Martha Coakley: Too Big a Risk for Senator

At Politico, Radley Balko summarizes Martha Coakley's prosecutorial over-reaching during her career and the threat she poses to those who care about criminal justice reform.

As a member of the Senate, not only would Coakley be creating new federal criminal laws; given her record as a prosecutor, there’s a good chance she’d serve on committees with oversight over the Justice Department and the judiciary. She’d also be casting votes to confirm or deny federal judicial appointments. Advocates for criminal justice reform should be wary. Coakley may share Kennedy’s opposition to the death penalty, but her record as a prosecutor leaves plenty of doubt about her commitment to justice.

I hope if you live in Massachussetts, you don't vote for Martha Coakley. My prior posts on why she should not be Senator are here and here.

(Comments at 200, thread now closed.)

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    As much as I understand your concerns (5.00 / 8) (#1)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:25:23 AM EST
    I don't see how helping elect a pro-death penalty, anti-gay marriage, pro-torture guy like Brown would help, I mean American Democracy is essentially a binary system you have one of two choices.

    you also have a conscience (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:29:51 AM EST
    and sometimes that means you sit an election out. I've never suggested voting for Brown.

    If you have a conscience (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:27:38 AM EST
    you will not choose this election to register a protest vote that will universally be read as one of indifference.  Brown has a chance to actually win this thing if Dem. voters stay home and no other way.

    Brown is an unusually loathesome character and Coakley is superb on almost every issue.


    I second gyrfalcon (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by christinep on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:38:10 AM EST
    For goodness sakes, Jeralyn, what has gotten into you!?! The coffee just got released from my mouth in disbelief. Look--we all have our favorite issues. But, please, this is much bigger than that (as they often say, but here it really is.) I'm sputtering. And, for some reason, all I can think about are adages and old colloquialisms: "Don't burn down the barn to kill the rat" and "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." Overused, trite, all that...maybe. But, the reason they were so often said in one form or another is as a common-sense caution about not going overboard to get at something that really gets you. Think of the total ramifications that such attitude lets loose. (And, finally, my guess is that I should be really careful in view of my close to thirty years on the federal prosecution side of the aisle.)

    Obama (5.00 / 4) (#6)
    by lentinel on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 04:26:21 AM EST
    is also pro-death penalty and anti-gay marriage. Yet many liberals urged his election. I think he is not for torture, but he still allows "rendition" - and still permits GItmo to go on.
    God only knows what happens to people who are "rendered"....

    If we follow Jeralyn's message of conscience, which I support, we'll be doing quite a bit of sitting out of forthcoming elections.


    Don't forget... (5.00 / 6) (#11)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 07:51:22 AM EST
    as much as the media and the 2 party duopoly would like us to pay no mind, there is usually another option than a Repub or a lousy Dem...in this case Joe Kennedy.

    That's probably who I would pull the lever for if I lived in Mass...I am convinced the Washington DC situation will not improve until we break the 2 party stranglehold.


    Joe Kennedy? (none / 0) (#88)
    by lentinel on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:04:25 AM EST
    I'll look it up.. but what is he doing? Is he running as an independent?

    Thanks for the info.


    Not the same guy (5.00 / 3) (#91)
    by Steve M on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:06:45 AM EST
    Just a libertarian candidate no one knows anything about.  Apparently by voting for him we can "send a message" that we're the type of people who more or less cast our votes at random.

    Is it any different... (5.00 / 3) (#111)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:48:01 AM EST
    than what most everybody else does?  Voting against a certain candidate(s), and not really voting for anybody?

    Joe Kennedy (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by CST on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:08:46 AM EST
    No relation to the other Kennedys is running as the "tea party candidate".

    Among other things, he wants to eliminate the federal department of education and welfare.

    Not to be confused with a liberal.


    Or a prosecutor!...n/t:) (none / 0) (#109)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:44:46 AM EST
    I'm not a prosecutor hater (5.00 / 2) (#114)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:50:35 AM EST
    But this woman's history of trying to frame up the innocent is more than a little troubling.

    Now kdog (none / 0) (#116)
    by CoralGables on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:56:18 AM EST
    if we aren't voting for a prosecutor because all they do is attempt to put people in cages, shouldn't we equally never vote for a defense attorney because all they do is try to turn murderers and rapists back onto the street?

    I'm well aware of my prejudices... (none / 0) (#119)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:02:30 PM EST
    workin' on 'em...to little success:)

    Former prosecutors appear to heavily outnumber former defenders in the history of the senate...how 'bout some change an anti-state knucklehead can believe in?


    How did MA get stuck with this (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by BrassTacks on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:27:37 AM EST
    Terrible candidate?  It's good that I don't live in MA because I could not support this candidate.  

    I believe your position on this matter is (5.00 / 7) (#4)
    by tigercourse on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:10:53 AM EST
    very silly. Coakley might not be ideal, but she is hardly the terrible, no good, very bad person you continue to paint her as.

    There's a chance I'm gonna be stuck with Harold freaking Ford as my Senator. Coakley is better by a huuuuuggggggggeeeeeee degree.

    Agreed ... (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by Erehwon on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:18:16 PM EST
    Coakley is infinitely better than Ford. Ford takes a copter ride from Manhattan to Staten Island and claims he's been to Staten Island. Says he takes the subway only occasionally in the winter, to avoid the cold when he cannot hail a cab. Read the NY Times "hatchet job" for the rest. Even Al D'Amato would be better. Heck, I can't believe I wrote that about D'Amato!

    A bonus (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by lentinel on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 04:21:33 AM EST
    by not electing Coakley is that Brown will vote against the horror that is being sold to us as "healthcare reform".

    Massachusetts voters can throw him out later.
    For now, we need his vote in the "no" column so we can start over and do this correctly.

    What does correctly mean? (5.00 / 2) (#120)
    by christinep on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:04:49 PM EST
    Do you realize, Lentinel, that "doing this thing over" ain't gonna happen if it is defeated in its present form. Look at the history of attempts at healthcare reform: If you want the whole thing, you'll probably get nothing (per the late Sen. Kennedy's own commentary on his refusal to settle or compromise on health care legislation in the 1970s--he said it was the political act he regretted most because he ended up with nothing, and it was another generation before it came around again.)

    I'm not so sure of that (none / 0) (#192)
    by cal1942 on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:45:17 PM EST
    When health care access reform has come to the fore in the past a higher percentage of Americans were covered by good employer provided plans.  Additionally employment was far more stable than today. A much higher percentage of people were able to stay with a given employer for an entire career.

    That level of stability is gone and it would seem to me that even if this attempt fails, the issue won't go away and won't go underground for twenty years.

    Whether this bill passes or fails what's needed is a vigorous, in for the long haul, single-payer movement.


    Not necessarily (none / 0) (#7)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 06:14:37 AM EST
    Depending on when the vote is, the Dems could get it through before he takes office.  The MA Secretary of State will have wait 10 days after the election to certify (for absentee and military ballots).  The Dems could push it through before that if they think they will lose a vote.

    The Dems are ready for that (none / 0) (#29)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:51:42 AM EST
    and are pushing yet another change in the state legislation on interim appointments, from some story I saw -- pulling a Burris delay to keep the interim in place somehow.  Frankly, this ongoing debate about changing the interim appointment process in Massachusetts makes it look like a state that has been in stasis too long, always counting on another interchangeable Kennedy to keep the Dems and the public from having to work too hard to vote.

    It is true that she would serve (5.00 / 10) (#8)
    by andgarden on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 06:38:04 AM EST
    in all of those capacities. However, I would guess that she will turn out to be much stronger on the issues you identify than you fear. She will be a liberal Democrat from Massachusetts, and that means something.

    So I must disagree. If I were a Massachusetts voter, I would not hesitate to vote for Coakley on Tuesday. God knows I have held my nose far too often for far worse Democrats.  

    Liberal Democrat (none / 0) (#16)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:16:16 AM EST
    She already caved her own position on HCR to be a good little D and said she will vote for this travesty of a bill. Why would anyone just trust her to be a solid liberal on other issues. She'd be going in the MOST junior member of the Senate, and won't be able to flex too much muscle.

    From what I've seen of her over the years, she's an aggressive prosecutor. I'm amazed she aligns with liberals.


    Why? (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:18:43 AM EST
    Because liberals can't believe in the rule of law? We can't believe that people who commit crimes should suffer the consequences of those crimes?

    Aggressive prosecution (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Munibond on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:40:43 AM EST
    I think the liberal position is that the protections supposedly provided by our system of justice for those charged with crimes (and who are to be presumed innocent) are worth the price of some guilty persons going unpunished.  Coakley's record would suggest that her aggressive tactics may have resulted in convictions of the innocent.

    Ahhh, see that is a very very (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:42:00 AM EST
    big concern for me right there.

    Google the Amirault daycare trial (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:03:54 AM EST
    The allegations against the Amiraults were preposterous on their face. Children made claims of robots abusing them, a "bad clown" who took the children to a "magic room" for sex play, rape with a 2-foot butcher knife, other acts of sodomy with a "magic wand," naked children tied to trees within view of a highway, and -- standard fare in the child abuse hysteria era -- animal sacrifices.

    There was not one shred of physical evidence to support the allegations -- no mutilated animals, no magic rooms, no butcher knives, no photographs, no physical signs of any abuse on the children.

    Not one parent noticed so much as unusual behavior in their children -- until after the molestation hysteria began.


    It's one thing to put a person in prison for a crime he didn't commit. It's another to put an entire family in prison for a crime that didn't take place.

    In the most outrageous miscarriage of justice since the Salem witch trials, in July 1986, Gerald Amirault was convicted of raping and assaulting six girls and three boys and sentenced to 30 to 40 years in prison. The following year, Violet and Cheryl Amirault were convicted of raping and assaulting three girls and a boy and were sentenced to 8 to 20 years.


    In July 2001, the notoriously tough Massachusetts parole board voted unanimously to grant Gerald Amirault clemency. Although the parole board is not permitted to consider guilt or innocence, its recommendation said: "(I)t is clearly a matter of public knowledge that, at the minimum, real and substantial doubt exists concerning petitioner's conviction."

