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. Keith Long

    Because of the loss by the Dems, Obama had a temper tantrum an threatened to taxes on banks and corporations. The result caused huge selloff on the stock market, costing those of us with 401ks and other retirement accounts and investments dearly. I hope those of you who voted for this clown lost a lot too.

    January 24, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Who said the Mayans were wrong?

    Bill finds it hard to hide his open contempt and rascist hatred for Obama.

    January 24, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Wayne

    Let's see if the Republicans make fun of "Massachusetts values" now, as in campaign 2004!

    January 24, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Mountain Dude

    This is pointless the Supreme Court has now given Corporations the last keys to our Democracy so we will be dictated to by their money and our Republic is dead. Welcome to the new fascist America where you can be free to say what you dare.

    January 24, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. Bubble of Sanity

    I really don't think anyone is listening yet.

    January 24, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. Chris

    This is a gift, and an opportunity–for Democrats TO BECOME CONSERVATIVE, FISCALLY AND SOCIALLY

    January 24, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. Mitchell from MS

    you think it hurts now? lol, wait until Nov. you are going to feel some real hurt in your party.

    January 24, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. dennispaul

    to Bob....very well written

    January 24, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  9. liz

    In addition to Coakley's phoned-in campaign and the traitorous dems who voted for Brown, i blame the independents who can't seem to make up their minds what they stand for. If you're an independent who votes your principles no matter which party the person who best represents your ideas belongs to, that's one thing. But it seems these days there are a bunch of lazy, impatient, stupid people who just vote against whoever the incumbent is, regardless of party or the circumstances surrounding the incumbents' successes or failures. Not even Superman could have fixed the mess the last 'administration' wrought on this country in one short year under the best of conditions. But trying to do it when the people who made the mess in the first place throw all their energy into stopping you, and offering no constructive solutions of their own, is virtually impossible. The people of this country need to remember who made the mess in the first place and who is trying to fix it, who is looking out for their interests and who just sold our democracy to the highest bidder. If they remember that and vote accordingly, we'll end up with far more Democrats in nov, not fewer.

    January 24, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  10. Nea

    People just dont get it a house thats divided cannot and willnot stand, The Republicans against the Democrats and vice-versa in congress they will never get anything done.So its not just the Democrats its the Reopublicans as well. Thats why our Employement rate is still high, HealthCare have not ben fixed and so on, You can blame all this on the President all you want but no President cando anything by himself it takes people working with him. And yes people are mad but complaning and staying mad is not going to bring jobs back or fix Health Care only PRAYER and our faith in GOD, so if you want to blame the President and politicians look at yourself and ask what im i doing if you are not Praying for them then you too are to blame!

    January 24, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. dennispaul

    gee, ya think the dems will include the reps now ?? I doubt it, they will wait till they really get whipped in mid 2010.

    January 24, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  12. Helene

    Scott Brown in the "people's seat"? Who is he trying to fool ? not me. The centerfold for Cosmopolitan does not speak for me. thank you.

    January 24, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. anthony

    Did Bennett read the poll on health care reform from CBS News on January 11? When people were asked about whether they think the reform goes far enough or too far, 32% said that the plan goes too far, 35% said it doesn’t go far enough and 22% said it is about right. In other words, 57 percent of the people surveyed want reform?

    January 24, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  14. Chris

    (I) – The Socialist I mean Democrats have already shown their true colors. Sorry boneheads, you had my vote last year, next year it back to (R)'s for me.

    January 24, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  15. RogerD

    Listening to the President's advisors this morning...They still don't get it! It may be time for the Prtesident to make some personel moves if he wants to gain back the confidence of the American peple.

    January 24, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  16. Jasmine in Germany

    It would be of benefit world wide if the people of the USA would become more educated. Too bad most of them aren't. For those US Americans who are unaware, the USA PISA rankings (international education) are quite low. It will take a generation of renewed education to get up to par with international standards. The battle between the parties (GOP comes to mind) is absurd and makes the USA weak. What a bunch of idiots. Do the right thing and follow the advice of your current president, you couldn't have a better one. Demand that your state leadership is bipartisan.

    January 24, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  17. Tom Klein

    Isn't Brazile the one who, during the Clinton administration, constantly refused, under oath, to answer senate questions about the gross liar, Hillary Clinton? Did Brazile perjure herself? Why is this devious person being quoted at all? I mean, her politics are so out of favor with the rest of the nation that she should just be tossed in the trash...as though anyone really cares what this moron has to say.

    January 24, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  18. Steve (the real one)

    I think liberals need to stop complaining about how the independents voted in Massachusetts. You fell in love with the independent voters in 2008! Obama would not and could not have won without them! You also seem to forget about the 25% of Dems who voted for Brown as well. Are they traitors? And to think you claim "Country over Party"! Hardly!

    January 24, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. Thanks

    A big thank you to the voters of Mass. for voting to stop the U.S. from
    becoming a welfare nation of do nothings.

    January 24, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  20. yen

    You cannot take any thing for granted. The Dems. did not work hard enough for Kennedy's seat. They thought it was a given. Now they have two years to work hard and reclaim it.What a lesson to learn.

    January 24, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  21. Bob in Pa

    THey don't get it, they just think they haven't been allowed to do enough of it.

    January 24, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  22. Dan

    Many more gifts and many happy non-returns!

    January 24, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  23. Sally

    I am so sick of hearing about arrogance...Obama bent over backwards to get the Republicans to come to the healthcare debate and compromise, but, no, they refused. In fact, he spent a lot of political capital wasting time with them. None of them wanted a public option. All they want is NO CHANGE at all. The bill which emerged was far too conservative. There should have been more change, not less, like the Republicans are after. Conservatives don't want to spend one dime on the American people. All they care about are wars and telling people what to do in their private lives, plus, the ability to walk all over people without government interference.

    January 24, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  24. Libertylover

    As i read the responses i am amazed at the folks who are sad the healthcare bill may not go thru and act like Obama and his lapdogs have Americas best interests at heart, I would love to sit down with them over a cup of coffee with the 2000+ page bill in front of us and go thru all the mandates and "you shalls " and have them tell me how running the country into the ground is good for it????? I have read and studied and compared the bill to the founders intents and found the bill to be totally unconstituitional, non-freemarket, big government, full of tax increases, and for the life of me i dont understand how any American can sign on to anything that puts you into a box and throws away the key.. But today the news said someone on an american airline at altitude tried to open the door till other passengers grabbed him and stuffed him into a seat, so....... i guess it takes all kinds to make the world go around eh??

    January 24, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  25. Right Leaning Independent

    Sure it hurt. Now the Dems can not ram their stupid liberal handout agenda down the American taxpayer's thoats!

    January 24, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
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