There are a multitude of reasons to vote for Martha Coakley in Massachusetts today. They have all been discussed elsewhere, but here is an excellent summary if you still need one.
But the thing that keeps roiling my thoughts as more and more pundits predict a Scott Brown victory is the reaction from the right-wing media to this affair. Already they are positioning the race as a referendum on President Obama and health care. They are dismissing the failings of the Coakley campaign and elevating the role of Tea Baggers. If Brown prevails, starting tomorrow morning their will be a nausea inducing avalanche of rightist gloating and misrepresentations of what actually took place. In fact, The Fox Nation has already started:
This morning the Fox Nationalists are featuring a five course spectacle of Brown worship. Every story on their top headline graphic is about the race in Massachusetts. Apparently Haiti is old news and unworthy of recognition. The rest of the page reflects the same editorial incompetence. There are presently 25 stories about the senate race and only six on Haiti. Is the next senator from one U.S. state really that much more newsworthy than an ongoing crisis that may have killed hundreds of thousands and left hundreds of thousands more maimed, homeless, and clinging to life?
This is just the beginning of the Massachusetts media blitz. With a Scott win the election postmortems will be unleashed from every right-wing corner. We will have to endure the smug swagger of Bill O’Reilly, the juvenile pomposity of Glenn Beck, and the vacuous revelry of Sean Hannity. Rush Limbaugh will weigh in, along with Sarah Palin, Karl Rove, and every Republican officeholder. There will be commentaries and op-eds from every rightist rag in the nation, all heralding the death knell for Obama, health care and liberalism. It will be a bacchanal of conservative orgasmic delight.
And the worst part is that the reasons for the fading prospects for progressives are entirely misplaced. Democrats are not losing because voters just love them some Tea Baggin. They are losing because they have failed to fight for the ideals on which they campaigned. They have squandered an historic opportunity to bring the real change they espoused. They capitulated to GOP opponents in a search for bipartisanship that was never going to be reciprocated. They were punked in supreme fashion and now they come out looking like fools with nothing to show for their naivete.
The lesson from all of this, which Democrats will almost certainly misread, is not to move farther to the right in hopes of snagging some wavering moderates, but to revisit the election of 2008 and what made that election possible. Hope and Change dominated the dialogue, but there has been precious little of it by this administration and congress.
It would be bad enough if Scott Brown wins this election; it would be hard enough to accept that devolution of electoral intelligence; it would be sufficiently depressing to know that so many critical initiatives would become that much harder to achieve; but to have to bear, on top of that, the endless bluster of self-satisfied Tea Baggers and putrid pundits rubbing it in our faces for the next three years may be too much. If for no reason other than that, the people of Massachusetts need to get off their damn asses and protect the rest of us from the flurry of revulsion that will spew from these greedy, obstructionist, Dark-Ageists who want nothing more than to line their pockets and roll our nation back to its Puritan roots.
There’s got to be a morning after. And if Brown wins we will all be wishing for a lost weekend.