    Immediately after the board's recommendation, The Boston Globe reported that Gov. Jane Swift was leaning toward accepting the board's recommendation and freeing Amirault.

    Enter Martha Coakley, Middlesex district attorney. Gerald Amirault had already spent 15 years in prison for crimes he no more committed than anyone reading this column did. But Coakley put on a full court press to keep Amirault in prison simply to further her political ambitions.

    By then, every sentient person knew that Amirault was innocent. But instead of saying nothing, Coakley frantically lobbied Gov. Jane Swift to keep him in prison to show that she was a take-no-prisoners prosecutor, who stood up for "the children." As a result of Coakley's efforts -- and her contagious ambition -- Gov. Swift denied Amirault's clemency.

    Thanks to Martha Coakley, Gerald Amirault sat in prison for another three years.

    Wow, horrifying (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:11:03 AM EST
    That's her? How can Dems reward her (5.00 / 2) (#110)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:47:25 AM EST
    for that case, the babysitter case, and others -- how can the party reward her as its candidate?

    I am even more appalled by the state of the Dem party if this is the result in that state, too.  If even Massachusetts cannot do better, than it is worse than I knew from what I see in my state.


    Well (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:59:58 AM EST
    I guess it depends on what your definition of "agressive prosecution" is. Me, I want tough prosecutors to do their jobs and go after criminals.  Do some prosecutors get overzealous on individual cases?  Sure, and they should be dealt with individually, but for that small group of prosecutors, I could show you the same nunber of sleazy defense attorneys who allegedly stand up for "innocent" people, when all they really do is grandstand and make a mockery of the system.  Should we judge all defense attorneys by those folks and protest that they hurt society by getting crooks off to roam the streets and make us all unsafer? No.

    I know many around here are concerned about the drug laws.  I support legalization, but it really isn't that big a deal for me - in my priorities, it's about 147 down the list of what we need to do in this country.   Look, prosecutors are hired to represent The People. The people in state X, have decided through their legislatures, that they want activity Y to be illegal.  So just because you personally don't like the fact that Y is illegal, you want prosecutors to refuse to charge people with Y?


    Prosecutors represent the people? (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Munibond on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:04:14 AM EST
    Technically true, but they really represent the heavy hand of government, and the rights of the people are protected by the criminal bar, as sleazy as you may think them to be.  Misconduct by prosecutors and police, who have many more resources at their disposal than criminal defense lawyers, is a serious concern to me as a liberal.

    Prosecutors... (5.00 / 1) (#152)
    by NealB on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:36:43 PM EST
    ...like all officers of the court are obligated to go after justice, not criminals. When you say you believe prosecutors should go after criminals, you admit that prejudice.

    Yeah, well, Eric Holder was a really (none / 0) (#41)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:28:21 AM EST
    big law 'n order guy until he wasn't where it came to countless issues with respect to how the Bush Administration conducted themselves.  But he'll go after some poor pot smoker with a vengence.

    And just so you know, because you clearly do not based on your comment, prosecutors hold all of the cards in our criminal justice system.  Whether or not they manage their power in a fair and just fashion is an important measure of their character.  If they are really representing the people and not engaging in petty, vindictive games, they will pursue outcomes on behalf of society that are fair and just.  Sending someone to prison who is innocent isn't just a problem for the person who is convicted.  It is a problem for all of us, especially where violent crimes are concerned.  An innocent person in jail means that a guilty and potentially dangerous person isn't.

    I don't know enough about Coakley specifically to judge her, but as a rule, I do not like people in government who abuse the public trust by overreaching with their power.


    Yeah (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:43:19 AM EST
    Johnnie Cochran was really an advocate for truly innocents too.

    (Thanks for that tip about "prosecutors holding all the cards" - I missed that day in law school, apparently, but yet they still let me graduate).

    I get that this is a criminal defense blog, but I think some here have a very skewed perspective of what really goes on.  We only hear about the big cases where someone made a mistake.  But really, every day across this country, good prosecutors send guilty people to jail.  And these hordes of "innocent" people you think are being railroaded - really?  What's the number?  how many truly innocent people are sitting in our jails right now?

    Yes, it is a problem when an innocent person is sent to jail, but it's amazing how many here seem to think that a majority or supermajority of people are wrongly in jail. But I will bet you all the money I have against all the money you have that if you can get a criminal defense attorney to be conmpletely honest with you, they too, will say that 99-3/4 of their clients are guilty.

    And in case you didn't realize - those prosecutors who are sending all these innocent people to jail, are in most cases, being aided and abetted by 12 members of a jury. It's not easy to get 12 people to agree on a lunch order -you think it's easy to get 12 people to agree on a verdict?  Oh, and there's also a judge - who, apparently is also aiding and abetting these ruthless prosecutors in their evil quest to lock up innocents across the countryside.  


    Of course the majority are innocent. (none / 0) (#153)
    by NealB on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:44:05 PM EST
    Perhaps not legally innocent, but the law in this country has led to the incarceration of 1% of the nation's citizens. Way too many in jail are there for victimless crimes, violations of laws that encode the irrational fears of an ignorant, but somehow powerful minority.

    Hundreds of thousands convicted should never have been suspects, much less arrested and tried. Of course the majority of "criminals" are innocent; that has always been true.


    What, then? (5.00 / 1) (#155)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:55:36 PM EST
    Morally innocent?  

    Sorry - no, the majority of people in our jails are not innocent.  Only in fantasy land.


    Have commited crimes that offend only the ignorant (none / 0) (#163)
    by NealB on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 02:21:22 PM EST
    Actually innocent.

    What does your comment (5.00 / 1) (#194)
    by cal1942 on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:06:05 PM EST
    have to do with big bad prosecutors.

    Perhaps not legally innocent, but the law in this country has led to the incarceration of 1% of the nation's citizens. Way too many in jail are there for victimless crimes, violations of laws that encode the irrational fears of an ignorant, but somehow powerful minority.

    Your complaint is about the law not prosecutors.  

    Liberals expect that prosecutors will uphold the law.  None of us are terribly happy that Bush & co. were not investigated and prosecuted.

    No county or district prosecutor can summarily ignore violations of the law.

    Inasmuch as your statement about "the irrational fears of an ignorant ... minority" is concerned I would like to point out that the various statutes that have overlaoded our prisons were supported by the majority of the people not the minority.

    Is hard time foolish and counterproductive for some offenses?  Sure they're foolish and counterproductive.  Your quarrel is with the media, the general population and the legislatures that pass these laws not the prosecutors who are elected and sworn to implement the law.


    Documentation?? (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by jeniferea on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:19:55 AM EST
    Coakley's record would suggest that her aggressive tactics may have resulted in convictions of the innocent.

    This is a very serious accusation.  Do you have names, cases, or evidence that this statement is credible?


    Documentation (none / 0) (#52)
    by Munibond on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:58:59 AM EST
    My comment was based on the Politico article that Jeralyn linked in her post.

    Well, (none / 0) (#195)
    by cal1942 on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:12:12 PM EST
    if it's from Politico then it must be so.

    Nope (none / 0) (#21)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:30:05 AM EST

    Who does she typically go after (none / 0) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:41:09 AM EST
    I.G.  Is she about any sort of social justice?

    She started the case (5.00 / 3) (#39)
    by CST on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:22:48 AM EST
    to take on DOMA.

    She sued the Feds (5.00 / 6) (#51)
    by BDB on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:54:17 AM EST
    to overturn DOMA.  She also has done a lot on women's issues.  And she's anti-death penalty, which is something we need more of in the Senate, IMO.

    She's not perfect, but she's much better than, say, Joe Biden, someone Jeralyn endorsed because his opponent was seen as so much worse (an understandable position, but one that seems at odds with the this post's position since Brown is every bit as awful as, if not worse than, Palin).

    Coakley is more progressive overall than the average Senator (low bar, I admit) and the President (another low bar, I admit).  She's far from perfect - and I'm sure like all Democrats will be a disappointment - but she's not appreciably worse, and in many ways is better, than other Democrats.


    I became aware of (none / 0) (#73)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:38:12 AM EST
    Coakley during the Louise Woodward trial. She was downright vicious in her desire to convict this teenager of murder. It was her manner, her passionate disdain, and unsupported claims against the girl that projected who she was. The parents of the deceased child were wealthy doctors.

    Google Coakley's record.

    I don't want people who are so void of compassion making laws that impact me.


    What does.. (none / 0) (#83)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:55:24 AM EST
    the fact that the parents were wealthy doctors have to do with anything?  They weren't Coakley's clients.

    To the politically ambitious (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:48:59 AM EST
    people aren't just clients or constituents, they are potential contributors to their campaign funds.

    Celebrities and wealthy people are given extra points toward the innocent factor all the time, and you know it.

    The doctors were painted to be less than stellar parents and employers during the trial. You might want to research the trial a bit.

    I was home on medical leave during the entire trial and watched every minute of it on Court TV.


    Politics (none / 0) (#97)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:14:12 AM EST
    Woodward was represented by the innocence project!  Vindicated doctor parents look good on the front page too.  Our culture worships doctors even though they are no better or worse than the rest of us.  Only able to provide us with the drugs we seek "legally" in this country.

    Okay, that makes it all very easy (none / 0) (#84)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:57:49 AM EST
    for me now.  I can't support her.  Our daughter has always had such a rapport with smaller kids.  She did a lot of babysitting at one time too.  I watched that case closely simply because I knew that my daughter was going to be one of those people who would likely be involved in the care of children not her own.  Now they say that with today's forensic knowledge the Woodward girl would have been exonerated.  I remember well feeling very bad for the parents at first but by the time they were done with me, I personally feared for the Woodward girl and I had no idea who to believe or what to believe.

    I never allowed my daughter (none / 0) (#115)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:55:52 AM EST
    to do any babysitting because of the antics of the legal system when child molestation was the draw for getting national attention and so, so many people were convicted and imprisoned for these crimes that never happened.

    wow (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by jeniferea on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 07:37:00 AM EST
    What happened to party unity??

