Monday, January 18, 2010

January 18, 2009

       What?  A Republican win a Senate race in Massachusetts?  I'm kidding, right? Well no.  Could happen.  It's true that Democrats outnumber Republicans in the state something like 3--1, but independents outnumber them both.  And sure, Edward Kennedy held that seat for seventy years, or whatever it was, but the state did elect GOP governors for sixteen straight years though the present incumbent, Deval Patrick, is a Democrat.  Anyway, the Senate race, reports from the state say, is wide open and the Democrat, Martha Coakley, is in enough trouble that President Obama went to the state to campaign for her this past weekend.      What's happening?  Well,  reports say Coakley has run a listless campaign. And she's said some dumb things--suggesting in a debate last week, according to the New York Times, that  "the terrorists were gone from Afghanistan."  Huh?  With headlines this morning talking about gunfire fifty feet from the presidential palace in Kabul, that's hard to believe.      State senator Scott Brown, the Republican, seems to have run a pretty good campaign.  And voters are angry.  Unemployment isn't quite as bad as it is nationally but, at 8.8% in November, it's high.      Does it matter nationally?  Oddly enough, it might.  President Obama's big legislative priority these days is, of course, health care.  It will take sixty votes to override a Republican filibuster.  That's exactly how many the Democrats have now.  If they lose tomorrow, they'll be one short.  There are ways around this--get the House to approve the bill the Senate's already passed, for instance--but no one can be quite sure they'll work
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