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. Elmer

    Interesting the DEMS seem to be saying that while they were in complete control they were NOT doing right by the American people...witness this bozo pointing out the need to "get back to the basics, to deliver for the American people the change we promised them in 2008." Why do we all put up with this simply because we are affiliated with a particular party. A wise man once said: Absolute power corrupts absolutely!!

    January 24, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. Melissa

    Democrats, has it taught you to work together? Probably not. Because the so called Blue Dogs are still just Republicans in all but name, and the rest of you are too busy bickering among yourselves to get anything done. You're a bunch of whiny children. When we were in school, you were the ones getting picked on by bully's. Well this time the Rethugs are the bully's. Its time to tell the bully's to kiss your butt, work together, and get things done whether the bully's want you to or not and despite the wafflers.

    January 24, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  3. JT the Show Me State College Freshman

    I have an idea that I thought of on my own regarding the economy, environment, and our issue of partisanship right now: Here it is:
    To achieve a sustainable global economy, it is necessary that we:
    1. Develop an effective population-control strategy. This will, at least, require more education of people since literacy and population growth are inversly related.
    2. Completely restructure our energy programs. A sustainable global economy is probably impossible is it is based on use of fossil fuels. New energy plans will utilize the concept of an integrated energy policy, with more emphasis on renewable energy sources, solar and wind for example. Finally, conservation of energy must have a central place in our energy managment plans.
    3. Institute economic planning, including development of a tax structure that will encourage population control and wise use of resources. Financial aid for developing countries is absolutely necessary to narrow the gap between rich and poor nations.
    4. Implement social, legal, political, and educational changes that provide for maintenance of a quality local, regional, and global environment. This must be a serious commetment that all the people of the world will cooperate to achieve.
    Stating that we wish to develop a sustainable future acknowledges that our present practices are not sustainable. Indeed, continuing in our present paths of overpopulation, resource consumption, and pollution will not lead to sustainabliity. To remain a superpower well into this century and into the next, we have to reform our economy to run independently on clean, renewable energy. That will generate economic and job growth like we have never seen before. This is just my idea.

    January 24, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. Joanne

    Donna Brazile is living in and perpetuating a state of denial. It was absolutely a repudiation of the arrogant Obama administration who do exactly as they please without regard to the preferences of the voters and without regard for all of the committments that were made as part of the campaign. There has never been a more "tone deaf"
    administration.

    January 24, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. That's right......

    so start focusing on the economy, jobs, and stop coddling terrorists.......get off Obamacare, cap and trade and those ridiculous stimulus plans....

    If you do this, you have a chance in November and 2012....otherwise start packing.....

    January 24, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. Will-bho- regain the magic...?

    The answar is: "NO"...The magic is out of the hat and on the run....The only magic Obama really had is the ability to deliver great speeches; but what happened back then to candidate Obama's speeches the
    world and America watched the speeches and were not listening to the messages. Now, America is listening to Pres. Obama's scheeches and see that there is no Obama magic: :Change we can believe....hope we can see...and Yes I can..." We were duped the Obama machine with nothing more than..."SLOGANS"

    .......................................can or cannot...to be or not to be..........................

    January 24, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. rodeo clown

    I agree with Donna Brazile. It indeed is an OPPORTUNITY for the Democratic party to analyze and "tweek" any part of their agenda that needs improvement and/or "change". I also am pleased to know that David Plough is also reenergizing his "grass roots movement" for the upcoming 2010 elections. I think that is an EXCELLENT decision, to get voters re-energized and "back on track". What I like about this Administration is that they admit mistakes they have made, and are not "narcisstic" in their thinking. They truly are working hard for the best interests of the American people.

    January 24, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. coffeeTime

    Conflict of interest. What's best for a political party vs. what's best for our country. When the Republicans were in power, does anybody really think that the Democrats wished them success? Now that the shoe is on the other foot, does the story line change? C'mon. The Democrats WANTED "The Surge" in Iraq to fail, and fail spectacularly. The Republicans WANT any and all of Obama's policies to fail. It is nothing but a political game of road rage – can't say who started it, but citizens see two cars speeding down the road, passing on corners and shoulders, riding bumpers and putting everyone's lives in danger. Sadly, party before country is where we are today with our crop of politicians.

    January 24, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. T'SAH from Virginia

    Along with the ADS that flooded MA by the RNC for BROWN – CNN and other MEDIA built BROWN up and gave FREE Advertisement by mentioning CONSTANTLY and REPEATEDLY that BRWON is going to WIN!!! This is NOT an excuse for the democrats who did not get out to vote for this reason!!

    YES – it's a wakeup call. The REPUBS are going to BRAG about "how they stopped the democrats" and now they are going to CLAIM a VICTORY for not what ALL Americans want – THAT'S THE WAKE UP CALL!!

    January 24, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. Louis

    Yes, it may have been a gift for the Republicans.

    However, we still have a health care crisis. Yes, people are happy with their health care. However, health care costs are doubling every 10 years!!! This rate of growth cannot continue for Medicare. At this rate, no one except the rich will have health care. Yes, we need to go back to the drawing board but people are fooling themselves if they think the problem is going away.

    President Obama needs to narrow his focus a bit. What can he do now to help people get back to work? Is it another stimulus program? If so, how much? How soon? Can it be tax cuts? If so, how much? How about loans for small businesses, who are doing most to the hiring? How can we help those folks out and put Americans back to work? We have many issues to face and the American public demands answers. Democrats and Republicans both need to go back to work for the AMERICAN people, not the Republican or Democratic parties.