    This is a pretty shocking stance given the current balance in the Senate.  I'm completely tired of the power being handed to the blue dogs, but it goes without saying that I'd rather be in the position of having to pressure Dems into better records than handing Repubs in greater control.

    Only if...... (5.00 / 6) (#13)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 07:54:03 AM EST
    Party unity is fine as long as the party represents you interests and values. When that stops, so does unity.

    The blue dogs sided with the Republican to extend the war that I am totally against. They won and we're still in Iraq.

    Blue dogs have insisted on scrapping any semblance of HCR.  So now we're stuck with a bill that no one likes.

    Blue dogs have even written pro life legislation into the bill. Womans rights has been a cornerstone of the Democratic party for over 40 years and yet we're supposed to abandon this because of a handful of Republican wantabee?.

    Maybe the party would be more unified if they took time to find real Democrats to run. Mass. is not Alabama. We're talking about the seat TK held. There's no need to run away from his record.


    Who's running away from (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:13:24 AM EST
    TK's record?

    Coakley is running on the Kennedy record (none / 0) (#128)
    by christinep on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:32:28 PM EST
    And, the Kennedy family is quite vocal in their support for her. In response to Jenniferea's query, I suspect (unfortunately) that right now the "populism" of the tea partiers (the right) may well merge for awhile with the "populism" of some newer progressives (the left.) My real concern isn't the vetting that we all do at home or on blogs or to friends; my concern is that the almost undifferentiated anger is overtaking other aspects of decision-making. I'm not concerned with people coming to different conclusions than I do, but with the level of emotion that seems so consuming. Maybe all this is appropriate for Massachusetts where the hysteria of the late 17th century did lead to Salem burnings. Only in this race, the record would indicate a fairly middle-of-the-road Democrat mindful of her constituency who now seems to be chased by the pitch-forks.

    Actually, this is the New Democratic (5.00 / 7) (#19)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:25:09 AM EST
    Party now. The DNC, and Obama, shifted the membership and left many former party members to flounder looking for representation. One really can't join hands if only one side is willing to extend theirs. The Democratic Party is keeping their hands in their pockets with the kinds of bills they are introducing. Working class loses.

    I think if Obama were struggling to pass some really fair and balanced legislation that took the burdens off the working class and concentrated on getting the unemployed back to work instead of mandating they hold up the rights of big corporations, the people would be glad to hand him some more D's.


    They're "Democrats for a Day" (5.00 / 4) (#121)
    by Spamlet on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:07:48 PM EST
    Election day. The rest of the time--meh.

    I think you've hit the nail on the (none / 0) (#44)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:37:57 AM EST
    head and it is amazing to me that this White House seems to be as tone deaf as they appear to be on this front.  The stunning losses in VA and NJ should have put them into gear, but all they kept saying in the face of those losses was, "But the President's polling is still very good."  That won't do them much good even if it does hold true after the 2010 election if the potential bloodbath that might occur does occur.  Being popular at that point, won't help him pass legislation without the votes and a stalwart opposition like the GOP.

    Anyhow, I think if people saw some of that "transformational change" that they were promised, they'd probably be all over GOTV for some of these races.  But the transformational change President and Democratic Party that they promised might have thought better of putting up a candidate like Coakley.  Oh well.


    The stunning loss in NJ (5.00 / 5) (#46)
    by Steve M on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:43:29 AM EST
    did not stun a single person on Earth.

    Yes - stunning. (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:23:15 AM EST
    If you look at the tremendous wave that Democrats were riding just five months prior to that election, it was stunning and it should have been a wake up call, imo.

    Unpopular incumbents can lose (5.00 / 3) (#102)
    by andgarden on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:35:48 AM EST
    in any political environment.

    I understand that, but I think that (5.00 / 2) (#107)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:41:23 AM EST
    NJ and VA were canaries in the coal mine.  The Democrats lost their mojo quickly - too quickly.

    VA, maybe, NJ, no way (5.00 / 2) (#118)
    by andgarden on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:58:28 AM EST
    Corzine's loss represents nothing at all. Indeed, that he came so close is really a surprise.

    Not quite so (none / 0) (#134)
    by christinep on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:44:26 PM EST
    Some truth in what you say about how we Dems need to deliver. The problem, tho, is that we do need to compromise with each other from time-to-time (and, in fact, it has only been 1 or 4 years to date) or face the reality of a divided and losing party. In my own family, we have strong disagreements on certain issues--we usually figure out how to work through it (the times we haven't result in momentary "so there"s followed by sadder, harsher periods until we somehow pull together again.) Ultimately, it is in our collective interest as Democrats to hold together for the long haul--no matter how angry we are with each other. What is the alternative? A purity test for membership aka the right-wing of the Republican Party? Push & pull, shout & cajole--but, as Lincoln said, hang together or surely we'll hang separately.

    Wow (5.00 / 6) (#100)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:31:48 AM EST
    "Party unity?" What is the Democratic Party, a sports team?

    Unity to principles and ideals that the Democratic party USED to stand for is what I support.  If the candidate doesn't support those principles and ideals, I don't support them.  "Parties" can go fvck themselves.

    I long for a day when people don't equate political parties with "the home team".


    Thank you, Jeralyn! You set (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by kidneystones on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 07:52:53 AM EST
    the standard, IMHO, for all advocates on both sides of the political divide. You address issues and individuals on their merits. (no pun, intended)

    I don't agree with everything you write, but your arguments are almost always very soundly grounded and your integrity is never a question.


    Really? (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by standingup on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:38:31 AM EST
    Where is the analysis of the candidate running against Coakley?  Where has she provided anything on the issues Scott Brown supports or his individual merits?  

    If Jeralyn were to present a similar analysis of the opposing candidate I might agree with you but she has not.  Where is the integrity in advocating for an end result that might be far worse?  This is a special election where turnout is more important than anything in winning.    


    I believe that is incorrect (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by mjames on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:53:20 AM EST
    As I read her comment above, Jeralyn said she would not vote for Brown. Not possible. So her choice, were she a MA resident, is Coakley or nobody. (She didn't mention Kennedy.) She says nobody. I applaud that approach. Stay home until we are offered someone to vote for. To me, that is using the power we have. Brown would be awful. Coakley has already shown she would do what her masters say. And she is way too prosecutorial for me.

    So how (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by standingup on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:17:27 AM EST
    does this work with a special election where the ballot is only for the election of a State Senator, State Representative and a U.S. Senator?  This is one of those cases where turnout really does make the difference.  

    Suggesting that a MA voter has a choice of Coakley or nobody is a false choice.  There are two people on the ballot and one of those two choices will become the next U.S. Senator from MA.  Your choices are vote for one or do not vote but the candidate with the most votes at the end of the day is the one who wins.  If Brown would be awful, why not cast a vote that would at least give the seat to the lesser of two evils?  


    Because I no longer vote the lesser of two evils (5.00 / 2) (#125)
    by mjames on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:26:10 PM EST
    And I will not be pressured. I repeat: give me someone to vote FOR and I will.

    How do we know... (5.00 / 3) (#156)
    by NealB on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:57:36 PM EST
    ...she really is the lesser of two evils? This is the DNC argument over the past 30 years: vote for us or the big bad Republicans win. But, in those 30 years, Republicans have held sway regardless of the party nominally in power.

    In short, it's safe to say at this point that Democrats are the greater evil. The Democratic Party, I think we must assume, since their votes are the only ones that seem to matter, is run by Joe Lieberman (who isn't even a Democrat) and Ben Nelson (arguably a Democrat in name only). Their deceit makes the Democratic Party more evil than Republicans.


    Leverage and Principle (5.00 / 1) (#190)
    by kidneystones on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 07:50:27 PM EST
    "I just feel proud to be living in a country that's fundamentally different from the America of the last two hundred years. You?"

    Unless Dems call 10% un-employment, rendition and targeted assassination, zero press conferences in six months, two wars, bailouts to Wall St., and record levels of debt to be 'change we can believe in', individuals have the right, and the obligation IMHO, to act as individuals, not company drones.

    I do not believe Dems to be basically good and Repubs to be basically evil. On the issues that count for Jeralyn, she can't vote for the Dem.

    She's standing on principle. I'm not sure whether some here even understand what that means.


    Party Unity (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Munibond on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:00:35 AM EST
    I am not particularly knowledgeable about the issues that Jeralyn identifies re Coakley, nor am I a Massuchusetts voter, but I think that sitting out an election where the Democratic candidate is not likely to represent ones view of the traditional Democratic philosophy is a perfectly legitimate stance.  Having 60 votes in the Senate has not resulted in liberal legislation because so many of those 60 Senators are not willing to support traditional Democratic positions.  I don't see liberal Democratic candidates getting enough financial support in the short run to have the opportunity to run for a Senate position.  If conservative/establishment Democratic candidates lose some key elections, perhaps the party will take notice and choose candidates based on some criteria other than ability to raise cash.

    I laud Jeralyn for her embrace (5.00 / 5) (#15)
    by dk on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:11:08 AM EST
    of people sitting out elections when they feel that the Democrat is, in their opinion, too far to the right on issues they care about.

    I'm going to bookmark this and link to it in the next few election cycles, particularly the 2012 presidential election.

    There has to be consequences for (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:46:24 AM EST
    not representing the base.  If a Democrat isn't worried that I'm just going to sit home, If a Democrat doesn't think that my vote must be earned, there is no incentive for them to represent the base or the platform.

    Precisely, (5.00 / 6) (#28)
    by dk on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:49:58 AM EST
    For example, the issues I care about most are healthcare and women's and GLBT equality.  That's why out of principle I did not vote for Obama in 2008.

    Well, it is a hard call really. (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:47:23 AM EST
    I believe in voting.  But having said that I don't like supporting people who obviously don't care about me beyond my showing up on election day.  The thing that bothers me is that NJ and VA should have provoked some sort of shift in tone and tenor from the Democratic Party, but nothing.  They've got countless House memebers telling them that people are not happy with HRC, jobs, etc.  In the context of all of that one has to ask, would losing Teddy Kennedy's seat even phase them?  I am not so sure anymore.  They seem impervious to these important messages.

