A GOP source sends along this video, shot by a Republican tracker, of a union member supporting Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren outside of a debate Wednesday night in Springfield, Massachusetts. The cameraman asks the union member if he was at an earlier debate between Warren and her Republican opponent, Senator Scott Brown.
"Uh-huh," the union member says, nodding.
"Did you guys get fined if you weren't there?" the cameraman asks.
"Yeah," the union member replies.
"How much did you get fined?" the cameraman asks.
"A hundred and fifty," the man says, although he later adds, "It's two-fifty if you don't go." Watch the video below:
This isn't the first instance in a Massachusetts Senate race where unions have been accused of generating fake grassroots support for the Democrat.
In 2010, before Brown's victory in the special election, a union member wearing a shirt supporting the Democratic candidate, Martha Coakley, told a local blogger on camera that he had been paid $50 to wear the shirt but that he was actually voting for Brown.
An aide to Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, appears to have knocked the video camera of a Republican tracker after an event this weekend in Martha's Vineyard. Watch the video below:
In the tradition of the proverbial carpenter and his nails, if you're Barack Obama, every political problem looks like 2008. Today, the DNC signaled its willingness to use 2008's rhetoric to win in 2010 with a half-hearted rallying video recorded by Obama asking his base to show up at the polls in November.
It's the same message Obama used to pitch Creigh Deeds for governor in Virginia, Jon Corzine for governor in New Jersey, and Martha Coakley for Senate in Massachusetts. It's also the same pitch he made for health care—the one instance in which it actually worked, at least on the Hill, but health care's numbers are still about on par with Corzine's, Deeds', or Coakley's.
Spot political problem, apply speeches, lather with inspirational rhetoric, repeat. What Obama seems to miss, however, is that his inspirational rhetoric worked because he himself was inspirational. Conferring his inspiration upon any old hack Democratic cause or candidate that comes through the DNC has not proven fruitful.
In this video, he is Barack Obama. He is the man whose problems are still inherited. He is the man who fights the health insurance companies... whose product he's requiring that every American buy, battles the big banks... who bankrolled his campaign, and stifles special interests... with whom he meets behind closed doors to hash out deals on legislation. And, he posits, all of this should inspire those who voted for the first time in 2008 to vote again on behalf of all the uninspiring Corzines, Deedses, and Coakleys who will in some unspecified way guarantee the uplifting change at sometime in the unspecifed future that Obama himself has not delivered. Fired up and ready to go!
It's hard to say whether this is more pathetic and phoned in or cynical and disingenuous. They're neck-and-neck. Obama uses what Ben Smith at Politico calls "unusual demographic frankness," when he exhorts, "young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women" to come to the polls. Drudge calls it the "race card," though like Ed Morrissey, I'm not sure I'd go that far.
When Sen. Chris Dodd decided to retire instead of seeking another term as senator, the conventional wisdom held that popular Connecticut Attorney General Dick Blumenthal would turn an at-risk seat into an easy win for his party.
Turns out Blumenthal's bumbling has Democrats nervous, despite a commanding lead over Republican challengers Rob Simmons and Linda McMahon. (He lead Simmons 52-38 in a Rasmussen poll this week.)
In the new movie The Young Victoria, the mother of Victoria and her chief overseer meet with the prime minister, Lord Melbourne, to discuss what role they’ll play now that Victoria has become queen of England. They’ve waged a fierce struggle to retain control over Victoria. Suddenly Melbourne cuts off the chatter and bluntly explains the situation. “You lost,” he says.
That’s the situation that faces President Obama and his White House advisers. Months of polls on the president and his policies, the Virginia and New Jersey governor’s elections, then last week’s momentous Massachusetts Senate race – all have sent the blunt message to Obama that, for now, he’s lost. But Obama and his team insist on pretending it’s not true.
To the Boston left, "anger" and "Washington" explain Scott Brown's victory in the Massachusetts senate race, but the win was also a shaft of common sense hitting Bay State's echo chamber of liberal self-righteousness. "Voter anger caught fire in final days," said Wednesday's Boston Globe. "Massachusetts voters sent Washington a ringing message." Yet it wasn't anger, the final days, or just Washington, as the Globe suggested.
Representatives of organized labor met in the White House last week and cut a deal exempting union members from paying higher taxes as part of health care reform. It was a tawdry affair in many ways. But the meeting seems to have had an unintended consequence: Massachusetts has just elected a Republican senator.
In Newton, Massachusetts, 67 percent of folks voted yesterday for Democrat Martha Coakley (32 percent voted for Republican Scott Brown, and 1 percent chose Libertarian Joe Kennedy). In short, the town is a liberal outpost, just miles outside of Boston.
In other news related to Newton, though, a Board of Alderman resolution has been riling up concerned citizens. The resolution would welcome Abdul Aziz Naji, originally from Algeria but most recently living in Guantanamo, to town.
Of all of the memorable moments from the Massachusetts special election, the one that stands out most--and the one with real implications for 2010--did not directly involve either of the two candidates in the race.
When Dean Barnett died at age 40 in August 2008, it was a loss of a unique voice in politics, and those who admired him could console themselves only with the thought that he had been needed for some pressing business above. Now, a year and a half after it happened, we know what it was: Only Barnett -- Bostonian, Red Sox fan, former aide to Mitt Romney, with a loathing of cant and a fine sense of lunacy, could have orchestrated the Senate race in Massachusetts thus far.