Obama has taken a major political gamble by joining the fight to “save Kennedy’s seat” in the U.S. Senate. While an endorsement should have been expected, the President’s decision to campaign on Coakley’s behalf carries significant risk. By entering the fray in an election that should have been a Democrat party cakewalk, Obama has legitimized Scott Brown’s attempts to nationalize the January 19 special election.
Brown has campaigned on two fundamental concepts: he’s not a Democrat, and he’ll be the 41st vote against ObamaCare unless the Massachusetts political machine and Democrat-controlled Senate are able to delay his confirmation until after the vote. His primary offensive, tying Coakley to the Obama agenda. If the President had resisted the call of his ego and provided only a general endorsement, then a potential loss could be blamed on Coakley’s faults and inept campaigning. Now that he has shoehorned himself into the debate, Obama risks a repeat of his failed Olympic bid. Should Scott Brown, a Republican, manage to pull out a victory in Massachusetts on Tuesday, even MSNBC will be hard pressed to absolve the President and his agenda.
And what does Obama gain if Coakley wins? The truth is, not much. Though he would undoubtedly attempt to paint a Coakley victory as a referendum of his policies and affirmation of the fictitious “mandate” for “health reform,” it’s still Massachusetts. That Scott Brown has gained enough support for this election to be worth following in a state where conventional wisdom indicates only an entrenched Democrat could ever win is already a major accomplishment. Only a Coakley blowout could truly be considered a Democrat success.
Barack Obama has chosen to risk major embarrassment so that he might claim to have spared his party from major embarrassment. In doing so, he has simultaneously abandoned his responsibilities as President to play partisan politics and substantiated all of the opposition’s claims. Sounds like someone needs to get his priorities in order.