    Speaking of Virginia (none / 0) (#49)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:53:20 AM EST
    The Dems picked up a seat in the VA Senate, vacated by the incoming Attorney General.  This seat has been held by a Republican since the early 80's or so.

    I think we are getting back to (5.00 / 2) (#101)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:34:53 AM EST
    the nightmare politics of personality - not surprising since Obama's race was all about it - but that doesn't bode well for Democrats - especially since they really haven't been all that inspiring in their governance.  On top of all that, their messaging has consisted largely of excuses about not having the opposition's support rather than defining clear goals and then taking the opposition to the woodshed when they won't get with the program.  The Obama Administration has held the principle of bipartisanship above all policy and it has yielded them nothing good.  In the case of HCR, no one is happy.  People ran into the arms of the Democrats thinking that they had their act together compared to the GOP, but that is not proving to have been a true assumption.  What that leaves people thinking - and there's plenty of commentary even just around here to this effect - what that leaves people thinking is, "What's the point of a party?"

    That's how people like Bob McDonnell get elected - that's how the GOP get their pernicious characters by the public because party politics and issues end up coming in second and third to whether or not a candidate seems like a "good guy" or a "nice family man" etc.


    The guy did change party (none / 0) (#68)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:25:59 AM EST
    affiliations.  I think it demonstrates the overall desire that most of the country has right now to be governed more from the left.  It was a narrow win too....between a Republican and Republican lite. I had better start getting a grasp of Virginia politics. In talking to my husband last night, Virginia is looking like where we will likely end up.  Why can't I go West?  Florida would be ideal for spouses job, but the mold counts there are almost as high as they are here and we won't move some place where I have to continue living like I am right now with the mold allergies and the asthma.  

    Was against in primary, but now for Coakley (5.00 / 6) (#22)
    by ls on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:32:54 AM EST
    I'm a Massachusetts progressive who voted against Coakley in the Dem primary but will vote for her in the general and very much hope that other progressives do too. At this point we will have either Coakley or Brown as our new senator and there is an enormous difference between the two, with Coakley being vastly better on every single issue even if there may be grounds to be less than thrilled with some of her past actions. I appreciate that there are often good reasons to vote for a third-party candidate or not at all, but here and now we face the prospect of a Brown victory which would be atrocious. Any action other than a vote for Coakley will make this horrific outcome more likely.

    The primary (none / 0) (#30)
    by standingup on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:53:13 AM EST
    was the correct time to oppose Cloakley.  Here is what you get with Scott Brown, from the Criminal Justice page on his State Senate website:

        ► Sex Offender Reform - Sen. Brown is widely known as the state's leading advocate for reforming the sex offender management system in Massachusetts.  He has sponsored a number of bills, including the Sex Offender Omnibus Bill which was a comprehensive reform package that addresses numerous discrepancies in the system.  Since that bill was introduced in 2005, several elements have become law separately.

        ► Repealing the Statue of Limitations for Sexual Abuse - Sen. Brown proposes repealing the statute of limitations on prosecuting perpetrators of sexual abuse. Currently, these crimes can only be prosecuted within a defined timetable, robbing many victims of an opportunity to seek justice through the criminal system. It often takes years for victims to come forward and speak with authorities.  While it is difficult to pursue a case decades after an incident occurs, these victims should have access to the full judicial process. The decision should be left with prosecutors as to whether enough evidence exists to warrant criminal charges. Sexual offenders should not escape justice simply because an arbitrary number of years have passed.

        ► Closing the Youthful Offender Loophole - Currently many offenders under age 18 slip through the cracks of the sex offender registration system. Judges currently have the discretion to decide whether or not an offender must register. Too often judges let offenders avoid the Sex Offender Registry Board even when they are found guilty of serious sexual offenses. Sen. Brown filed legislation to require all offenders convicted of qualifying sexual offenses to register with the Sex Offender Registry Board. This legislation was prominently featured in a Fox 25 News investigative report.

        ►Jessica's Bill - Sen. Brown led the effort in the Senate for passage of Jessica's Law (legislation to strengthen sex offender laws, named for Jessica Lunsford, a child who was raped and murdered in FL). A watered down version of Jessica's Law passed in July 2008, which is a step in the right direction but there is still more work to do to protect our children from predators.

        ►Haleigh's Bill - This legislation protects victims from those who have been charged with their abuse or neglect. Sen. Brown filed "Haleigh's Bill" in response to the tragedy of the Haleigh Poutre case in Westfield in 2005. Haleigh had been hospitalized as the result of alleged abuse at the hands of her adoptive mother and stepfather. While on life support, Haleigh's stepfather attempted to obtain guardianship of his stepdaughter even though he was suspected of the abuse. This bill prohibits an individual from being appointed a guardian or medical proxy if they have been charged with assault and battery, or neglect of the incapacitated. Sen. Brown was successful in applying Haleigh's Bill to restrict guardianship through an amendment to the Child Protection Bill of 2008.  He filed An Act Relative to Health Care Proxies for the 2009-2010 Legislative Session to apply those same restrictions to health care proxies.  

        ►Strengthening Public Safety - Sen. Brown remains committed to improving all aspects of public safety.  For the current session he's filed bills to reform the Commonwealth's Criminal Offender Register Information System (CORI) and study the effectiveness of a drug dealer registry for the state.  He also filed bill to increase penalties for possessing marijuana in a vehicles so that it is applied like an open container law for alcohol, and make sure that any illegal alien sex offenders are accurately reported to federal authorities.


    The primary is over and one of two people will be elected.  Brown's greatest chance of winning is to have Democrats sit out this vote.  


    I don't live in MA (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:03:05 AM EST
    But I have no problem with 1,2,4,5 and parts of 6.

    Are you saying we should loosen up our laws re: sex offenders and abusers?  Is that the "liberal" position now?


    Did I make (none / 0) (#38)
    by standingup on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:22:08 AM EST
    any comment of what I think or what the liberal position is?  That was not the intent of my post.  I simply provided information on what the opposing candidate's views on those issues are for context since the choice for voters is between two candidates, not one.  

    Sorry (none / 0) (#42)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:33:12 AM EST
    I read your comment the wrong way.

    My bad.


    Thanks (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by standingup on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:53:22 AM EST
    I have done the same myself.  

    I am sure there are other issues worthy examination and comparison but figured the CJ were the most important for this blog.


    Fortunately... (5.00 / 1) (#159)
    by NealB on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 02:09:10 PM EST
    ...as an extremist, and junior freshman Senator, Scott Brown is marginalized from the start and has nowhere to go but down. He'll last one term, if dirt from his past doesn't force him from office sooner. He'll add to the reputation of Republicans as scumbags. He does nothing to change the outcome on any issue in the Senate, though he will, hopefully, prevent the Democrats from mustering 60 votes going forward to pass heinous legislation like the healthcare bill. That his election furthers Obama's demise is a bonus.

    Well, gee (none / 0) (#126)
    by mjames on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:27:13 PM EST
    then maybe the Dems should have given me someone to vote FOR.

    Yes, they (weshould have, and some of us tried to, (none / 0) (#151)
    by ls on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:24:30 PM EST
    but that was then and this is now. Now we will have either Senator Coakley (not perfect) or Senator Brown (awful).

    I did urge opposition to her during (none / 0) (#140)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:05:30 PM EST
    the primary. Follow the links in the post.

    I think this is a case of cutting off your nose to (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Angel on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:11:37 AM EST
    spite your face.  Sure, Martha Coakley might not be everything you want in a candidate, but for dog's sake, look at what the opposition is!  Surely holding your nose and voting for the lesser of two evils is preferable to giving up control of the Senate.  

    You can only hold your nose though (5.00 / 3) (#92)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:08:29 AM EST
    so many times, time after time after time.  Sane people wake up one day to that old definition of insanity.  You know that thing about continuing to the same thing over and over again expecting different results?

    I hold my nose every election because no (none / 0) (#201)
    by Angel on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 08:31:02 AM EST
    candidate is ever perfect.  We will never have a perfect candidate or a perfect system so we have to make the best of what we're offered.  It's really noble to sit it out for a cause and I've done that, but never when control of the Senate was at stake.  We have to pick our battles but remember that winning a battle sometimes means you still lose the war.  

    Sorry Jeralyn (5.00 / 4) (#37)
    by CST on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:20:55 AM EST
    I will be voting and phone banking for Coakley this weekend.

    She isn't perfect (what senator is?) but I have no doubt that on a national stage she will represent the state as a liberal.  

    Brown is unacceptable.  And sorry kdog, so is Joe Kennedy, regardless of the "I" next to his name.  He was endorsed by the tea partiers.  On his issues site he says he wants to eliminate the Federal Department of Education and welfare.

    For those who like Brown because he will "vote against health care" let me just say that what I think this will get you is the senate bill with no changes.  Even if you don't like the bill, you gotta admit it should improve with the house negotiations.

    I disagree (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by tworivers on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:26:01 AM EST
    I have many serious qualms about Coakley, and supported Capuano in the primary.

    That said, Brown gives me the creeps.  His 2005 amendment to a MA emergency contraception bill (whereby doctors and nurses with moral qualms about emergency contraception would be allowed to deny this treatment to rape victims at their hospital) is beyond the pale.  Awful and ugly.  As is his strong support for "enhanced interrogation" techniques like waterboarding.

    Not to mention the fact that he strikes me as a telegenic Romney-esque phony.  All surface and no underlying substance.  His depiction of himself as Mr. Salt of the Earth driving his pick-up truck with 200,000 miles on it is a load of cr#p.  He and his wife own 5 properties.

    Don't get me wrong - Coakley is definitely far from ideal.  But the alternative is so much worse that my plan as a MA resident is to hold my nose and vote for her.

    Sounds like MA might be better off... (none / 0) (#161)
    by NealB on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 02:11:08 PM EST
    ...with Scott Brown out of the state more often.

    well, (none / 0) (#200)
    by tworivers on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 08:30:18 AM EST
    being a Republican in the overwhelmingly Democratic MA legislature makes him unable to do much of anything.

    Whereas in DC, he could do some damage (e.g., help Repubs. filibuster an Obama Supreme court pick, etc.)


