January 24th, 2010
05:30 PM ET
4 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. valwayne

    Obama and the Democrats show no signs of getting the message the voters of MA sent them on behalf of the nation. The arrogance and corruption looks set to go on and on and on! We will have to restore balance to our Government in Nov or the insanity will continue!!1

    January 24, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  2. Fitz in Texas

    Scott Brown said said it best......it's not Kennedy's seat, it's the people seat.

    January 24, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. Dianne IL

    I am from Illinois and the people of Massachusetts do not speak for me; nor do the talking heads. Scott Brown may be someone I would have voted for because I am an Independent and he claims he is not the typical Republican. I am still in Obama's corner because he inherited a huge, scary mess. It is not going to be solved in one year especially when some really negative loud mouthes are working against him and his desire to change Washington. Yes, he needs to demonstrate a stronger leadership style but the people of this country need to work together. Disagreements are part of the process of growth, but we can do it with intelligence and civility.

    January 24, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. MikeJ

    Yes and Massachusetts played Santa Claus.

    January 24, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. lifelong democrat

    PLEASE!!!!! Don't kid a kidder! Yeah right! A gift my foot! You all went into panic mode when Scott Brown a REPUBLICAN won the seat. It killed OBAMACARE, Nancy Pelosi don't have enough vote in her own house, Reid looks like a turkey drowning in the rain, Obama look DEFEATED. Who are you trying to fool?

    January 24, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  6. JD

    Yes, it is a gift. A gift to all of America to stop the national socialist abomination that is 0bamacare!

    The best part of this gift is that it's also forcing the Dems to cease their dictatorship-style brand of governing and actually LISTEN to their constituents instead of fringe groups that have no other goal apart from dragging America into the cesspool of socialist destruction.

    But the best is yet to come when 2010 and 2012 elections sweep these socialist bullies clean out of power!

    January 24, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. disgustedman

    I think S. Brown was correct in that we want a do-over. Let's get rid of the special interest groups. Basic and simple plan with no perks or backroom deals.

    January 24, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    We Independents sent a message to both parties. If you don't want to work FOR the citizens of the US, you will not last. No more Party First on either side. Reach across the isle, or get out. No more hate and fear. No more buying votes (the Corporations will be doing enough of that with all their money buying our legislators).

    January 24, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. TigerMil

    I think the loss of the 'Kennedy seat" is a gift that keeps on giving because the Dems will continue tø overreach. I believe Reid will lose his reelection bid in Nevada as well.

    As for Mass. being the bluest øf the blue states...I disagree. The great socialist republic of Maryland takes that dubious honor. Now, if Mikulski loses to a moderate progressive (LOL...oxymoron, that) Republican, THEN I will believe the millennium has truly arrived.

    January 24, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  10. mike in tx

    dems still don't get it. no socialist healthcare reform, no cap and trade, stop spending, and no tax increases. Except military, social security, and medicare the rest of the budget should be cut at least 30%. EPA and dept. of ed can be eliminated.

    January 24, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. 3rd party

    Only if they learn form it.

    January 24, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. terry,va

    Spin,spin and more spin. It will be a gift in November when 30-35 dumbocraps lose their job also.

    January 24, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. Ben

    He's right. It is a gift.

    It's a lesson to the Democrats. The Democrats were fundamentally misreading the 2008 election. They thought it was a mandate for a liberal agenda.

    It was not.

    This country remains mostly "centrist" and leans slightly right. That's been true for a very long time.

    However, in 2008 Americans said they were tired of being embarrassed by their leaders. We said we wanted a President who was thoughtful in private and articulate in public. We wanted a President that wasn't embarrassing in front of the International community.

    In 2008, Americans admitted that the President should be the smart guy in the room...not a frat buddy you pull college pranks with. That was what happened in 2008, but the Democratic Party misinterpreted the election as a mandate for universal health care, etc.

    Scott Brown is a gift to the Democratic Party, because he's an explanation of the psyche of the country – when 1 seat is at stake instead of all of Congress.

    January 24, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    The problem is now democrats are afraid of taking the measures to fix the mess. I do not see this as a gift, unless one views getting a flaming bag of republican manure thrown on your doorstep as a gift.

    January 24, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. Paul H

    It's funny how all of the sudden the "We're going to listen to the people" attitude is kicking in now. Why don't you just listen to the people from the beginning. And I'm talking about both parties.

    January 24, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  16. trueDEM

    the gop should thank oprah & ted kennedy cause the Dem in mass. would've won by a land slide if HILARY was in, & this may continue but Obama is doing a good job cleaning up the mess from bush/cheney DEMS are the best for the U S A

    January 24, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  17. Debby

    Brazile just quoted what Huffington said last week. I mean these liberals have excuse after excuse its pathetic. Obama isn't doing his job after Brazile, Huffington, and all the other liberals bowed to his feet.

    January 24, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. cmoore

    I agree, it is a gift to most Democrats that know that Americans strongly reject any move toward a Socialist America. Bill Cinton learned this and became successful working in a true bipartisan way. If Obama doesn't heed the same writing on the wall ,then, it is up to the Democrats to keep him in check. Blue dogs will now have an easier time trying to keep the governing more towards the middle. Republicans had some good ideas in healthcare but were kept out of talks. The era for blaming Bush for everything wrong now is now ringing hallow. The real question is – given that – what are you doing about it now? The answer is not Socialism, but real private sector job creation and by not taxing middle class families on their already costly health insurance or energy bills. The Bottom line is America can NOT hire everyone ,so do not kill or stiffle the area where Real job growth happens, THE PRIVATE SECTOR.

    January 24, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. gr

    This country will never make it if voters keep getting in the way with all their anger. Change can not happen in one year, but you can not tell some voters that.

    January 24, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. Dave Phillips

    Hey Brazile, deal with propaganda first. The Supreme Court decision last week is way more important than health care reform ever could be. Deal with that, otherwise the progressive movement hast lost the final battle to the moneychangers.

    January 24, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  21. Preston k

    Pkm i believe the people in mass wanted to get rid of ted and his familys power over mass they will be sorry the gop does not care about you

    January 24, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  22. Hammerer

    Nice that they feel that it was a gift because I think that they are in store for several more surprise gifts.

    January 24, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. gr

    Everybody and everybody news media give too much coverages to the Republicans party and the Dems message will never heard. People in this country are too quick to give up. It only been a year, and some voters are ready to go back to the Bush days. Just like in the bible days with Moses, people are too stupid to give change some time.

    January 24, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  24. deshard

    Brazile is right. Dems stand more to gain from it if they make the right moves between now and Nov. Brown never even mentioned in his print or TV ads that he's a GOPer. Why? Because all those Independents who voted for him and for Obama in '08 hate the GOP as much, if not more than the Dems.

    The moment Brown aligns himself with the obstructionist wing of the GOP and or starts attending C-Street "Family" meetings with Coburn and Inhofe, he'll be out as fast as he came in when he's up again in '12. Massachusetts, no matter how the GOP tries to spin it, is not Oklahoma.

    The nation wants to see change and cooperation and if the Democrats demonstrate their ability to listen and work from there, it will leave the GOP in the position of defending its glaring reputation as wanting nothing more than their party regaining power at the expense of the nation.

    I'm an Independent in CA and if given the chance I'd vote for Tom Campbell in the US Senate race. I'm fiscally conservative and socially moderate to liberal and I know there are far more out there like me than conservative GOPers and liberal Dems combined.

    We hold the cards.

    January 24, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. Hope to Change

    Yep!!! We'll give them some more in November. I'm glad they liked it.

    January 24, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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