appear to learn is to move to the right.

my take on this, and it's mostly anecdotal, is that the dem part moved right because moderate republicans left that party and migrated to the only other one available. add to that the likelihood that obama, in order to have any political chances at all in chicago, had to join the dem machine there.

dblhelix's picture
Submitted by dblhelix on

I would probably vote for the 3rd party candidate, Joe Kennedy (no relation, as was repeatedly pointed out on screen), an anti-war candidate in a libertarian wrapper. His 'stop spending' message was focused on ceasing all of our war activity, when will we hear that again? Right now, Obama is requesting more war funding plus a DOD budget that breaks out to about 750 bill for the year ... compare to health insurance reform over 10 years and the necessity of cutting down on "too much care."

Despite how she's been panned, I liked Coakley's debate presentation, esp her unruffled demeanor while nixing entitlement reform. That being said, I think she could turn on a dime. She would not get my vote, and here's why:

1. Turning to the health lobby at the first sign of trouble. She's their vote, not ours.

2. First sign of trouble and her team whips out a 'rape victim' ad, along w/ Rush and all the other levers they think they can push. They're on to Palin and Bush now. Nothing on issues, no attempt to reach the voter, except by manipulation.

3. Her lack of response to "1/2 trillion in Medicare cuts."

4. Dem arrogance

5. Brown is not the 41st vote. They will pass this monstrosity by hook or by crook, but let people see the final machinations.

6. Krugman has been beating us senseless with "MA loves RomneyCare." Just deserts, b/c no matter what the underlying reasons for a Coakley loss, they'll have to retire that meme.

The most important reason -- She is trying to make hay of Brown's sponsoring an conscience clause amendment, but she's the 60th vote for strengthening conscience clause laws in the health bill (the Stupak compromise). This rank hypocricy cannot stand.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

suggest she's worth it for our community. given how weak the administration has been on LGBT issues, one more strong voice for us in the Senate wouldn't suck.

that said, i'm not in MA and i guess i can't muster much enthusiasm for this race. after all, the dem establishment had a wealth of people to choose from, and support, and encourage lively debate during the primaries, but of course it didn't. she's a machine candidate of the old school, and if people in MA want to vote for 3rd party or turn in a blank ballot, i'm ok with that too.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

If you want to vote for Coakley, fine. But don't do it based on the rules of the legacy parties. And keep in mind, legacy parties include almost every single Village-entrenched "advocacy" group around.

In '08 I voted for one Dem candidate, and she was a teacher running for state leg. She was compelling enough for me to vote for, enough to overcome my current revulsion for the legacy parties.

Submitted by lambert on
.... this post reminds me of a discussion I overheard today in the local coffee shop: A nurse was against a strike because she wanted to take care of the patients. To which the counter-argument is that a strong nurses union is one of the few institututions capable of standing up for the patients, so why weaken it? Here, the patient to be taken care of is whatever needs to be protected from an R getting in. However, without stronger institutions to take care of all patients, neither D nor R makes all that much difference -- single payer is an impossible impossible with the Rs, but an extremely improbable possible with the Ds, and so on down the line. We will never get out of the 2% less evil trap unless we stop investing in the parties that put us into that trap. So I'm with gqm -- make sure that your vote gets counted and vote for neither. "The way out is the door."

Kick Baucus to the curb's picture
Submitted by Kick Baucus to ... on

After reading the link below, my mind is made up. I would more than not vote; I would be willing to vote Republican because there is no excuse for the Democratic Party coming up with reform this bad.

loopholes include:

Insurers can charge over twice as much to those who don't meet employer-insurer oversight on employer-insurer oversight metrics such as blood pressure, cholesterol, or any other condition these folks in your doctor's office with you think would be unprofitable for them.

Insurers can charge 4X more for age or pre-existing conditions.

And the mother of all betrayals, one of the biggest reasons this reform got started in the first place, "Insurers may continue to rescind policies for 'fraud or intentional misrepresentation' - the main pretext insurance companies now use to cancel coverage."

More at

All this and mandated insurance, too? At this point I could vote for Satan before I'd vote for a Democrat. There is NO excuse for this kind of betrayal. People's lives are at stake, the quality of life, too. And this betrayal leaves no doubt in my mind that the only lesson for the Democrats is that we are watching and we will fight back.

TaosJohn's picture
Submitted by TaosJohn on

The only choices are NOT limited to slogging away inside the system or picking up a musket, and I'm very disappointed she didn't resist the temptation to delineate reality. That's the most depressing bullshit I've read in a long time.

However, if one wants the government to do this or that, as I have been for as long as I can remember (until now), then one is stuck. We are meant for greater business.

usrbs's picture
Submitted by usrbs on

I wouldn't be able to stand seeing Scott Brown for the next decade(s) incumbency would provide.

I'll vote for her but I've stopped campaigning and of course she's not getting a penny of my money. They're running scared though - I must be getting at least 3 or 4 entreaties a day, by email or by recorded or live phone calls.

Submitted by Anne on

Democrats lose, the lesson they seem to take from it is that they need to be more like Republicans in order to win - they never, ever seem to consider the possibility that being more liberal would be the way to go.

Sure, in the blood-red states, Dems have had to be more like Republicans to win, and what has it gotten us? Not a whole lot, as near as I can tell. Well, except a big ol' bloc of conservatives with (D)s after their names, who now hold hostage every piece of legislation until they get what they want - and the rest of the caucus lets them do it.

Wish I knew when it was that leadership dropped out of the equation - you know, that thing people do to convince others that their ideas are the best ones?

The whole situation is just - well, pick a negative adjective of your choice.

michaelwb's picture
Submitted by michaelwb on

Democrats lose, the lesson they seem to take from it is that they need to be more like Republicans in order to win - they never, ever seem to consider the possibility that being more liberal would be the way to go.

It's amazing how alike the Legacy Parties are on that front isn't it? The solution to losing always seems to be to run to the right for both of them. Never run to the left.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

My take:

Because no one has defended the "liberal" brand.

Whatever Dems do -- no matter how conservative -- is considered to be the outer reaches of liberalism. If anything goes wrong, they retrench from yesterday's demarcation of the lefty fringe, heading ever rightward. That, in turn, leads to more fail. Rinse, repeat, etc.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

I think a Dem loss in a blue state like Mass would really shake up the Dem leadership.

It may even get them looking in the right direction(left) as for the reason why. A Dem loss in my home state of Kentucky they would probably shrug off, and send a more center-right Dem to run AGAIN, but Mass is different, IMO.

michaelwb's picture
Submitted by michaelwb on

Depends on which Dem Leadership you mean.

We had the Democrats lose the Governorship to the Republicans and other than lip service the party here didn't change all that much.

And regaining the Governorship didn't exactly improve the quality of the leadership either.

On another note.

I always think that the fact that we have a Democratic Governor and super-majorities in the Legislature (Dems are 88% of the Senate and 90 % of the house, yet we still struggle with the many of the same issues folks nationally complain about as being the "fault of those Republicans - if only we had even more Democrats in office" just illustrates that having Dems in power alone is no where near enough.

Despite some folks claims to the contrary.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

is that it makes party identification basically meaningless. In order to get elected in a State (or City) dominated by one party, you basically have to be a member of that party. As a result, virtually every ambitious pol joins the party and so you end up with the same ideological spectrum, just all in one party. With the big bonus being that, in my experience, these kinds of one-party state systems usually are even more corrupt than the usual politics in America because there is no competition for the corporate money.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

A Dem loss would shake up the Village Media outlets.

In their determined narrative, MA is the bluest of the blue, most left leaning state.