Massachusetts Revisited

So, the election is over and the phrase “stunning upset” seems to be overused by every news outlet in the country. And truly, coming from a 30 point deficit to a 4 point lead in a matter of weeks is pretty amazing. Republican Senator Scott Brown now holds the Senate seat left open by Senator Ted Kennedy’s death and becomes the vote needed to break up the majority Democrats held to stop any filibusting by the Republicans.

We’ll be hearing for days what this means for the health care reform bill and November elections and the future of the independent party and what America really wants – yada yada yada. But instead, let’s take a look at what, in my opinion, really happened with this campaign.

Very simply – Scott Brown wanted it more than Martha Coakley. The man got in his pickup truck, drove around the state, and hung out with people. He got cold, he got wet, he got tired and he just kept going. Last night at his victory party, he told people from the stage that “he wasn’t going anywhere because he wanted to meet everyone.” He presented himself as “the people’s senator” and they believed him all the way up to the polls.

In yesterday’s Baltimore Sun, columnist Jonah Goldberg quoted Martha Coakley: When asked if her campaign style is too aloof, she snapped back: “As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park [the way Scott Brown does]? In the cold? Shaking hands?”

Who’s left out in the cold now, Martha?

Yesterday I spent part of my day watching a video of testimony presented by nurses at a Town Hall meeting we held in Detroit in December. The examples of minimal nurse staffing were horrendous. And I have to ask myself, at what point do we want Safe Patient Care legislation (HB 4008) to pass so badly that we’re willing to get into pickup trucks and drive across Michigan talking to people? Who wants to go stand in the rain at Comerica Park, shake hands and pass out information?

Many of the pollsters are saying that it was the voters’ discontent that changed this election. When will our discontent with staffing and mandatory overtime change our actions?

Come to the Michigan Nurses MARCH! on March 24 in Lansing. Let’s get a dialogue started. Bring your pickup truck.

One Other Thing – Know Your Sports!

CNN: David Gergen, a political analyst and CNN contributor also pointed to a major sports gaffe that might have hurt Coakley’s image in Red Sox nation. In a recent radio interview, she suggested that former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is a Yankees fan.

“When she was clueless the other day about who Curt Schilling was … you can imagine what that did,” Gergen said.


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