January 20, 2010

Dazed Dems rethink strategy after Massachusetts loss

Posted: 03:51 PM ET

Note: Larry King Live will have the latest tonight on the fallout from the Massachusetts special election. That's at 9ET/6PT. Don't miss it!

By Jim Vandehei and Mike Allen via Politico

Scott Brown has turned this town upside down.

Usually, the tendency among political reporters and operatives alike is to overreact and overinterpret elections.

 And there are caveats to the stunner in Massachusetts. Yes, this was a special election, which often produces unusual results. Yes, Democrat Martha Coakley ran a timid, sometimes terrible, campaign for Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat. And it’s true that Massachusetts is not as liberal as many people assumed.

But none of that counters the stunning reality of an election where breathtaking results more than justify breathless analysis. Here’s why:

The lock is broken

There is no way for Democrats to spin an upside to losing their 60th vote in the Senate.

Without it, the health care bill that passed one month ago with 60 votes would go down today. Same goes for any other bill Republicans decide to torpedo with unity, obstruction or whatever one wants to call zero votes.

 There are ways Democrats can jam through the current health care bill with procedural tricks or legislative creativity. But what seemed a certainty a week ago feels unlikely today. Don't take the word of Republicans or even reporters on this one. Listen to what Democrats are saying as they appraised the results overnight:

 Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) told a local reporter, “It’s probably back to the drawing board on health care, which is unfortunate.” Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.) told MSNBC this morning he will advise Democratic leaders to scrap the big bill and move small, more popular pieces that can attract Republicans. And Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) said his leadership is “whistling past the graveyard” if they think Brown’s win won’t force a rethinking of the health care plan.

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), who now might draw a challenge from Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), said the party needs to rethink its entire approach to governing.

The fear is unleashed

Any Democrat with even the faintest fear of a tough race in 2010 is rattled. It was easy for some to rationalize the defeats in New Jersey and Virginia last year — and even the flood of polls showing bad news since then.

They are in denial no more: If Democrats can lose in Massachusetts, they can lose anywhere. That is the mind-set that will shape the next nine months for Democrats. It will affect who runs for reelection, who bolts on big votes, who gives money and who speaks out against Obama. All of this will make governing harder.

The focus has been on the special election for the past week. But Democratic insiders were equally concerned about other signs of trouble that got insufficient notice: Polls show Democrats could lose the New York Senate seat, Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson’s favorable ratings plummeted in Nebraska, new polls showed Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio) trailing badly in his swing district, and Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) is in a statistical tie and in more trouble than previously expected.


Filed under: Larry King Live • Obama • Politics • Politics is King

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Jean paul   January 20th, 2010 4:03 pm ET

Now things are clear. U.S senat race is not a referendum on health care reform but on Obama. This election demonstrates that Americans in spite of everything are racists. They have chosen Obama in november 2008 only to do the dirty job: preventing U.S economy from a certain collapse. Now Americans are more confident in their economy, then they want no more an African-american for president. Be that as it may, Obama is great, competent, exceptional and the rest of the world like him. Too bad for those Americans who dont like him.

Don   January 20th, 2010 4:11 pm ET

This is sad moment for the country. This is a slap in the face for Ted Kennedy hard work.
The GOP, the teabaggers and some Americans seem to forget How we got into this mess that we are in. Since we are blaming the PRESIDENT for the lack of employment opportunities and everything else….Consider this

You know the true measure of a Real Man who has character and integrity admits when they have done wrong. That said, there is a group of politicians, citizens, liars, cheats, who are greedy, selfish, racist, and uninformed, who want to conveniently place this mess that we call the United States at the feet of our current President, Mr. Obama. It is likened to setting a group of fires, and waiting on the fire department to arrive, and claim to have no knowledge as to how the fires were started, but at the same time, they secretly cut off the water supply so that the firemen are unable to put out the fires. Such as it is with President Obama. He took office about a year ago, and has had to contend with racism, bigotry, hate, people plotting his demise, a powerful media machine of racists intent on destroying his image, when all his goal was, was to attempt to pull America from the brink of destruction that resulted from Republican policies led by Bush laws.

Rob   January 20th, 2010 4:12 pm ET

Some Democrats are apathetic. Mass is a blue state, yet the Republicans rallied their base and got out the vote. This seems an intentional denial by the voters in that state to kill any shot at health care reform. Unfortunately, we didn't do enough to educate people on the real impact of doing nothing. Oh well, like I said after Bush was re-elected, the apathetic public will get what it deserves, and they did!

