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April 20, 2010

Voters Donít Always Mind the Media

Roy Meachum

Everything political is subject to analyzing to a fare-thee-well – and beyond. The very worst example that comes to mind is how Scott Brown’s election was a cruel and costly blow to the president.


Never mind that the U.S. Senate seat was held by Jack and Ted Kennedy for over 60 years combined; it was not the property of the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, the party acted as if it was. The media went along, as usual. Arguing and averring the state of Massachusetts was overwhelmingly Democratic – that may be how registrations stood going into election that named the late Senator Kennedy’s successor.


The buzzards in my profession were quick to pronounce Republican Brown winner of an upset. As you can tell by my tone, I was not among them.


The Democratic candidate ran a lazy, lousy and take-it-for-granted campaign. While Mr. Brown worked through the Christmas holidays, state Attorney General Martha Coakley, his opponent, went on a cruise, presumably to rest herself before the labors of Washington. She could have stayed in the Caribbean for all her limp efforts mattered.


In the first place, the new senator rode to power through a shrewd designation of the long-time Kennedy chair as “the People’s Seat.” The press at the time came right out and said it was a major defeat for the man in the White House. The media warned Barack Obama had lost his chance for Congress to enact health reform; they were virtually speechless at the president’s success.


When Democrat Ted Deutch trounced Republican Ed Lynch in 2010’s first Congressional race earlier this year, the electronic soothsayers were virtually silent. They could read nothing in the contest entrails to divine. Mr. Deutch ran in a “safely” Democratic district, we were told. But the new U.S. representative had worked very hard to bring in the votes, something nobody accused Massachusetts’ attorney general of. The race was to name someone to take over from Robert Wexler, a seven-term representative; he’d resigned to take over a Middle East think tank.


Now once-popular Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is in big trouble running for the U.S. Senate to replace Mel Martinez, who resigned. Former state house speaker, Marco Rubio, holds a 57 percent advantage. All are Republicans.


Poised to blame Mr. Obama for the senatorial loss, the Sunday Washington Post played on the front page the governor’s precipitous survey fall; the reporter suggests strongly that Mr. Crist’s decline dated to when he hugged the president after his announcement of federal grants to help the Sunshine State’s economic recovery. While blaming the hug on the announcement to help Florida help itself, Governor Crist soldiers on.


But even superficial research on the situation unearths Charlie Crist is denounced as a homosexual, which would turn GOP voters off. It doesn’t matter the governor was married in 2008, to a woman. The prejudice remains. The story contravenes the Republican platform for family life, and makes Mr. Crist unfit in many party members’ eyes. A Florida pollster recommends the governor would have better luck running as an independent.


Mr. Obama and the Democrats have yet to be shown responsible for the tale that has been blared by a documentary film maker, stories in the media and Southerners’ aversion to anybody “queer.” That’s how gays were referred to when I was a child in New Orleans.


Blaming Barack Obama for state election losses hardly seems rational or fair. Sometimes, I must admit, I cannot be partisan enough for the reality of the political world.


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