    Continuing to hold your nose... (5.00 / 4) (#43)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:33:36 AM EST
    ...and say the other guy is sooooo much worse, is the reason the Democratic Party feels absolutely no compunction to stop frakking us over.

    Also (5.00 / 7) (#47)
    by CST on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:43:43 AM EST
    for all those lamenting that the Democratic party doesn't "listen" to us and that's how we end up with cr@ppy senators, etc... so we have to "teach them a lesson" by not voting...

    This was an open primary.  She won the primary because people voted for her.  She wasn't annointed, she wasn't an incumbent, she won fair and square.  This is the "will of the people" at work.

    At the end of the day, she is not running for chief prosecuter, she is running for senate.  I am confident she will be on the left spectrum of the senate.

    This whole conversationg is also somewhat funny considering the recent Scott Brown attack add which accuses her of being too "soft on crime".  

    That's the alternative.

    How about (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by itscookin on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:59:29 AM EST
    you let those of us who live in Massachusetts decide?

    The people of MA actually will decide (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:47:09 AM EST
    Last I heard, they weren't inviting any non-residents to vote in this election.

    But, when you decide, do remember that the entire country is going to have to live with what the winner brings to the Senate for the time they are in. I don't want what either candidate is selling, because we're all going to need to pay for it.


    I really hate the lesser-of-two-evils argument, (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Anne on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:03:30 AM EST
    mainly because it assumes not just that both candidates are bad, but accepts voting for one or the other as the only choice.  Not voting for any candidate is a valid, and sometimes, the only conscionable choice when neither candidate is acceptable to the voter.

    Until we can enact comprehensive campaign finance reform, and until people stop voting for candidates who just aren't good enough - even if they do have more money than God - we will never, ever have the kind of high-quality candidates we need.  

    This hysteria over the dire consequences that will ensue if we don't vote for a mediocre candidate is, to some degree, a lot like the panic that gets whipped up by the do-whatever-we-have-to-to-stop-the-terrorists-even-if-that-means-setting-the-Constitution-on-fire crowd.

    I'm no fan of voting for the lesser of two evils (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by tworivers on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:19:36 AM EST
    either, and of course would prefer to be genuinely excited about voting for a candidate whose views I agreed with and respected.

    But short of some miracle (Ted K. being resurrected, or the emergence in the last week of the election of some amazing 3rd party candidate - and sorry but the Libertarian Kennedy doesn't cut it), it's either going to be Brown or Coakley representing my state. And I would prefer that it's Coakley, as distasteful as many of her views are to me.  Brown would be just too awful to bear imo.

    I'll add that I agree with you completely about campaign finance reform.  Was just looking online for good sites for this issue in fact.  Any suggestions?


    Two Orgs. I like (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by jen on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:40:11 AM EST
    Thanks! (none / 0) (#113)
    by tworivers on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:50:15 AM EST
    Great scam the two parties have (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:22:36 AM EST
    going for them. The Democrats say: "We may be bad but we are better than the Republicans." The Republicans say: "We may be bad but we are better than the Democrats." And all the people get either way is bad representation.

    True except (none / 0) (#67)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:25:03 AM EST
    that Coakley is not a mediocre candidate by any stretch of the imagination.  She's to the left of all but a handful of current Dem. senators on almost every issue and she's particlarly strong, outspokenly so, on women's issues.

    Except she is caving to (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by dk on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:28:53 AM EST
    the rightward-moving Democratic party national leadership by agreeing to vote for the Nelson amendment.  

    If I stay home on Tuesday (haven't decided yet) here in Boston, that will be the reason why.


    It does appear that she already is (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:36:18 AM EST
    Oh, she definitely caved (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by dk on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:41:04 AM EST
    on women's rights in HCR.  She was actually quite honest about it.

    Nelson (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by CST on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:05:51 AM EST
    does not equal Stupak.

    Both Nelson and Stupak = (5.00 / 2) (#94)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:09:21 AM EST
    Caving on women's rights

    Well, I happen to think (5.00 / 3) (#95)
    by dk on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:09:37 AM EST
    that both are evidence of the Democratic party caving on women's rights.

    And Paul Wellstone voted for DOMA (5.00 / 7) (#86)
    by Steve M on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:00:41 AM EST
    and Ted Kennedy wrote No Child Left Behind, and so on.  Good luck finding a progressive who hasn't bitterly disappointed us on at least one important issue, and usually many more.

    I'm not always happy with the choices I get, either, but I don't feel I'm making the country a better place by sitting at home in election after election in hopes that maybe someone will give my children's children's children a perfect candidate to vote for.  All too often, your choice is between a Democrat who is better than the Republican alternative on 9 issues out of 10 and perhaps just as bad as a Republican on the 10th issue.  And whatever that issue may be, it turns out THAT is the most important issue and THAT is the dealbreaker and sorry, I just can't vote for a person who supports THAT.  And so no progress gets made on the other 9 issues either.


    But, what we've seen happening (5.00 / 5) (#106)
    by Anne on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:40:23 AM EST
    is, we vote for the Democrat who is better on 8 or 9 of 10 issues, and then he or she goes to DC, and whether it's pressure from the various blocs and/or the WH, or the need to almost immediately start the next campaign, or the feeling that corporate donors must be placated, that Democrat starts modifying those "better" positions, sometimes does a 180 on a couple, votes "no" when he or she promised to vote "yes," and - presto-change-o! - the progressive isn't progressive, the liberal isn't liberal, and we're stuck with someone we feel like we did NOT vote for.

    No one's looking for perfect, Steve; I think we're all jaded enough that we've come to accept the sad truth that there is no "perfect."  But, since voting for the so-called "better" candidate hasn't always resulted in better representation, or better policy or better governance, how does continuing to vote the Mediocre Party - and both parties can take that label - help move us closer to "better?"

    Maybe not voting won't help - I truly don't know - but I reserve the right to pick and choose who I will and will not vote for, even if that means I don't vote in a particular race.  I don't and won't stay home, because there are always local issues that I feel I need to vote on, but until someone can explain to me how voting mediocre is improving the pool of candidates we elect, I'm going to stop being an automatic vote.


    Well, I'm all for people (3.33 / 6) (#98)
    by dk on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:17:22 AM EST
    sticking with a strategy that works for them.  You're a straight white male professional who sounds like he's making a good living and has a healthy family.  I can obviously understand that you haven't reached your tipping point yet.  Maybe even if you didn't have that kind of privilege maybe you still would maintain the strategy that you have.

    That doesn't prove, however, that your strategy is better than any other.


    this comment strikes me (5.00 / 1) (#157)
    by tworivers on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 02:02:19 PM EST
    as being unnecessarily personal.

    If you disagree with Steve M, then by all means let him know all the ways you disagree.  But don't presume to know that he's making a good living and has a healthy family unless you know these things for a fact.


    Steve has shared enough about (none / 0) (#160)
    by Anne on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 02:11:02 PM EST
    his work and family that what dk said was not an assumption he just pulled out of thin air.

    The problem with the written word is that it is not always read in the same tone with which it was written, creating many opportunities for misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

    For what it's worth, this is not the first time, lately, that Steve has reacted badly and with much disdain for both comments made and the general intelligence of the commenters; since Steve has always been an even-tempered and thoughtful participant, this new behavior has caused me more worry that there might be something else going on than anything else.  None of my business, I know; just hoping everything is okay with Steve.


    I agree with you (5.00 / 1) (#165)
    by tworivers on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 02:31:34 PM EST
    that the written word can be read in a way that was not the way the writer intended it.

    This is especially true online.

    I didn't realize the extent to which Steve shared about his family and work situations (I don't come here nearly as often as I used to).  So in that sense, you're right that it wasn't an assumption that dk pulled out of thin air.

    But that said, I still think bringing Steve M's family into the discussion on this thread was unnecessary.  If Steve had brought up his family in the context of the thread, than I think talking about it would be fair game.  But Steve M didn't bring up his family - dk did.

    Just my two cents.


    Actually, Steve did bring up (none / 0) (#166)
    by dk on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 02:36:53 PM EST
    his children and his children's children in the comment I initially responded to.

    But, I really don't want to belabor this.  I said what I said, he said what he said, and I guess everyone is free to take from it what they will.


    perhaps I'm misreading it, but (none / 0) (#171)
    by tworivers on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 02:56:15 PM EST
    to me, his use of the phrase "children's children's children" was just meant to suggest a very long period of time (i.e., it would take a long time for the course of action that Anne and others are promoting to bear fruit).

    You can disagree with his point there, and many have you have made some excellent points to dispute his and other people's contentions along this line.

    But I don't for second think his use of the phrase "children's children's children" was in any way meant to introduce the topic of his family into the thread.

    And with that, I promise I'll shut up about this now.


    Thought experiment (none / 0) (#179)
    by Spamlet on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 04:16:50 PM EST
    Ask yourself how you might feel if Steve had told you that your point of view is based on your being a homosexual with an agenda.

    As a queer with an agenda myself, I propose this thought experiment to you.

    I do often find Steve condescending, but I also learn from his comments. It will be too bad if he stays away from TL.


    I'm gay too, and while I think (none / 0) (#184)
    by dk on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 05:23:41 PM EST
    it's a bit dramatic to say I have an agenda, I also think my views are partly shaped by the fact I'm gay (and partly shaped by where I grew up, how I raised, what I do for a living, etc. etc.).  And frankly, I'm fine with this, and fine if others want to point it out too.

    Anyway, I like esmense's comment below.  I'll have to think about the generational theory he has, but it's an interesting hyphothesis.


    Actually, many of us have (5.00 / 1) (#188)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 06:33:03 PM EST
    our views shaped more by our future plans than our historical experiences. Our emotional reactions stem from what we've already been through, but our planned futures are what get us up every day and we really need to feel some security in that. How many people who have been made homeless, jobless, and now are facing mandated insurance purchases that are expensive are forming their opinions of this administration based on their past?

    I think the issue (5.00 / 2) (#167)
    by CST on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 02:37:58 PM EST
    here is that you're making his background the reason to completely dismiss his point of view.

    Successfull, healthy, straight, white males are as entitled to their opinions as the rest of us.

    Being those things does not make you automatically wrong.


