January 24th, 2010
05:30 PM ET
5 years ago

Losing Kennedy's seat a gift, Dem says


Washington (CNN) – Democrats’ stunning loss of the Senate seat held for more than 4 decades by a liberal icon is an early warning sign that the party should heed, a prominent Democratic strategist said Sunday.

National Democrats are reeling after Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, a Democrat, lost to Scott Brown, a Republican state senator who was virtually unknown on the national stage until his upstart campaign began to gain momentum in recent weeks. Brown’s bid to finish out the remainder of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s final term gained traction in part because he campaigned on a pledge to be the 41st vote Senate Republicans need to block Democrats’ health care reform bill.

“John, we lost a very important seat, a very important vote,” Democratic strategist Donna Brazile told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

“It’s a disappointment,” Brazile also told King. “It hurts like hell. I can’t tell you how much it hurts. But, it’s also a gift. If we learn the lessons to get back to the basics, to deliver for the American people the change we promised them in 2008.”

“Well, maybe we can find more under the tree,” Bill Bennett, the host of conservative talk show “Morning in America,” said in response to Brazile. “If that’s the gift, then we want to keep on giving,” the conservative commentator added.

Pointing to polling of Massachusetts voters conducted just after Tuesday’s special election, Bennett said “dissatisfaction with the direction of the country, antipathy toward federal government activism, and opposition to the Democrats’ health care proposals drove the upset election” of Brown.

Related: Voter anger helped GOP pull Senate upset, poll says

“Brown stressed a lot his unhappiness with the way the [Obama] administration was conducting the war on terror,” Bennett also pointed out Sunday.

“The people spoke. The people of blue-on-blue Massachusetts spoke and it could not have been clearer.” Bennet declared.

Brazile disagreed with Bennett’s assertion that the Massachusetts upset was a repudiation of fundamental aspects of the agenda President Obama and congressional Democrats have pursued in the last year.

“This is not a defeat that should cause Democrats to become demoralized or to begin to fail in their pledge to change the country. This is an opportunity,” Brazile said Sunday.


Filed under: Bill Bennett • Extra • Massachusetts • Popular Posts • Senate • State of the Union
soundoff (168 Responses)
  1. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    It won't just be MA that gets change...Reid's numbers are disappearing faster than a paycheck on the Las Vegas Strip. And there are plenty more...Nov is coming!!!

    So, Dems, How's that HOPE and CHANGE working out for you now??

    January 24, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  2. We the People....

    There is a saying... what goes around, comes around. The Demoncrats threw a lot around, dissing Hillary (who by the way probably would not have got us in this mess since she was more of a moderate), and spewing hope and blah blah blah.

    Well, take a look folks because it is coming back at you!

    This administration and ALL politicians need to take a hard look at what they are doing. They are elected to represent the people of the United States of America! Do your jobs!

    January 24, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  3. FactCheck

    If you Tea-baggers (aka closet Republicans) think that the Dems are going to run as horrible a campaign as Coakley, you are the ones in for a rude shock. By the way, do you know what Scott Brown's voting record was on the Mass. health care plan? Yeah, that's what I thought... I guess it's not a talking point you were fed by Fox News.

    January 24, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  4. Vicente

    I think it's overlooked that while incumbents ALWAYS have the advantage maybe that the public is turning a bit against that. It's stupid to assume that this will work ONLY for one party or the other. Maybe next time some seat will flip from Red to Blue, will that be a "message to the GOP"? My Red friends are cackling with glee and sharpening their knives so when their takeover becomes complete they can bloody the floor. Perhaps it should just be a message that people still do want CHANGE it just may not mean EXACTLY what a particular reader thinks it does. An awful lot of CHANGE is delivered by independent voters who don't give a rat's behind what team jersey you are wearing as long as they like you.

    January 24, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  5. Greg

    The bottom line is we are in a recession and the voters are mad and watching the government like hawks. The republicans were soundly repudiated in the last election and now the democrats lost what little good will they had with the mainstream. The core reasons are that the big wall street firms that drove the economy off the cliff were able to do so as a result of their ever-growing influence on Congress and people don't like to see their leaders spending like addicts when they have to cut back on everything to get by. Only good centrist and cooperative behavior will be tolerated. If both parties keep up the polarized shananagans then a third party will eventually emerge.