    January 24, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. LibertyRay

    Will they never understand why this happened? Karma, baby. First they trashed and tried to destroy Hillary with their unethical tactics. Then they acted like corrupt thugs this past year. It is all coming back at them. And it is sweet to watch.

    January 24, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  12. lovable liberal

    I question why CNN thinks we should pay any attention to either of these pundits.

    January 24, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  13. Dinah

    Scott Brown is a male Sarah Palin. The Republicans are so desperate they would choose a man, and his family, who have exhibited such loose moral values. So much Republicans "Christian Moral Values"!

    January 24, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  14. as

    The problem is that the American people do not trust Obama anymore and do not want to pay for his socialist "change" when their country is bankrupt. I hope he heeds the advice of the left that he needs to push harder for health care reform because then he will definitely be a one-term President. One term of Obama is enough

    January 24, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  15. Nimises

    Sure, give the republicans another "No" vote. Sounds reasonable given the fact that the american people want change, the republicans want Big Business and every step the president makes is countered an spun to the far right. So, the people voted Obama? No problem, we will just make him fail at everything so we can get back in power to reap the money from corporate lobbyistsan allowing them to price gouge consumers and run rampant on Wall Street. Great thinking voters in MA.

    January 24, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  16. Donald Edmond, Esq.

    Donna Brazille, the floundering, incompetent campaign manager for VP Al Gore in the 2000 Presidential election is hardly a source for credible information on success, but she does have a lot of experience failing and being a loser.

    If Brazille hadn't been in charge, George W. Bush wouldn't have become the 43rd President of the United States.

    African Americans like me are tiring of seeing Donna Brazille spewing nonsense on CNN as if she is the only person capable of voicing an informed opinion. The only thing we can be certain of when Donna Brazille speaks is that whatever she says will be wrong. That's change I don't believe in...never did.

    January 24, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  17. bmw

    To understand the political anger that all the pundits are talking about, look at the lies disseminated by Fox and other rightwing "news" sources, along with the hysteria they encourage. Look at the teabagger rallies of screamers funded by the insurance industry. Then look at the mainstream media that amplifies all the conflict because it pleases their advertisers. They've turned the future of America into a game of survivor.

    President Obama is a great man and could lead this country back to greatness if Americans would only let him.

    January 24, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  18. Nancy G

    Bill Bennett your being an air head. What has your party offered, nothing but no. Both sides are about who's side wins or loses. We need a viable independent candidate that put citizens first before party. This former Mass resident isn't pleased with what happened in that state.They got their health care (97% insured) forget every one else. I won't spend one dime or time in Mass.

    January 24, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  19. janranch

    If after all the comments on the blogs over the past week don't tell a story nothing will. the Americans are up in arms, and mad as hell and will not take this administrations lies anymore. It really does not matter what we all write on this web sites.....its what the voters do at the polls and believe me we have acorn and the thugs out numbered. Obama is finished, despite all the bluster and blubbering.

    January 24, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  20. Ms S Callahan

    While they sit at their imitation desks for their 'group' meetings...they are trying to come up with the 'reasons why' and 'how we can change'....it's a farce. The true fact is...yes voters are angry...angry that they are saying we don't want abortion protected in our country we don't want someone dictating what we can eat, so forth and so forth up to the biggest issues....how our monies (tax) monies are being spent. Fact is...this wasn't a human gift..it was a gift from God to get this country in order.......give the credit where it's due!

    January 24, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  21. Michael Carr

    Get a life! it is precisely the 'change we promiced in 2008' that lost you the election in Mass.

    January 24, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  22. Ken

    Hey Donna B. the voters will have some more gifts for you in November. The American people want one thing – responsible government. We are in a financial hole. We need Congress to stop digging. The Republicans were irresponsible with the tax payers dollars under Bush. The Democrats have shown that they are 10 times worse.

    January 24, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  23. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    "...we lost a very important seat, a very important vote,”

    Who's this "we," Donna? The Democrats may have lost the seat, but the American people gained one–and just off hand, I'd say that was a big win for the country.

    “It’s a disappointment. It hurts like hell. I can’t tell you how much it hurts."

    No, it doesn't hurt at all, and the American people aren't disappointed at all. In fact, a majority are pleased. Which is more important? A victory for a Democrat? Or a victory for democracy?

    January 24, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. Sue

    The majority in the country are hoping that Brazille, Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the Democrats-–keep on keep'n on-–just like they have been-–as it will make the whoop'n that they are going to get in November that much easier.

    Even after the whoop'n that they got in Massachusetts--they are still CLUELESS.

    Scott Brown ran AGAINST everything that is part of the Obama Admin's policies/agendas-–and he won. He ran AGAINST--amnesty for illegals, Obamacare, Cap and Tax energy Bill, lawyers for terrorists, closing Gitmo, bringing terrorists to the US for civilian trials, late term/partial birth abortions, etc.---and some of the Democrats still do not get it. Can they really be this clueless??

    If this did not wake up the Democrats--NOTHING will. And, I--just like the majority in the country-–cannot wait until the 2010 elections get here.

    January 24, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. Robert

    Most painful to me is that it had to be Massachusetts. Any other state would have hurt less, but to have the 41st Republican vote that will probably kill any meaningful health care reform come from Ted Kennedy's seat... It's just heartbreaking. That's the one issue that meant the most to him, and it's not only being smashed into little bits, it's being done from his own vacated seat. The people of Massachusetts are cold blooded. They voted for the man for so many years and apparently liked the job he was doing, what he stood for. Then the next year after his death, they act like he and his causes never existed. Perhaps it's true that the election in Mass. was won by the Republican because everyone in that state already has good health care. Perhaps they don't care about anyone but themselves.

    January 24, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
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