Rick   January 20th, 2010 4:14 pm ET

The Republicans took eight years to destroy this country and some Americans are impatient and they don't realize it may take just as long or longer to get this country back up and running. I pray the Democrats regroup and pull it together for all of our sakes!!

Lena   January 20th, 2010 4:21 pm ET

This was a major slap in the face to Ted Kennedy. I am sad that this happened.

I think the Massachusetts election was not a referendum on healthcare reform and the administration. The state already have universal healthcare so they don’t care about the rest of the country . People are afraid of change, and its really sad because this country is taking a step backward!! We need healthcare reform now!! Its will be a shame if big insurance companies win this battle. Health care will remain the same and get more expensive, pre-existing conditions will not be covered and millions more will be without healthcare. I forgot, that is the GOP way!

That is why we cannot afford to wait to rally people to vote for Tuesday Nov. 2,2010 elections. Look at what is going on n Massachusetts. This is going to be a bad trend. ... See More
The GOP and Teabaggers don’t really care about the country . They are only interested in defeating the President himself, anything that he does will be scrutinized.

eJay   January 20th, 2010 4:57 pm ET

The people of Mass are modern day redcoats, or may I say turncoats. What a disgrace.

Jim Kerwin   January 20th, 2010 5:05 pm ET

I wonder why all the Republicans are onboard, and should be, to provide health care for Haitians but are so against providing health care for those of no means that are AMERICANS? Much like when Republicans are so quick to be anti free choice for abortion and so quick to take life from an alledged criminal. Ironic don't you think!

Cecil   January 20th, 2010 5:24 pm ET

Mass. has a health care plan. So go figure-they obviously don't care about those that do not have insurance and that is only reason Brown won!! I thought health care reform and ins. is what the majority voted for? Our country has its own Alzheimer problem along with being brain dead.

Brian   January 20th, 2010 5:29 pm ET

Kuddos to MA for electing a sexist and a bigot Senator. I wonder if a woman had posed in playboy naked would she be taken seriously in the senate. I think Mass. has a problem with misogyny, they seem to have a hard time electing women to anything in a statewide election. Nobody is talking about Brown nude picture this GOP candidate did, If that were a female she would never have even been considered for US Senate. I think Mass. has a problem with misogyny, they seem to have a hard time electing women to anything in a statewide election.

People are forgetful, fickle, impatient and ill informed and are quick to switch. The Republicans took eight years to destroy this country and some Americans are impatient and they don't realize it may take just as long or longer to get this country back up and running People are very vulnerable with the economy in a turmoil! What people fail to realize is who got the economy like this and it's improving but will take some time.
I don't think MA, VA, NJ spoke for the American people.
The Republicans and some Dems have made it painfully clear that they don't intend to work with the President on anything. President Obama has tried even to the detriment of his base to bring Republicans on board and they refuse. Anybody that thinks these lying Republicans are truly looking for bipartisanship is crazy. They use that as their excuse to hold up everything.
It is a shame that people are putting their political persuasion first before their country.

Gerald Jolly   January 20th, 2010 5:38 pm ET

In the final analysis, Brown is what the gloating Republican are.

What color is s!@#$%^T "BROWN.

Lisa   January 20th, 2010 5:43 pm ET

I was a little disappointed! This is a big slap in the face for Ted Kennedy and the rest of the country.
The manner in which the GOP and its affiliates like Fox, Rush and Glenn Beck have been scaring White America like President Obama is the anti-christ it does not surprise me! People are very vulnerable with the economy in a turmoil! What people fail to realize is who got the economy like this and it's improving but will take some time!

dak   January 20th, 2010 6:01 pm ET

The Freedom train is rolling now . . . soon to upset (unseat) another Big Government Democrat near you!!

A. Smith, Oregon   January 20th, 2010 6:02 pm ET

The American public can expect filibusters blocking Senate legislation, and continued blocking and obstruction efforts by the Republican Senators for any meaningful changes in the course of America's future during the next 10 months.

I hope the Democratic party leaders have learned from this:

1) Many voters are disappointed and angry at the State of ruin that Bush-Cheney plunged America into and Republican Populists like Scott Brown attempt to tap into that anger and misdirect that against the Democratic Party and President Obama.

If the Republican Party and the Republican Lawmakers are not able to pass bills that fill their corporate masters, Big Health Insurance, Big Pharma and Big Oil's pockets, they have no ideas nor any solutions.

The Republican party is entirely transparent, it is the supposed Trickle Down theory which Democrats have repeatedly proven DOES NOT WORK.