    January 24, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  6. lou

    This is a sign of things to come. America has buyer remorse with Obama and his socialist cronies (Reed, Pelosi). If the Democrats or the Republicans think they don't have to answer to the people they just got a wake up call. I will hold accountable any politician who does not abide by the peoples wishes. I am an independent and will vote for who I think is best for me and the country not who is the best for his/her party.

    America is awake and very angry!

    January 24, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  7. MatthewDetroit

    DEMOCRATS have controlled BOTH houses for 3 years.

    The reason they cant get anything done is because they are TOO EXTREME and TOO FAR TO THE LEFT.

    They need to cut spending.
    They NEED TORT reform to cut the lawsuits.
    They need to allow medical coverage across state lines and choice of insurance companies as well as savings plans.

    THEY NEED TO STOP SPENDING. AMERICA WOULD AGREE THEN.

    January 24, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  8. Bob

    Dear Liz,

    I thought the democrats had control of congress for the past few years. I also thought it was B. Frank who among others pressured Fannie Freddie to loan money to people with bad credit. If you think that the wise ones pick a party and vote that way no matter what well, I guess you are a good democrat.

    January 24, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  9. rsclosangeles

    Independets are the ones whom politicians suck up to because we we rational ideas.

    January 24, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  10. Florence

    The rest of you Democrat Representatives be aware. We’re not your disciple like the republicans are to their party. You cross us once you’re out. We’re not going to sit and take it and be loyal to traitors.

    January 24, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  11. tag

    ha...ha...ha! so long to the kennedy dynasty! good riddence, it's about time for fresh ideas and thinking! the public is sick of the democratic give aways to undeserving lazy people...it's time for americans to take care of themselves and give up the hand outs. congrats to scott brown and the massachusetts people for a job well done!

    January 24, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  12. Florence

    There is no way that these Republican are going to extend their hand accrossthe aisle and hold the Democrats hand and work together for our best interest. Bullies don’t see the extended hand as a sign of friendship but as a sign of fear and defeat.

    January 24, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  13. ICARE - countdown to 2011

    Bring it on!!! See you in the voting booth!! We will really know who is for the people and who is not for the people...

    January 24, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  14. RC

    Government and Press – talk about "We the people..." It is, in fact, the people's seat. The people voted and spoke loud and clear. Tune in – we the people know what is best, and the bs spin is getting old. Buying votes, back door deals, by passing our system... etc. will not work today. Government really must lead and provide government for all people, not one side or their one sided viewpiont. Trying to push something through at any cost – not good, and we the people are on top of that one. A win for "We the people"

    January 24, 2010 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  15. Lance in Massachusetts

    Preferred it much more when the Tin Foil Hat party hated Massachusetts. Don't worry though – we still love Obama and will love him more as soon as his policies of correcting W's 8 years of incompetency start bearing fruit.

    Coakley took her election as a given and ignored voters. That's why the Demo's lost. Of course Party Tin Foil believes it's an ideological victory. Even they know it's not true and will prove it by not putting any money into the next presidential campaign here. But I hope they do.

    January 24, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  16. once upon a horse

    I normally vote Democrat and in a roundabout way this might be a GOOD thing that happened to them. They can WAKE UP and see what the country really wants, stop taking base voters for granted, and start the fight again because the GOP is NOT the dead elephant that they thought they might have been. The Dems and President Obama have a very ambitious agenda, most of it I think good for the American people, BUT they don't seem to know how to get the word out until it's too late. The GOP has used their same old weapon "FEAR and MIS-INFORMATION" and it always seems to work and the Dems haven't seem to caught on yet. I think they should have focused on the economy and slowly worked into the healthcare fray. The Mass. seat loss I think will come back and bite the voters there iin the long run. The DNC needs to get their focus back.

    January 24, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  17. Zaley

    People are soooo easily fooled. Massachusett voters are fools. I hope they get exactly what they voted for...nothing!

    January 24, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  18. Wanda

    Mass should be ashamed that THEY let all that Ted Kennedy stood for die with him !

    January 24, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
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