The "bad candidate" excuse

An instant explanation has been advanced by the Left to explain away the beat-down they received in Massachusetts Tuesday.

Well, what do you expect? Martha Coakley was simply a bad candidate

I'm not going to pretend Coakley did a stellar job. Indeed, the last week of her campaign was so full of bizarre gaffes as to wonder if this was Joe Biden after doing really, really bad peyote. But, we are talking about a 100,000 vote clock cleaning.  Prior to Martha deciding to turn her footwear into snack food something had gone wrong for the Democrats in Massachusetts.

The prominent polling firm, Public Opinion Strategies, offered this take on the Coakley collapse.

It’s not all her fault.  It’s the policies she supported that were more to blame.  She won the Democratic primary trouncing her opponents and was clearly the best candidate the party had to offer in the state.  She’d won statewide in convincing fashion.  She was a proven quantity.  And, yet this race wasn’t even close.

After watching Creigh Deeds, Jon Corzine and now Martha Coakley go down in flames, do you really think that the one thing they had in common was that they were below average candidates running sub-par campaigns?

The question I have is: when exactly did Creigh Deeds, Jon Corzine and Martha Coakley become "bad candidates"?

Certaintly not in the primaries. Deeds clobbered two better funded rivals (Terry McAulliffe and Brian Moran) in the VA primary.   Deeds had also faced Bob McDonnell before, and barely lost the 2005 AG race. He then lost to the same opponent for Governor in 2009 and the margin of defeat expanded by a factor of 1000.

 In New Jersey, Jon Corzine hardly broke a sweat dispatching his primary opponents. And while NJ Democrats may have considered swapping him out for Corey Booker, Richard Codey or Frank Pallone, in the end the completely venal NJ Democrats thought Corzine gave them their best chance of victory.

Now Martha Coakley. She was elected Attorney General in 2006 with 73% of the vote. In the Senate race ,she defeated a field of Democratic opponents --including a popular House member and a free spending businessman--convincingly.  

She entered 2010 with a million dollars cash-on-hand and an apparent wide lead in the polls.  So what happened to suddenly make her a "bad candidate"?

Seems the common denominator here is contact with the general electorate, now doesn't it?.

Once the calendar turned to 2010 and Martha Coakley couldn't fall back on the standard liberal bromides, well, she fell apart.  Perhaps she never expected  to be pressed in dark blue MA. But what part of the political environment this year won't inflict this damage on any Democrat whom the Republicans press hard?  

David Plouffe better have the "bad candidate" excuse on his favorites list this cycle. He'll need it. 

One final note. In all three epic losses the Democrats have pursued a strategy of victory by disqualification.  In Virginia, an ancient thesis was supposed to make McDonnell unpalatable; in New Jersey, the Corzine camp sought tp turn the election into a referendum on mammograms, and last week Coakley's thin straw was to allege Scott Brown hated rape victims.

I think even Ray Charles could see a pattern here.

Sure I know the argument about " well, we had to try and win ugly".  Message to Democrats: voters have noticed who's getting ugly. Perhaps that's why the results for your party have been...hmmmm, ugly.


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