    True, if someone was (5.00 / 2) (#168)
    by dk on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 02:39:59 PM EST
    dismissing his point of view.  

    I may regret stepping into this, but (none / 0) (#175)
    by esmense on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 04:09:35 PM EST
    of course they are entitled to their opinion. I don't see where anyone was suggesting otherwise. Instead, what I read, was a commonplace, commonsensical suggestion that opinion is influenced by experience.

    Once upon a time, people took this for granted -- political discussion was commonly understood as an opportunity to share, and be exposed to, different experiences and perspectives.

    People in my father's generation I think (he was a man who loved political argument) assumed that their political opposites' interests and experiences differed from their own -- and that those interests and experiences shaped their political thinking. They thought that an honest attempt to understand and, when possible, reconcile those differences were a requirement for effective political action and workable compromises.

    My own and younger generations, which I think tend to discount experience in general (in favor of ideology and supposedly more "objective" methods of determining "truth" such as academic research and theory) are less likely to lay political differences at the door of understandably differing experience and interests and more likely to explain political differences as arising from differing "values," especially moral values (this is true of the Left as well as the Right). Which is one reason our political dialogue has become so poisonous and ineffective.

    Perhaps Steve W is offended is because he assumes that it is being suggested that his experience doesn't give him moral standing to speak to the issue at hand? I don't think that is what was meant -- but, given how our political conversations are often conducted today, I can see why he may think it was implied.


    Your very insightful comment may also (none / 0) (#187)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 06:10:11 PM EST
    explain why our over-paid representatives in DC no longer make laws that fit the majority of the population. They fashion themselves a kind of "celebrity" and make the laws to suit their own level of fame and fortune.

    Indeed, that is how I read the original comment (none / 0) (#189)
    by Spamlet on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 06:39:22 PM EST
    Perhaps Steve W [sic] is offended because he assumes that it is being suggested that his experience doesn't give him moral standing to speak to the issue at hand?

    I can understand why someone to whom the comment was directed might have read it that way, too. YMMV, as always.


    I wasn't calling her a mediocre candidate, (none / 0) (#78)
    by Anne on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:41:56 AM EST
    just responding to the lesser-of-two-evils argument that had been expressed by several commenters.

    How can not voting ever improve things? (none / 0) (#71)
    by Manuel on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:29:38 AM EST
    Choosing not to vote is an easy way of avoiding responsibility.  "Don't blame me, I voted for ..." or "Don't blame me.  I didn't vote".  That sure worked out well in 2000.  And, despite our disappointment with Obama, would have worked out well in 2008. Not!  Sometimes in life we are pressented with unappealing choices.  Your vote s sacred.  Use it or lose it.

    It is precisely because my vote is important (5.00 / 4) (#82)
    by Anne on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:54:25 AM EST
    to me that I can and should choose wisely how it is cast.  One of those choices is to withhold it because I do not feel either candidate is worthy, and neither would, in my opinion, represent my best interests.

    Taking the "none of the above" route is not ducking responsibility, and I can assure you that there is nothing easy about coming to the decision not to cast a vote in a particular contest.

    In fact, I think it is far easier to do the knee-jerk, vote-for-the-(D) thing than it is to wrestle with the possible ramifications of not voting, and be willing to accept one's share of the responsibility for whatever choice one makes.

    I haven't seen a whole lot of "blame me - I voted for Obama," here or anywhere else; too many people are still excusing and justifying their choice by holding up McCain/Palin as the alternative, even though the guy they voted for has marched steadily and relentlessly to the right, to the point where I think an argument could be made that he may not be all that different from what McCain would have been.

    Clearly, you disagree.


    The only way not choosing makes logical sense (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by Manuel on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:40:06 AM EST
    is if, after analysis, you think the alternatives are equivalent.  Even then, you might as well flip a coin as voting is both a right and a duty.  It is reasonable to believe that Obama is a worse choice than McCain would have been for progressives long term.  I suggested as much durng the primaries last year (before the great recession brought me to my senses).  It is reasonable to believe in burning the village in order to save it.  It isn't reasonable to sit and watch while the village burns.  I would never advocate a knee jerk vote for anything although for a while I believed that if Strom Thurmond was in favor of some policy I should oppose it.

    My vote IS sacred (none / 0) (#129)
    by mjames on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:34:31 PM EST
    and I will give it to someone who deserves it. There are 4 choices here: Coakley, Brown, Kennedy, or stay home. Not voting is a powerful weapon, especially if enough people choose that path. You want my vote: earn it. By not voting I do not lose my right to vote. I voted Dem for almost 50 years. The Dem Party I voted for no longer exists. I'll be sitting at home. And that has tremendous appeal to me. I will not be pressured.

    I'd say at least 80% (5.00 / 3) (#64)
    by CST on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:23:56 AM EST
    of the comments here about Coakley are from people who have no idea what her stance on most issues is.

    She's a solid liberal folks.  As solid as you'll get these days.

    This is not a "lesser of 2 evils" case.  This is a "nobody's perfect" case.

    But is there even such a thing... (none / 0) (#74)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:38:24 AM EST
    as a "solid liberal" prosecutor?

    I think "solid liberal", someone like Ron Kuby pops in my head...prosecutors are the furthest thing from my mind.  Granted, my definition of liberal might be out the norm.


    If you weren't such a hippy (5.00 / 2) (#79)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:43:23 AM EST
    You would have noticed that we have a New Democrat and a New Liberal....not to be confused with what you hippies defined either one to be :)  See the "New Liberal" is actually an old Conservative Democrat and the "New Democrat" is actually an old liberal Republican :)

    A few things (5.00 / 3) (#85)
    by CST on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:57:58 AM EST
    She's gonna be voting on bills on whole range of issues.  When it comes to a yes/no vote, even on criminal justice issues, she's to the left of most other senators.  Even as a prosecuter, she supported some alternative methods of preventing crime - such as community support, funding for youth jobs, and re-entry support for criminals.

    As to her methods as a prosecuter, maybe we should all just be glad she's not gonna be doing that job any more.  Personally I think her "hard-nosed" approach is something we could use a little more of in the senate.

    Being a senator is a very different job.


    Agree entirely (5.00 / 3) (#130)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:37:37 PM EST
    I think she was terribly, horrible wrong on the Amirault case and I'm pretty sure she was wrong on Woodward.  But one thing I'm quite certain of is that in both those cases, she believed passionately in both of those cases.

    Doesn't make her right, but it doesn't make her one of those prosecutors who pursue cases they know to be false for political gain.  She also to my knowledge has never been accused of taking the low road and cutting corners on defendants' rights and playing fair in any of her prosecutions-- again, unlike way, way too many prosecutors.

    Her all-out passionate effort in both of those cases does tell you something, I think, about her commitment to fight for things she believes in.

    Most importantly, as you say, she's not going to be prosecuting criminal cases in the Senate.


    Fear factor (5.00 / 6) (#80)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:45:45 AM EST
    When a party can only motivate people out of fear, it's losing big time:

    please do enjoy the loss of a 60th Democratic vote in the Senate

    I know, it would be so awful to have a Republican-controlled Congress that would continue the wars (and expand into new ones!), continue renditions and torture, restrict abortion rights, sell out the middle and working classes to big pharma and the insurance industry, continue mountaintop removal mining, and gut Social Security and Medicare.

    Oh wait.

    That's unfortunate (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by TheRealFrank on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:05:29 AM EST
    Oh well, time to stop reading this blog.

    See ya.

    This is proof most people (none / 0) (#172)
    by Wile ECoyote on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 02:57:47 PM EST
    want an echo chamber.  I get bored in echo chambers.  That is why this is my favorite blog.

    I share Jeralyn's concerns (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by esmense on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:42:34 AM EST
    But I don't live in Massachusetts and I don't have to make that hard decision between a bunch of lousy alternatives.

    I've registered my concerns about Coakley by ust refusing to respond to all the begging emails requesting that I contribute to her campaign.

    Now that I know more about her (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 11:57:01 AM EST
    She loves the spotlight more than she loves any set of values or ethics.  Sad that this is the candidate that the Democratic party delivered up to replace Kennedy with.  Massachussetts deserved better, we all deserve better but the Democratic party machine only likes playas.  If Coakley will do everything in her power to keep an innocent man in prison for an extra three years to further her ambitions, I don't care what she says about women's rights or how liberal she has attempted to come off in the past.  None of that is obviously the REAL Martha Coakley and I'm not interested in finding out anymore who the real anybody is.  I'm tired of that game.

    Doesn't every politician (5.00 / 2) (#123)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:14:41 PM EST
    "love the spotlight more than they love any set of values or ethics"?

    Like I said, I don't vote in MA, but to balance things out a bit, here's some of the other side:

    During her term as District Attorney, Coakley was recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Massachusetts School of Law and the Frank J. Murray Inn of Court.

    In November 2000, the Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts honored Coakley with its Leila J. Robinson Award for her contributions to the field of law. In June 2002--the year she was President of the Massachusetts District Attorney's Association--the YWCA Boston selected her as a member of its Academy of Women Achievers Class of 2002.


    In 2004, she received the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce's Pinnacle Award for Excellence in Management in Government. She also received the Eleanor Roosevelt Award from the Massachusetts Democratic Party in 2006. A former president of the Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts, she has served on the Board of Directors at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Middlesex Partnerships for Youth, Inc.


    In May 2007, Coakley testified before the Massachusetts State Legislature in support of the passage of a "buffer zone" law that created a 35-foot buffer around entrances and driveways of reproductive health care facilities that offer abortion services.The law was signed into effect by Governor Deval Patrick on November 13, 2007 and challenged by opponents.

    After the law was struck down by a federal court judge, Coakley successfully defended the law before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on July 8, 2008.

    In September 2008, Coakley worked with Apple Inc. and the National Federation of the Blind to have Apple redesign the popular iTunes software, so it complies with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as the Massachusetts Equal Rights Act.

    On February 5, 2009, Coakley led an 18 state coalition, as well as the Corporation Counsel for the City of New York and the City Solicitor of Baltimore, urging the Environmental Protection Agency to take action in response to the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA. Though the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA did have the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, the Agency had yet to make an official decision on whether it believes that greenhouse gas emissions pose dangers to public health or welfare.