The Democratic Party needs to repeatedly tell the American public that Trickle Down theory's does not work, NONE of the Billions poured into the Republican lawmaker sponsors reaches the middle and lower class American people who are suffering.

NONE of the hundreds of Billions poured into the Republican lawmaker sponsors pockets has rebuilt America's dilapidated public highways, transportation, public schools, public library's and our nations electrical grid.

Scott   January 20th, 2010 6:09 pm ET

The Repubs are willing to ignore the problem because the insurance companies are in their pockets. That's why they wanna offer tax cuts and give us money instead of getting the insurance companies to drop prices. People hear that and they think its great, but its not.
It's just further fueling the big boys. Ideally, the Democrats want a single ... See Morepayer, or "socialist" system. That would accomplish 2 main goals of covering everybody and dropping costs. But they can't do that because A) it would never pass because its against our "principles" and B) we have far too many people and not enough doctors to make that work efficiently. It's a big mess

Leon   January 20th, 2010 6:18 pm ET

This is a big setback for the country. Mass.... already have healthcare and they are saying to hell with everybody else.
The Meek Shall Parrish, and the Rich will Survive! I guess people are sold on being sold out to big corporate idiots!

Unbelievable, when is Americans going to stop being brainwashed sheeps and realize the GOP and the big corporations don't give a damn about they sick family who cannot afford healthcare.

Carla   January 20th, 2010 6:34 pm ET

Americans vote for those who promise the world. Then, they expect results the very next day. This pattern is so consistent/predictable and at the same time, so scary. If a problem evolved during the course of eight years (Bush years), correcting such problem/s, one would think, would take a few years to rectify.

Last Monday, a Massachussetts male resident said the following on tv: "We voted for Obama to fix the economy and he hasn't fixed it yet. This is why I'm voting for Brown."

The other problem was Coakley's campaign style. Democrats will never, ever, ever, ever, learn their lesson. Every campaign should be ran as if it was the last, as if we were losing, as if our very lives depended on it. Start campaigning agressively and end it in the same manner.

Keith   January 20th, 2010 6:38 pm ET

From HOPE to CATASTROPHE! I guess Massachusett's felt they had to get one up on Connecticut for voting Lieberman back in! Seen some MA senior's on t.v. that just voted themselves into medical bankruptcy just because they didn't understand the plan??

sam   January 20th, 2010 6:40 pm ET

Nobody ever went broke underestimating the America public. Anxious for reform, the people have irrationally elected yet another big business toady from the party of the racist GOP. America seems to have decided to self-destruct rather than become a fairer, gentler nation. This is not the path to making that Best Country in the World we so often brag about. It is the path to ruin.

lee   January 20th, 2010 6:44 pm ET

Hmmmm, so the Massachusetts voters were angry about what's going on in Washington D.C., thus voted in a Republican??? Do they also shoot themselves in the foot if things aren't going their way?

joe   January 20th, 2010 6:48 pm ET

I can't believe how stupid the voter's in Ma. are!! Well their should have been a Kennedy to fill that seat anyway!! Where are all those Kennedy kids, I bet Ted Kennedy would be so disappionted!! The Lion in the Senate, You Democrates should be ashamed of yourselfs for letting that legacy die.

West   January 20th, 2010 7:00 pm ET

it wouldn't hurt for the president to actually stand up and fight for his ideals–instead of trying to compromise with a bunch of loonies racist that have vowed his political downfall.

It's obvious that the GOP don't give a damn about the average American and yet they are still being brainwashed by the Beck, rush limgbaugh and the teabaggers. The GOP did not give a damn 8 years ago what make the people think they going to care now.

sue   January 20th, 2010 7:19 pm ET

it's a sad day for the country . The country is in dire need of healthcare reform. I hope that the dems realize, in order to win,they have to excite their base,stand their ground and stop trying to compromise with the GOP when they don't want the country to succeed.

You got to remember they are all determinded to do one thing,and ... thats defeating Obama and his ideas,and its sad that looks like they have the upper hand at least for now!!
I hope people on top start doing what they have done over and over and fix it before Nov,because if they dont,you dont want to live in the Country that is run by a bunch of teabaggers and racist the majority

Carolyn   January 20th, 2010 8:18 pm ET

I still support Obama wholeheartedly and I am a white woman. Anyone who expected him to solve all the problems of the world in a year must be high on something cause no one could do that. The mess that he inherited will take years to sort out....Yet he is still trying to continue with programs that help the american people while digging out of this mess. People are so weird in their expectations....makes me wonder about the intelligence of the average american voter. And Independents are acting 'wishy washy'..."If I don't get what I want right now then I will stop supporting you." How terribly unrealistic and childish.

