Monday, January 18, 2010

Massholes get a chance to vote for Obama a second time on Tuesday

No one thought it could end like this.  There were many scenarios for health reform’s demise.  But who could have imagined that, just as it looked like passage was inevitable, the fatal coup de grace would be dealt out of nowhere by the nation’s most liberal state—no less by replacing health reform’s most passionate advocate, who was felled by a brain tumor just months before realizing his life’s work, with a Republican?  It’s irony a Greek dramatist might have dreamed up.

But as the saying goes, sometimes life is stranger than fiction, and if recent polls are to be trusted, this ironic tragedy may well play out.  Incredibly, polls show a statistical dead heat in the Massachusetts Senate race between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown to replace the late Ted Kennedy—and Brown has the momentum.  If the unthinkable were to happen, and a Republican won Ted Kennedy’s seat, it would give Republicans 41 votes in the Senate—and with it, the power to doom health reform.  To all my friends in Massachusetts, we must not let this happen.  For once in the state’s recent history, YOUR VOTE MATTERS.

I know, I know, it’s painful to have to vote for such a clueless candidate as Coakley.  Just the other day she inexplicably dismissed Red Sox legend Curt Schilling as “another Yankees fan”—about as big a gaffe as possible in the heart of Red Sox Nation.  After last week’s Patriots disaster, voting for a sports-challenged Senator may be the last thing still-reeling Bay Staters want to get out and do. 

But let’s remember what’s at stake here.  As a friend from Worcester said, “A Coakley defeat would bring a whole new meaning to the term ‘Masshole.’”  (And if you don't like Coakley, do you really want this guy representing you?)

If Massachusetts fails to elect Coakley, it will mean that the only state with universal health care will have ruined the rest of the nation’s best shot at achieving the same dream.  It’s as close to an up/down vote on national health reform as any citizen will ever get.

If health care reform dies, financial regulation and climate legislation may not be far behind.  With 41 votes, Republicans would be able to block financial industry reform, dooming the US economy by further concentrating wealth in the hands of greedy bankers who sacrifice our long-term well-being for short-term bonuses (remember, not a single Republican voted for the modest reforms passed in December 2009).

Climate legislation—the most important legislation of our lifetimes—currently has some Republican support.  But if a Republican wins in the nation’s most liberal state, nervous purple-state Dems may interpret Coakley’s defeat as a sign that the party has moved too far left, and spook them into withdrawing support.  Remember, Scott Brown has admitted he is a climate change denier.  If cap-and-trade fails in the Senate, other countries will abandon their efforts to rein in their own CO2 emissions, dooming the world—and as a 24-year-old, my entire generation and our children—to centuries of unmitigated global warming and environmental disaster.

So there you have it.  Barack Obama campaigned on the promise to renew America by restoring four pillars of American society: our financial industry, health care, energy and climate change, and education.  Today, the Bay State holds in its power the ability to affirm or defeat three of those four great priorities that will determine whether our nation returns to hope and prosperity or enters into precipitous decline.

I've been pessimistic so far, but all is not yet lost.  Despite discouraging polls, there aren't that many of them, and unpredictable turnout in state elections makes polls notoriously unreliable.  And that is encouraging news, because it means you can do something about it: prove pessimistic predictions wrong by getting out and voting.  

Indeed, I'm predicting a Coakley victory, because I think the close election will turn Democrats out to vote (and there aren't that many Republicans in Mass, despite the excitement felt by the few who are there).  I've also got a hunch that many of the polled voters who say they'll vote for Brown will ultimately hesitate to pull the trigger for a Republican once in the voting booth.  It's possible that the campaign has left them with a feeling of Coakley as a terrible candidate, but that when they're actually staring at the D and the R on the ballot, their party identification will trump their views of the individual--remember, this is Massachusetts.  And most of all, I have to believe that the good guys will prevail.  Coakley will not fail because Obama must not fail.  BUT YOU HAVE TO VOTE!
If you live in Massachusetts, you’ve got a job to do today, and an opportunity.  In fact, I’m somewhat envious of you, because what you’ve got is a chance to vote for Barack Obama a second time.  A vote for Coakley is a vote for President Obama and his vital agenda.

Go vote for Martha Coakley for US Senate today.  Call other voters and remind them to get to the polls.  Because if you don’t, a Republican will win Ted Kennedy’s seat, dooming health reform and potentially President Obama’s entire agenda.  And trust me, that will be salt in the wounds of the Patriots’ playoff loss that will burn for far longer than Tom Brady is an NFL quarterback, and for a whole lot more of us across this country.

Forward this post to anyone you know in Massachusetts who needs to get out and vote for Martha Coakley.


  1. spread the word cuz, i think you've got some friends in Mass

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