    Coakley inherited litigation of the fatal 2006 Big Dig ceiling collapse from outgoing Attorney General Tom Reilly in 2007. On March 26, 2009 she settled the final lawsuit pertaining to the incident. Through eight lawsuits attached to the incident, Coakley's office recovered $610.625 million on behalf of the State of Massachusetts.

    On July 8, 2009, Coakley filed a suit, challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. The suit claims that Congress "overstepped its authority, undermined states' efforts to recognize marriages between same-sex couples, and codified an animus towards gay and lesbian people." Massachusetts is the first state to challenge the legislation.

    In 2009, Coakley won settlements of $60 million from Goldman Sachs and $10 million from Fremont Investment & Loan for their abuse of subprime loans and lending.

    Thank you (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:45:03 PM EST
    So much for the "blue dog" nonsense.

    So if I don't have herpes (none / 0) (#132)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:39:14 PM EST
    but someone argues that every politician appears to have herpes, I should crawl in bed and get the herpes that I know this politician in this bed has?  I don't have to crawl in bed with anyone if I don't want to.

    No you don't (none / 0) (#137)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:55:38 PM EST
    My point was voters should look at the whole picture.  

    This is Jeralyn's blog.  She is a criminal defense attorney and has a certain world view about (some) prosecutors, and that's what she wrote about, but that doesn't mean her view (or anyone else's on here) is the right view, or it's the wrong view or whatever.  She chose to highlight on this post, things she disagrees with.  I merely pointed out, like Paul Harvey, "the rest of the story."


    I know you won't understand this, but I truly (5.00 / 1) (#144)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:09:55 PM EST
    don't see anything outstanding in that list of accolades (it was supposed to be accolades, right?).

    Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.

    As an example, Mother's Against Drunk Drivers would honor an aggressive prosecutor who gets people off the roads for driving after 2 glasses of wine. It's hard for me to weigh the value of awards.

    Brown is a 30 year member of the MA National Guard. He's a JAG, and is a defense lawyer. His credentials would look pretty good on a Democrat.



    Again (none / 0) (#158)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 02:06:17 PM EST
    What do you mean by "aggressive"?  A prosecutor that does the job they are paid for?  What should prosecutors do - not try cases and try to get justice for victims (those who are frequently missing from discussions on this board)?

    And from what was posted above, I don't have a problem with some of things Brown has proposed and worked on either.

    But did you miss the second half of the post?


    This puzzles me too (5.00 / 1) (#177)
    by Pacific John on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 04:11:30 PM EST
    Is the mirror of this logic that we should reject defense attorneys who are powerful advocates?

    Maybe I'm missing something.


    Aggressive means aggressive (none / 0) (#182)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 04:59:56 PM EST
    I can deal with assertive, but she's aggressive.

    Went exploring a bit more. Is the Boston Globe a reputable publication, or a tabloid?

    What do you know about Coakley's husband and the work he does at the Police Dept? That's a question, not a challenge since I don't have, and won't get, a subscription to that web site and couldn't read the entire articles.


    From what I can find (none / 0) (#186)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 05:28:15 PM EST
    He's a Cambridge retired deputy police superintendent.  Not surprising, almost every single one of the female prosecutors I've ever met were dating or married to cops.(Come to think of it, I didn't know any female prosecutors who weren't involved with cops).  As one of them put it, "We only meet lawyers and cops - and I would never marry another lawyer!"

    MT (5.00 / 4) (#133)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:43:29 PM EST
    The Democratic Party did not "deliver up" Coakley.  She BEAT the establshment candidate by an overwhelming vote of the people of Mass., who know her very well.

    As for the idea that she deliberately kept a man she knew to be innocent in prison to further her political ambitions-- that's complete and total cr*p on every count.  She believed (wrongly IMHO) he was a terrible child abuser; she did not have decision-making power to keep him in jail, just to recommend; and she did not widely publicize her recommendation, so it's hardly evidence it had anything to do with political ambitions.

    Also to the last point, public opinion on the Amirault case had swung around by the time that happened, so it would have been a pretty bone-headed move on her part if it was in aid of her political prospects.


    Sorry man, per Politico (5.00 / 1) (#193)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:00:34 PM EST
    Wall Street Journal reporter Dorothy Rabinowitz, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of bogus sex abuse cases, recently told The Boston Globe of the Amirault case, "Martha Coakley was a very, very good soldier who showed she would do anything to preserve this horrendous assault on justice." According to journalist Mark Pendergrast, Coakley herself prosecuted another questionable child abuse case in 1993, using the same recovered-memory testimony and now-discredited methods of questioning children to convict Ray and Shirley Souza of molesting their grandchildren.

    It's probably not surprising, then, that as DA in Middlesex County, Coakley opposed efforts to create an innocence commission in Massachusetts, calling the idea "backward-looking instead of forward-looking." Of course, that's sort of the point -- to find people who have been wrongfully convicted. So far, there have been at least 23 exonerations in Massachusetts, including several in Coakley's home county.

    This is just a tiny portion of what has been questionable that this woman has done in the name of "justice".  And if this bit isn't just flat out extremely troubling, I don't know what could be.  Justice does not seem to be of importance to her, being found to have been incorrect at some time and keeping people in jail instead of dealing with her own faults has been how she conducts herself and that is horrible, creepy, and scary.  I'm completely with Jeralyn's take that this woman is too risky, she displays some serious high risk behaviors.


    This reminds me (5.00 / 6) (#122)
    by Pacific John on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:09:21 PM EST
    of Jeralyn's blind spot when she approved of Arnold Schwarzenegger's run here in CA. Of course the very first thing Arnold did when he won the special election coup was propose gutting social services to the disabled (something that our budget straights seem on the verge of accomplishing), and literally tried to prevent newborn retarded children from receiving services at Lanterman Canters with a hard cap on enrollment.

    JM's right on 95% of everything, but, oh when she's wrong. As someone from a non-Colorado state I suggest the people of MA disregard this trashing of the only state AG who sued to overturn DOMA, something that would benefit us all.

    And MC's is a liberal (5.00 / 5) (#124)
    by Pacific John on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:23:24 PM EST
    A close friend of mine on the campaign who was the attorney to convince the first major US firm to extend benefits to LGBT partners points out that, "Coakley will never say that marriage if between a man and a woman."

    Coakley was the first state AG to sue the Catholic Church over child abuse, and for most people here, she is one of us. She's a loyal Democrat who was one of the few superdelegates to stick with the will of her state's voters (who voted for HRC by 15%) in Denver.

    If we lose Coakley, we don't just lose a vote in the Senate, we lose an authentic Democrat, the sort who is in exceptionally short supply. Granted, that may be a low bar, but the alternative position is that we allow the GOP to defeat every like-minded Dem from Franken to Mikulsky, from Brad Sherman to Anthony Weiner. We'll lose votes in Nov, but let's be smart about who comprises the resulting team.

    If we want to pick races for the GOP to take out our side, can't we come up with a few hundred people who are higher up the list of priorities?



    Actually, the *first* thing he did (5.00 / 1) (#142)
    by cenobite on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:07:13 PM EST
    Was to drop LtGov Cruz Bustamonte's multi billion dollar fraud lawsuit against Enron and the other power pirates. Dance with them what brung ya and all, since Ken Lay was effectively one of Schwarzenegger's sponsors.

    Good point (none / 0) (#143)
    by Pacific John on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:09:14 PM EST
    on his administrative decisions. I had in mind his initial legislative proposal.

    My concern is criminal justice issues (none / 0) (#148)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:16:39 PM EST
    For those reasons I urge non-support of Coakley.

    I understand (none / 0) (#174)
    by Pacific John on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 04:01:14 PM EST
    ...just like my obsession is economic justice, but it's not clear to me that a very narrow interpretation of my own view is in my own, or anyone else's interest.

    For example, Jerry Brown is the Democrat most responsible for the passage of Prop. 13, since he ran a huge surplus at the same time property taxes (linked to housing market prices) were forcing retirees out of their homes. His responsibility for damage to ed. and to other vulnerable Californians is huge.

    But I'd vote for him if the alternative was a Republican who actually wanted to trash ed and aid to the disabled.

    My other thought is this, like with Brown, isn't there room for redemption? Don't some people like Brown and Coakley redeem themselves given the chance?


    PJ (none / 0) (#178)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 04:15:21 PM EST
    Now you sound like a criminal defense lawyer!

    My other thought is this, like with Brown, isn't there room for redemption? Don't some people like Brown and Coakley redeem themselves given the chance?

    Wink ;) (5.00 / 1) (#181)
    by Pacific John on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 04:28:20 PM EST
    I do actually believe it, though.

    Martha Coakley for US Senate (5.00 / 1) (#164)
    by TessO on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 02:29:51 PM EST
    I am rather taken aback by your post.  The truth is that Capuano said he would support the Health Care Bill with the Stupak Amendment.  Martha said she wouldn't, Capuano went on a crusade to cream her on this and the next day Capuano had to back pedal.
    Yesterday NARAL and Planned Parenthood held a news conference supporting Martha. She raised over 2 million dollars in one month from women's reproductive groups.

    Her death penalty stand is that she is opposed to it but when it is the law (federal) she follows the law.  I have no problem with politicians changing their positions, her position is not opportunistic as opposed Romney

    We MUST vote on January 19th for Martha Coakley.  Brown is awful, interesting that you don't mention his waffling oh and by the way Joe Kennedy is a teabagger.  Our local public television station always refers to him as the Teabag candidate.

    This is not the time to sit out an election, we should never sit out an election.  Martha is definitely in the Ted Kennedy mold.  She will stand by his positions, my god the most of the Kennedy family came out to support her.  Her debates have been great.  She is smart and in command of the issues and will work with women and working people.

    Louise Woodward, what the ? She was found guilty because she killed a infant. I am totally perplexed by this post and by Jeralyn.  Why? oh Why?

    Do you mean the Nelson Amendment? (none / 0) (#169)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 02:53:33 PM EST
    as I'm trying to figure out, from afar, why a candidate for Senate would or would not support an amendment to a House bill.  