LacrosseMom(the real one)   January 20th, 2010 8:37 pm ET

I am disgusted with Massachusetts for handing the GOP a victory last night. Of course, MA has healthcare so they could careless about the rest of their fellow citizens!

How very sad, that in ONE year America has forgotten WHO got us into the Great Recession in the first place!

IF America gives the Congress back to the GOP in November, we are truly ...... idiots!

PaulG (California)   January 20th, 2010 10:25 pm ET

Mary Matalin – what were you not thinking?

Positioning yourself in an auditorium with a live speaker while being interviewed live with Larry?

eJay   January 20th, 2010 10:48 pm ET

We will continue to get screwed by the Insurance Industry, that's what a Brown victory means to me.

CHARLIE   January 20th, 2010 10:57 pm ET


June   January 20th, 2010 11:58 pm ET

This loss should not have been a surprise. Look to the incestuous and expanding relationships with financial institutions including insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, lobbyists. Fighting 2 wars which the country cannot afford. Wall Street mess. Health Care mess. Free trade mess. Neck-deep in debt to Saudia Arabia, China and others. Sickening job losses. Inadequate attention to the foreclosure problem. Waste of tax dollars on stimulus – who has this benefitted. USA now a police state. Lack of ideas to effect progressive change. Etc., etc.

Why is Obama afraid to say: "You're FIRED". This is not the time to be conciliatory; kick ass.

June   January 20th, 2010 11:59 pm ET

This loss should not have been a surprise. Look to the incestuous and expanding relationships with financial institutions including insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, lobbyists. Fighting 2 wars which the country cannot afford. Wall Street mess. Health Care mess. Free trade mess. Border security incompetence. Neck-deep in debt to Saudia Arabia, China and others. Sickening job losses. Inadequate attention to the foreclosure problem. Waste of tax dollars on stimulus – who has this benefitted. USA now a police state. Lack of ideas to effect progressive change. Etc., etc.

Why is Obama afraid to say: "You're FIRED". This is not the time to be conciliatory; kick ass.

janette tx   January 21st, 2010 4:17 am ET

TRUE THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gerald Jolly   January 21st, 2010 8:32 am ET

Republicans show their true color "BROWN"

You know they've got to be very desperate when they would have a former "CENTERFOLD SWEETIE PIE" representing their party.


AH! I guess when you're desperate any way you can win is O.K.


Sharon   January 21st, 2010 9:36 am ET

It time American become more patriotic and unite to help this economy
we are all blaming the Democrats for spending but we must first realise that there are companies that are still sending American jobs oversees because people are just greed and lover of oneself. Instead of blaming why not give solutions.

Brenda McHenry   January 21st, 2010 1:22 pm ET

I am so sad to see what is happening with our government. I never blog so I am not sure what I am doing but I just had to comment on your show of 01/20/10 and the comment made by the Republican commentator I am not sure of her name but it was sad to hear that she does not believe the health care problem is as bad as some people think it is. I think she made it sound like any body who really wanted health care could receive it. I would like to challenge her to give up her wealth for a year, give up her health insurance, and live on a salary of $12.00 and hour for a year. I think she should either pay for her own insurance or even better use the county sponsored hospitals to receive her medical care and if after a year she still feels like people are just whining about health care I will listen to her. I think the Congress as a whole should made to go through a year of no health insurance, a salary of $12.00 an hour for a year and then maybe they would work together on getting the lest fortunate health care.

Gerald Jolly   January 21st, 2010 1:35 pm ET


You are more right than you can imagine.

I believe it is a greater insult to Teddy Kennedy, when a centerfold jerk is elected to replace him.

His comment about his two daughters show the man's true colors

Quote: "My two daughters?? oh! yes they're available.

Words from a person that has little respect for womanhood.

Evan Coffield   January 21st, 2010 1:40 pm ET

Rebuild Haiti, Rebuild Iraq, Rebuild New Orleans, Rebuild this country first!!! Entropy vs. Intrastructure Deteroriation

Where are the bulldozers, cranes and all the unemployed united states carpenters to rebuild Haiti?
Why don't we ask Saudi Arabia or Dubai to help out they have trillions of dollars in assets.
Dubai has 25% of the worlds cranes. Haiti could sure use a few cranes, bulldozers and thousands of mobile homes shipped to them. Bulldoze Port a Prince and start all over again.
Oh, wait we still haven't rebuild the twin towers and yet Dubai cranks out a few dozen skyscrapers a year. oh, They still haven't rebuild or torn down all the homes in New Orleans yet. But, we still have those hundreds of 900 sq. ft mobile homes than have toxic levels of formaldehyde. Don't' we all love bureaucracy.

