She is the focal point of an historic election, vying to replace a Massachusetts icon and to become the state’s first woman senator.She's the candidate of the political bosses and the union leaders. She'll let them carry her water while she shows up to shake hands and head out the door. She's not impressed with Scott Brown's energetic campaign trying to talk to and meet as many people in person as possible.
But on this day in Salem, two weeks before the vote, she is not the star of the show. That would be Mayor Kimberley Driscoll; this is her inauguration. After about an hour of speeches and oath-taking, Driscoll cries out, “This is Coakley country!’’ The crowd roars. Coakley stands, turns, smiles, and waves to the cheering hall. Then she sits down and the event wraps up.
Coakley leaves quickly, hurrying through a reception downstairs, passing up the refreshments, shaking maybe a few hands on the way out. On the front steps, she rubs elbows with city councilors and School Committee members. She gives the mayor a comradely hug and a peck on the cheek. Then she is gone.
“Do you know where Coakley went?’’ a man asks. He wants to get another picture of her. He chases her black Ford Taurus and tries in vain to wave it down.
The appearance characterizes Coakley’s approach to this truncated race. Aware that she has little time for the hand-shaking and baby-kissing of a standard political campaign, she has focused instead on rallying key political leaders, Democratic activists, and union organizers, in hope they will get people to the polls.
Despite that, there is a subdued, almost dispassionate quality to her public appearances, which are surprisingly few. Her voice is not hoarse from late-night rallies. Even yesterday, the day after a hard-hitting debate, she had no public campaign appearances in the state.Hey, if you know the party leaders, why bother with hoi polloi? And she's certainly not going to win people over with her personality.
Coakley bristles at the suggestion that, with so little time left, in an election with such high stakes, she is being too passive.
“As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park? In the cold? Shaking hands?’’ she fires back, in an apparent reference to a Brown online video of him doing just that. “This is a special election. And I know that I have the support of Kim Driscoll. And I now know the members of the [Salem] School Committee, who know far more people than I could ever meet.’’
Coakley eschews slogans and sound bites in favor of carefully worded, measured arguments. She hides her personality behind a businesslike veneer. She tends to brush off questions about the social significance of her ascent in state politics, and sticks to her talking points: her accomplishments as attorney general and how they would apply to her performance as senator.Then we get the standard stories that we always get when a reporter talks about how stiff a politician is in public. Actually, you see, she's so loose and fun in private - take her sister's word for it. I remember reading all these same stories about Hillary and what a blast she was one on one. She just came off as stiff in public.
Well, perhaps there is another side to Martha Coakley, a side that the Boston Globe isn't interested in covering. Michelle Malkin writes today about Coakley's record of corruption and her efforts to provide CYA for Massachusetts Democrats.
Coakley, the Bay State’s attorney general, has campaigned to replace the late Sen. Kennedy on a law-and-order platform. But she has consistently turned a blind eye to both. When a top aide to Boston Mayor Tom Menino was caught deleting thousands of e-mails in violation of public records law last fall, Coakley punted. Democrat Menino was in the middle of a re-election bid; Coakley was wrapped up in her own senatorial bid.Go read the rest and to follow all the links documenting these charges. The list of her little corrupt deals to protect Democrats goes on and on. She's a typical machine politician who can't connect with ordinary people, but needs lobbyist and union funds to fight off popular anger over the Democratic agenda. Her DNC media spokesman can't think of anything to say in favor of this woman except to try and give people hebejeebies about Sarah Palin. With people desperately worried about the economy, jobs, and what the health care bill will do to their budgets, do you think scare talk about Bush and Palin is really what will be persuasive to them in 2010? Which party is really the party of yesterday?
Instead of expressing any concern about the City Hall information black hole, Coakley refused to investigate. She accused her critics of playing politics: “[W]e get lots of complaints from folks who are adversaries who have a particular agenda.”
But who’s got the agenda? After undertaking Herculean technical efforts to recover the trashed e-mails, Boston city officials discovered e-mail fragments related to an ongoing federal probe of former state senator Dianne Wilkerson. Wilkerson attained national infamy as the lawmaker caught on film stuffing thousands of dollars of bribes from an FBI informant down her bra in exchange for her help securing a liquor license for a nightclub. She is currently awaiting federal trial.
Coakley cut a blanket immunity deal with Wilkerson last year protecting her from prosecution for campaign finance violations. But according to the Boston Herald, the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance reported last month that Wilkerson had failed to comply or only partially complied with 11 of 51 conditions. Coakley allowed Wilkerson to pay a measly $10,000 fine to avoid any legal action. She has failed to make those payments, failed to file ordered paperwork, and failed to answer information requests from state campaign finance officials.
Coakley’s response? Meh.
She spent the evening yesterday in Washington, D.C. begging for money from lobbyists, but, as Walter Jacobson points out, lied to reporters about the purpose of the event. With all that is at stake in the bluest of the blue states, she's having to struggle and is being carried past the finish line by the party hacks, union bosses, and all the lobbyists who are ponying up the big bucks for her campaign. No wonder that she went to that dinner and told them,
"If we don't win this, 2010 will be hell for Democrats,"She's denying that she said this, but Jim Geraghty says his source is sticking by the statement, and the Hotline (not a right-wing outlet) names one source, a Republican who was, for some reason, there at the dinner, and then later says that sources (plural) confirm that Coakley said this. So now she's a liar also. What a surprise.
And, as the blogosphere is swarming about today, Coakley apparently witnessed a campaign associate from the DSCC roughly shove a Weekly Standard reporter out of the way for daring to ask Coakley about her asinine statement on how there are no terrorists in Afghanistan. She's playing deaf and dumb about the incident now saying that she's not privy to the facts. The fact that the episode happened right in front of her must be what is confusing her about the facts.
So we have the attorney general of Massachusetts witnessing this and doing nothing except scurrying away to make sure that she doesn't have to answer any tough questions. I guess that is more of her hard-to-warm-up-to personality.