    Capuano (none / 0) (#170)
    by CST on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 02:55:42 PM EST
    is currently in the house, so he voted for the bill with the Stupak amendment.

    Maybe that's what they're talking about.

    Also, the original Nelson amendment that was voted down in the senate was fairly close to Stupak.


    Maybe. (none / 0) (#173)
    by Cream City on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 03:50:58 PM EST
    Quite a first comment from the commenter, though -- one not known here, so hard to know how knowledgeable.

    Seems correct (none / 0) (#176)
    by CST on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 04:11:24 PM EST
    There was a back and forth between the two candidates during the primary about abortion in health care that went something like that.

    The death penalty stuff came up in the last debate because of the terrorism trials in NY.  It was a poor response on her part but she basically said that while she is against the death penalty, and would vote to remove it from the law, she would not be opposed to it's use in the terrorism trials because it's not currently against the law, or something like that.  It was a bad and confusing answer to the question where she was clearly trying to have it both ways.

    However, her opponent is against having the trials at all.  He is pro-death penalty in all situations.  Coakley did fight Mitt Romney on this issue when he was trying to legalize the death penalty in MA.


    You know this, eh? (none / 0) (#183)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 05:03:55 PM EST
    All evidence to the contrary, I'm afraid. Louise Woodward didn't kill anyone.

    Why? (none / 0) (#185)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 05:24:29 PM EST
    If she's all you say, why is the election so close. The Kennedy legacy, network and backing should have been more than enough to carry her.

    Too bad you didn't feel this way during the 2008 (4.17 / 6) (#18)
    by Bornagaindem on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:22:16 AM EST
    presidential election. Then we might not be saddled with the inexperienced, incompetent, indifferent president we have. We might have gotten real health care reform. We might have gotten homeowners bailed out instead of bankers. We might have gotten real financial industry reform. We might have stopped mountain top coal mining. We might have gotten a real environmental bill.

    It is shocking to hear you be worried about the effect of one senator on what amount to state laws and not be worried about the election of the most powerful position in the world. So much so that you pushed to elect a man who had never actually done anything for anyone else in his entire career and  continues to do nothing.  

    WTF? (5.00 / 3) (#61)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:18:13 AM EST
    You're confusing Jeralyn with some other blogger.

    She did not support Obama until he was officially the nominee after the convention.

    You think McCain-Palin would have done "real health care reform," a homeowners bailout, financial reform and an end to mountaintop coal mining, etc.?

    Maybe on Pluto.


    First of all, Obama's nomination did not (4.40 / 5) (#76)
    by Anne on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:38:48 AM EST
    transform him into something other than what he showed us in the primaries, and I think that is supported by what we have seen from him in the past year.

    Second, Obama has not done "real" health care reform, the homeowners' bailout has helped so few people that I think you could call it a failure, and he hasn't done financial reform, either - not the kind we need, anyway.  As for the mountaintop coal mining, I have no idea - it's not something I've paid much attention to.

    On this planet, at least, I can't see that Obama has been a whole lot "better" than what people want to imagine McCain/Palin would have been - he's probably a lot closer to what they would have done, and that's why many of us did not vote for either of them.


    I don't think you're on this planet (5.00 / 2) (#127)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:27:55 PM EST
    Sorry, but the idea that a McCain-Palin administration would have been more or less the same as Obama is bypassing reality in favor of agit-prop.

    I was vehemently opposed to Obama in the primaries and refused to vote for him in the general as a protest, since my state was going overwhelmingly for him anyway.  And I'm not very happy to say that he's matched my expectations for him and more as president.  I would absolutely support a strong primary challenge to him in 2012.

    But to pretend that there's no meaningful difference between him and McCain is just nuts.


    There's no way to know what we would (5.00 / 5) (#139)
    by Anne on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:03:06 PM EST
    have with McCain, but Obama has taken as his own so many of the Bush policies, has held over Bush-appointed US Attorneys, has surrounded himself with so many of the Bush hard-liners at National Intelligence, has made a hash of health care reform, has his sights set on Medicare and Social Security, that regardless of whether McCain would have been worse, we are living an Obama presidency that could be labeled Republican without too much of a stretch.

    We have a Democratic Congress that is rolling over for Obama on command - would a Democratic Congress be that accommodating of a McCain presidency and McCain policies and McCain initiatives?  

    I don't know.

    I may not be able to see into the future, but I can look back at the last Republican president, and realize that I am not seeing in the current president the kinds of differences that would make it easy to call Obama a real Democratic president and distinguish him from his predecessor.

    Guess that makes me nuts.  Oh, well.


    Don't blame me... (4.50 / 2) (#20)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 08:30:01 AM EST
    I voted for Nader:)

    Wrote in Clinton (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by addy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:15:21 AM EST
    Hey, it might be my only chance to vote for her.

    Had the chance... (none / 0) (#66)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:24:16 AM EST
    in 2006 for the Senate...and passed.  More than two tired options in that race too...not that anyone noticed.

    Well, not everyone (3.00 / 2) (#136)
    by dk on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:50:54 PM EST
    enjoys your condescending comments either.  But no one is calling you an a$$hole either.

    Is she a wolf in sheeps clothes? (none / 0) (#9)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 07:31:17 AM EST
    Is she really a liberal or are we in jeodardy of adding yet another blue dog Republican to the ranks?

    she's really a liberal (5.00 / 5) (#56)
    by Valhalla on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:11:12 AM EST
    She's nothing like, say, that horrible Blue Dog Ford that the DNC is trying to cram down NY's throats, for instance.

    Within Mass., she's always pushed very hard for women's rights, reproductive rights, programs to help women and children (and esp. victims of abuse), she went after big Pharma and fraudulent bank practices, and sued to get DOMA reversed.  Jeralyn doesn't like her because she's a prosecutor.  But the options in the primary would have been no better.  The next most serious contender, Capuano, already voted for hcr before the primary election.  

    And he was the party's candidate -- Pelosi showed up to stump briefly for him, conveniently the day or two after he voted for the House hc bill. (whereas Coakley was a huge supporter of Hillary during the primaries -- one of the few who refused to give away her states votes for Clinton at the convention -- and the Big Dog campaigned for her in the primaries and is campaigning for her this week).

    The descriptions presented here are one very particular perspective in terms of looking at her candidacy.  Before tagging her as a Blue Dog, I hope people will look around a bit before weighing in.  Doesn't mean everyone will like her, but there are loads of difference between her and Brown.


    No. (5.00 / 4) (#57)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:12:26 AM EST
    Coakley is not a "blue dog" and never will be.  Electing any politician is a crapshoot, but Coakley is more liberal on most issues than most politicians.  She's not Teddy, but who is?

    Well, please do enjoy (none / 0) (#59)
    by Radiowalla on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:14:38 AM EST
    Senator Brown.  And please do enjoy the loss of a 60th Democratic vote in the Senate.  That's going to be really special.

    Hey (none / 0) (#65)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:24:06 AM EST
    The 60 is going to be gone in November anyway....

    It turned out to not be magic (5.00 / 4) (#75)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 10:38:41 AM EST
    Anyhow.  It will be hard to miss something that has brought me so much pain and discomfort.

    Actually, Steve (none / 0) (#138)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:01:01 PM EST
    I didn't read any insults in dk's comment to you. The fact is that right now the country is failing miserably to support the working class, the women, and the unemployed. dk's comment (as I read it), and my support for it, come from that reasoning. If you read something personal in it, that's yours to own. Nothing personal was intended.

    Really? (5.00 / 1) (#141)
    by Steve M on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:05:37 PM EST
    Making my personal characteristics the issue and referring snidely to my "privilege" isn't personal????

    I am simply done here.  Bye.


    Yes, really (none / 0) (#147)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:16:35 PM EST
    Absolutely nothing personal intended. That's just not how I read the comment. I'm truly sorry if that's how you are taking it.

    Thanks, Inspector. (none / 0) (#146)
    by dk on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:13:26 PM EST
    You read it as I meant it to be read.

    As a Senator she will be involved in (none / 0) (#149)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:17:45 PM EST
    crime bills and policy that affect all of us, not just Massachussetts. She will be terrible.

    I read Balko's (none / 0) (#154)
    by Chuck0 on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 01:52:20 PM EST
    article on Coakley a couple of days ago. Mucho scary prosecutor she is. I certainly don't want to see her in the Senate or a courtroom for the matter. What an abuser of power.

    Brown will be powerless (none / 0) (#162)
    by NealB on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 02:18:29 PM EST
    These days, the more powerless Senators in the Senate the better.

    An interesting perspective (none / 0) (#180)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 04:24:10 PM EST
    If this guy is right, Jeralyn could get her wish....

    I wrote a column last week in which I dismissed the chances of Republican Scott Brown actually winning next Tuesday's Senate special election in Massachusetts. The race would be close, I figured -- 53-47 for Coakley, or something like that -- but the state's blue tint would be just enough to save the Democrats.

    I'd now like to qualify that prediction. Coakley's internal poll last night, I've been told, showed her barely ahead, 46 to 44 percent. The momentum clearly favors Brown, and one very smart Massachusetts Democrat I know told me this morning that "this may be too far gone to recover."

    So I was wrong: Brown may actually win.

    Who knew? (none / 0) (#191)
    by bdub78 on Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 09:18:20 PM EST
    I should have voted for Nader, I guess.

    We held our noses for Obama, (none / 0) (#196)
    by AX10 on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 12:01:57 AM EST
    we most certainly can support Coakley despite a difference here and there.  She is right on economic matters (which are of most importance right now) [and national security too].
    Anyone belonging to the tea party movement is an extreme reactionary and must be stopped.

    So You're Cool (none / 0) (#197)
    by bob h on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 07:28:49 AM EST
    with the defeat of HCR and probably setting in motion a downwards spiral for the Obama Presidency?

    "Setting motion" (none / 0) (#198)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 07:38:08 AM EST
    Dude - his numbers are already hurtling towards Earth at record speed.

    Comments closed (none / 0) (#202)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 08:49:55 AM EST
    We're at 200, which is our limit.