Evan Coffield   January 21st, 2010 1:43 pm ET

People are tired of Taxachusetts and their desire that solutions to all problems are taxation. That is why Britain taxed us right!
We have such an inverted pyramid of government management. There are thousands of chiefs and sub-chiefs but few indians to acutally get work done. Everything is always in a commitee to be discussed. There needs to be balance even with Democrats and Republicans. Where is the Wig and Federalist party when you need them the most?

Evan Coffield   January 21st, 2010 1:49 pm ET

Blame Game - Bushmaster and Lord Shady really fraked up this country. Half of the amendments to the constitution were violated under his watch. Get rid of the Un-Patriot Act. It is wrong and immoral violation of our civil rights. This Health care bill will do the same thing.
Solution -– Roll back all insurance rates, malpractice insurance, liability insurance etc... to 1980 levels and freeze all health care costs.
All hospitals and doctors have Keyguides that are published with recommended charges for all medical procedures, and operations. This is the same type of priceguide that grocery stores have to approximate how much to charge for groceries, I used this years ago when I worked in a grocery with canned goods. It publishs all prices for the major retailers.
Reverse 50% of all manufacturing jobs, provide tax incentives or tax penalties for percentage of outsourcing of jobs.
Mandate the building of 5,000 desalination plants starting in Haiti and the rest of this country.

dak   January 21st, 2010 2:39 pm ET


do you mean like:

Bill Clinton and Monica

John Edwards and Ms Hunter

or like

Teddy and Mary JO?

jeffrey mees   January 21st, 2010 3:06 pm ET

Larry, last night you stated,and i quote, "everyone is for universal healthcare". this statment is not true. healthcare is a personal responsability, not a right! i take good care of myself by exersising, eating right, not smoking, not using drugs. my neighbor, however, is obese, chain smokes, drinks heavily, and watches t.v. all day. my healthy lifstyle keeps me from needing constant medical care and does not obligate me to pay for my neighbors poor health choices. universal healthcare requires me to pay for his health insurance, do you truly belive that this is right?

Gerald Jolly   January 21st, 2010 5:14 pm ET

@ dak

You have to admit that it's only PUGLICANS that pray on the young interns in Washington.


Were you a young intern that was victimized by a PUGLICAN??

Is that why you are displaying so much excitement at the news that MR. CENTERFOLD is coming to Washington.

I'm sorry DICKY DAK but you're going to have to wait your turn, the same as his two daughters did.


JamesB   January 21st, 2010 8:42 pm ET


dady11   January 21st, 2010 10:01 pm ET

Most unfortunate for the Democrats, the Republicans are organizing and are lining up for a preemptive attack like a bunch of sharks. Republican Senators will filibuster and/or block everything in order to stall until the next elections. The Supreme Court is rolling back campaign spending limits! What does that mean? It means that there is less division between government and big corporate America. Large Corporations can now pump millions maybe billions of dollars insuring the elected politicians will be in their ‘back pocket” Secondly, Lobbyists are now going underground; whereas, they can buy politicians to vote for their cause, not the American people. What does this mean? This means corporations will have control over our politicians, ultimately the government.

Dodie   January 21st, 2010 10:39 pm ET

We could conceivably be:

A corporation owned government!!!!

How does that sound??? I think it stinks

Kristin   January 22nd, 2010 3:36 pm ET

We don't have a Healcare Crisis! "We have a disease management crisis, or damage control." ....people are personally responsible for their health and well being, as soon as they become aware that they are personally responsible for their health and well-being. You cannot over eat, drink alcohol, smoke, and not exercise, and expect to be in good health, its that simple....over 22 million Americans are addicted to drugs/alcohol...are you part of the solution or part of the problem? Many corporations provide preventative care programs to assist in keeping their employees healthy and keeping premiums low. Personally I think that a tax credit should be given to those who work diligently to maintain good health, but I doubt that will happen, it makes too much sense... it would cost the doctors and drug companies too much money....People continue to abuse their bodies, and expect everyone else to dig them out of the mess that they created! Every illness and disease is Energy based, as we are all made entirely of Energy. Many create their own problems....Wake up and smell the RX people! Epi-genetics states that you are not a victim of your genes....the mind controls the genes....educate yourself on maintaining your own are responsible.

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