No, it's a loss

Politico asks a question:
Is a close call a GOP victory?

To which I answer -- no.

The race in question is, of course, the special election in Massachusetts to fill Ted Kennedy's vacant seat. Since the Bay State is considered as blue as blue can get, a close race could be spun as a "win" for the GOP and a harbinger of doom for the Democrats.

There are two reasons I think the answer to the question is "no." First of all, there is the simple, common sense fact that a loss is a loss is a loss, and everything else is just spin. We "No on 1" types could attempt consolation by telling ourselves that we didn't get trounced too badly, but at the end of the day I still can't get married in Maine. No matter how close the margin, if Coakley beats Brown then she gets to be a Senator and he doesn't, and nothing else really matters.

For a more nuanced reason, let's check in with Marc Ambinder.
Five Lessons From The Massachusetts Senate Race


1. Nothing at all. The race is unique. A six-week general election sprint, a winter election day that people aren't used to, the burden of replacing Sen. Ted Kennedy, a generally poor atmosphere for Democrats -- it's hard to transfer any lessons from this particular race to any other. It was easy for Scott Brown to rack up support while no one paid attention to the race.

Now, Ambinder goes on to lay out some important things for the Democrats to learn, and a close victory would increase the urgency of the lesson. (Hopefully the Dems aren't so obtuse that they're unaware that they need to get a better national security message out, or that the health care reform package is poorly understood and unpopular, however.) But this election is atypical for a lot of different reasons, all of which make it difficult to draw general conclusions.

I think Coakley will win, and I won't really be all that interested in her margins. Conversely, however, if she loses then I think it's a big, gigantic loss for the Democrats, and they should probably prepare to get their collective backsides handed to them later this year.


  1. I think Coakley will win, and I won't really be all that interested in her margins."

    That is the Dem spin. In a 3D to 1R state (according to the Politico cite), letting a challenger get close has more nuance than "we won, they lost." If a 97-lb skinny guy takes the heavyweight title challenger to 10 rounds and bloodies his face before losing on a split decision, there is more nuance than the won-lost result.

    In the meantime, Im so glad Ms. Coakley won't repeat the idiot Sarah Palin amateur hour mistake of misspelling her own State's name in an ad. You remember how Ms. Palin... of, wait, sorry, it *was* Ms. Coakley's campaign, my mistake. Well, at least she doesn't rely on outsiders for money... what? She was in DC last night, being feted by lobbyists for insurance companies and Big Pharma? Sorry, my mistake again. Well, at least she showed a firm grasp of international... what? She claimed there are no more terrorists in Afghanistan? Really? Wow. Well, at least she's good a shaking down little old ladies.

  2. please gadfly, Mass. long has a history of voting Republicans too office. How many of their previous Governors lately have been Republican? Romney, Weld, Swift, etc. And you have only illustrated the real reasons why Coakley is losing, she is running a terrible campaign, and the Republican is busy comparing himself to Kennedy (you know, the Democrat President) and not to Reagan.

    I am with Drdanny. If Coakley wins the narrowness of the victory will be meaningless and it will be up to her to prove her fitness. Al Franken won by the skin of his teeth, but since then his popularity rating in MN has gone way up. For the senate, one vote is as good as a million because there is so much time between elections.