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Why Coakley Losing Won’t Matter That Much

By Matthew Yglesias on January 19, 2010 at 8:19 pm

"Why Coakley Losing Won’t Matter That Much"

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Everything I’m hearing points toward a Coakley loss. If you want to simultaneously infuriate yourself, and also console yourself that this isn’t substantively that big a deal, read this:

Even before the votes are counted, Senator Evan Bayh is warning fellow Democrats that ignoring the lessons of the Massachusetts Senate race will “lead to even further catastrophe” for their party. [...] “It’s why moderates and independents even in a state as Democratic as Massachusetts just aren’t buying our message,” he said. “They just don’t believe the answers we are currently proposing are solving their problems. That’s something that has to be corrected.” [...] “ The only we are able to govern successfully in this country is by liberals and progressives making common cause with independents and moderates,” Bayh said. “Whenever you have just the furthest left elements of the Dem party attempting to impose their will on the rest of the country — that’s not going to work too well.”

Infuriated yet?

Okay. Now just consider that the guy who said this is one of the 60 Democratic votes. Suppose Coakley surprises everyone and squeaks out a narrow victory. Does this sound to you like Evan Bayh will jump for joy and start talking about how eager he is to vote for a cap-and-trade bill or a comprehensive immigration reform? Not to me it doesn’t. And that’s not a new sentiment from him. And he’s far from the only one. Scott Brown joining the Senate will make it impossible to make big progress on the big issues facing the country. But a number of “centrist” Democrats have been making it clear for a while now that they don’t want to make big progress on the big issues facing the country. That’s too bad, and Brown winning will only make things worse. We’re much more likely looking at a situation where Brown’s victory becomes an excuse for people not to do things they didn’t want to do anyway than a situation where Brown’s victory is the actual reason those things can’t be done.

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