Friday, December 04, 2009

Coakley Kind of Answers

Real journalist (not someone who plays on a blog or cable TV) Bill Densmore did us all a great service. He extracted first 18 questions from a bunch of us and in turn pulled out answers (sort of) from the reticent Martha Coakley.

To cut to the chase, see his comments here and download the PDF of the Q's and A's here. You get a bonus for reading all, which ended up as 21 instead of 18.

MinM aside: I have been masochistically fascinated by the would-be Ted Kennedy replacement in the U.S. Senate's seemingly successful remote-control campaign. Only in the last partial week is she doing retail politics and in that, just visiting five towns. Contrast that with the other extreme of Mike Capuano's 200-plus events, plus dozens of Open Mike grillings by voters.

So, is this a way to federal office or a hapax legomenon (term appearing only once in a document or language)?

In Massachusetts for this foreshortened voting cycle, her poll-confirmed strategy has been:
  • Make a jack-rabbit start
  • Target a couple of high-profile endorsements
  • Claim front-runner status
  • Minimize positions and record-based claims
  • Avoid direct contact with voters as much as practical
Certainly in the Boston end of Massachusetts, that's not what we're used to. Yet, voters have not demanded more of her and have apparently continued to reward this behind-the-glass campaign.

I am left wondering, if she wins, will this become the new or at least a new campaign strategy for others?

To Bill's questions, make your own judgments. I see the replies as squishy and run through the PR factory to neuter them of power and meaning.

The only real insight we gain is that she is never likely to fall on the civil liberties side of the fence instead of the tough-on-bad-guys side. Prima facie, that looks conservative Republican, but really it makes sense for a career-long prosecutor. That's what she knows and why her PATRIOT Act debate answers are scary.

Unfortunately, despite Bill's effort here, Coakley ended up with a take-home exam. Her minions returned answers copied out of the textbook. The replies are technically right, but not revealing.

That's been her strategy. It seems to have worked. She's sticking with it.

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