Don’t let anyone tell you that what happened Tuesday night, the Coakley loss, Scott Brown’s easy win in the Massachusetts Senate race, wasn’t a political bomb going off. That was a violent explosion, a complete disaster.
After all the epic machinations and manipulations necessary to pass the healthcare bill, — maybe single payer, but that’s a no-go, public option is the thing, naw it’s gone, now it’s saved, Lieberman just killed killed it, maybe Snowe is on board, no she’s not, how do we end-run Stupak, how can we get Ben Nelson on board, cut him some pork, when is the Senate vote scheduled? — the exotic trophy ‘supermajority’ that was everything, that made the whole thing possible, disappeared, poof, overnight.
Unbelievable. I doubt I’ll ever see it again in my life. And I have no idea why no one thought of defending it until about ten days ago, when it was way, way too late.
And, for aural punctuation, accompanying the long faces on this side are the sounds of millions of political orgasms on the other. Sounds like these:
— A Blue State Turns BROWN!!!
— Revolutionary Victory: Republican Scott Brown wins Ted Kennedy’s Senate Seat
— The Scott Brown Election Is A Referendum On The Establishment
— Massachusetts Miracle: Election night liveblog; Update: BROWN WINS, COAKLEY CONCEDES
— Brown Wins! Dems Taste Tea, CNN, MSNBC Fun To Watch, Amnesty Toast
Anybody could’ve predicted the reaction and momentum swing if Coakley were to lose. So, Coakley could never lose. But it wasn’t even close.
Good lord, this is some sort of historic embarrassment. Why didn’t anybody seem to care?
The answer? The leader of the Democratic Party, the President, Barack Obama, wasn’t up to the task. Like it or not, he asked for the helm, so it’s his responsibility. Yeah, but we all know he’s too busy. His responsibility, though, doesn’t require he do the actual work: technically he hires the entire executive branch, and they execute his governmental responsibilities. So where was his political right-hand man, the heavy-hitter to do all this critical work? If Obama’s not looking out for his own healthcare legislation, someone else better be.
You’re thinking David Axelrod? You gotta be kidding me, forget it. He’s a p.r. guy, a gun for hire, a “specialist in urban politics.” I wouldn’t ever count on him to step outside the Obama bubble. No, what I’m talking about is a national political party animal, right out of the smoke-filled backrooms. A stone-grinder of Democratic politics first and last, his pockets crammed with wet knives, fresh lists and plenty of chits.
Where is the President’s Karl Rove? It all should have been left to him. But, right now, he doesn’t exist.
Rove was the political boss of the Bush years, the ‘genius’ who got the single worst President in history a second term. This is the sort of guy we need: someone who can look down the road a couple years (or a few weeks, please) and start pushing pawns and pulling levers in order to give the Democrats the edge. You know, so that we can finally manage to get something done.
Remember how you chafed at Karl’s ridiculous idea of the ‘Permanent Republican Majority‘? The silliness made him an American political legend:
President George W. Bush called him “the architect” of his reelection victory and he has been the president’s chief strategist from the beginning. But Karl Rove is much more than a political guru, he is the single most powerful policy advisor in the White House. Frontline and The Washington Post joined forces to trace the political history and modus operandi of the man who has been on the inside of every political and policy decision of the Bush administration, including the current battles on Social Security, taxes, and tort reform. For Rove — observers say — enactment of the Bush agenda is a way to win the biggest prize of all: a permanent Republican majority.
Well, how badly do you wish we’d had even one operator in the administration who’d managed to look ahead just one month? Who’d have taken immediate charge of the pathetic Coakley campaign? Dragged Obama to Massachusetts on four successive weekends to talk up the now-gone Senator Kennedy and healthcare reform and ‘I’m counting on you to do the right thing in Teddy’s name’? Karl Rove would have been on top of that long before the good Senator’s death.
The hard truth delivered this morning is that the Democratic leadership are still playing a 20th-century political game, one they’d forgotten Rove already trumped twice in the 21st. Because of it, they’re flat out incompetents. It’s true — what else can you say of the folks who produced this political provenance for the open seat: John F. Kennedy, (Kennedy friend) Ben Smith, Edward Kennedy . . . Scott Brown? Cosmo centerfolds everywhere, Bay State Senate seats are now in play.
Well, being incompetent won’t cut it any more. With majorities in both houses, riding high in the polls, anybody can do that work, that’s pretty easy. All of 365 days later, shocked and embarrassed, they’ll never have it easy again. Take a look at what’s in store:
First, the Republicans now have the momentum. Seeing a Dem getting her ass kicked in midnight blue Massachusetts has terrified every Democratic Representative and Senator in anticipation of 2010 and 2012. Forget any political capital being risked for good things — if a bill or issue isn’t going to pay off immediately in their states and districts, they’re a lot less likely to be interested.
Second, the Tea Partiers and Fox News aren’t just weirdos and racists any more, they’re the regular folks in America. They’re politically relevant, they’re what’s happening in America, they’re what’s just happened to Massachusetts. So now everybody will have to listen to them. And with more and more people listening, they’ll tee off on the administration and Democrats even more viciously than before. It’s Obama and his people that are out of touch — did you catch the President sadly coming around two days before the blowout? (And how clueless did that look? No way ‘Rove’ lets that happen.)
Third, the Democrats have to manage some serious calisthenics to save their historic healthcare reform legislation. Without which, the last half of 2009 is wiped out and the Republicans are handed an historic and bloody victory. That mess likely kills any chance of real reform for two decades. Terrific.
How could the Democratic leadership not see any of this coming? How badly do you figure we need our Karl Rove now?