Blame Kennedy for Coakley

If he hadn't held his seat so long, Democrats would have more talent
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2010 11:44 AM CST
Martha Coakley reacts as President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally for her at Northeastern University in Boston, Jan. 17, 2010.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Newser) – Massachusetts Democrats are cursing Martha Coakley, a candidate so bad she might just lose Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat and scuttle the party's filibuster-proof supermajority. “Not since Grady Little gave away the American League pennant in 2003 has New England witnessed this level of ineptitude,” writes Jason Zengerle in New York. But in many ways, Kennedy himself is to blame. Kennedy held his seat for so long that “political sclerosis” set in in his home state.

Between Kennedy and John Kerry, it’s been a quarter-century since a Massachusetts Democrat had a crack at the Senate. So the state party’s become complacent and decrepit, failing to attract ambitious politicians. The state legislature, an incubator for talent in other states, is instead a hotbed of scandal and corruption. How low is the talent level? Coakley beat three challengers to win the nomination—candidates so bad, they couldn’t even beat Coakley.

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