He’s Getting To Her

Martha Coakley’s plan to coast into the general election without a campaign (or issues!) has effectively been thwarted by a surprisingly feisty, scrappy Scott Brown. While clueless Beltway GOP officials, pundits and other insiders continue to write off or ignore the race, it is clearly heating up here at home.

One hundred percent of that is due to Brown’s spirited campaign. After giving indications that he would go easy on Coakley in order to prevent a “Rick Lazio” effect (a false notion in politics that Lazio lost the US Senate race to Hillary Clinton because he attacked her, when in fact it was due to his late entry into the race after Rudy Giuliani dropped out), the opposite has been the case.

Instead, he’s been blasting the lackluster AG, accusing her of being “on vacation” during the campaign, of being “robotic”, and of “picking out the drapes”, a reference to her own perception that election day has already occurred.

Finally, Coakley’s undermined her own prospects via a refusal to debate Brown one-on-one, instead insisting that a little-known unenrolled candidate (coincidentally named “Joe Kennedy”) be present in every debate. That includes the upcoming WTKK debate referenced below this post. Forcing Kennedy onto the stage at every event is a crutch Coakley uses to disguise her cowardice.

Brown is using his extreme underdog status to make lemonade out of lemons- because conventional wisdom says he doesn’t have a prayer, he has little to lose by taking increasingly bigger risks on the campaign trail. Slamming Coakley is especially easy when she provides voters with absolutely no reason to support her.

All of this is beginning to pay off in the form of YouTube views (over 16,000 for his new clip in less than 48 hours) as well as Facebook and Twitter activity. A new Internet fundraising campaign has brought $700,000 in desperately needed cash that hopefully will be used to purchase television spots. Another advantage: Brown saved his money during the primary while Coakley was forced to use most of what she had to fend off three challengers.

But at the end of the day, none of this changes the fact that Brown remains the underdog. That $700k needs to be quadrupled almost overnight if he truly has a shot at getting his message across the Commonwealth. During the same reporting period, Coakley has raised $1m, which she would certainly prefer to save to create a post-election war chest (especially to dole out to fellow Dems for November 2010). But it could be unleashed overnight if she were to suddenly feel threatened.

If Brown really has a chance, here’s what must occur between now and January 19:

1- The “money bomb” technique must be repeated successfully by Tuesday, January 5 (two weeks before election day)

2- Brown must create and air additional television spots. YouTube alone isn’t going to pull it off.

3- He must continue to slam Coakley at every opportunity and generate headlines every day between now and January 19. So far, so good.

4- Democrats have got to continue to remain as disaffected (or more so) than they feel today, leading to less momentum for Coakley.

5- Turnout must be low on election day.

6- Brown’s share of unenrolled voter support must be unusually high.

Upcoming WTKK debate press release:

Coakley, Brown and Kennedy to Debate Live on 96.9 FM

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

9 to 10 a.m.

Jim Braude and Margery Eagan to Host Massachusetts US Senate Candidates from the

96.9 FM Studios at 55 Morrissey Blvd.

Boston, MA (December 30, 2009): 96.9 FM-WTKK’s Jim Braude and Margery Eagan will host the first radio debate between the three candidates in the race for Senator on Tuesday, January 5th, 2010 from 9:00am – 10:00am. Attorney General Martha Coakley, State Senator Scott Brown, and Independent Candidate Joseph L. Kennedy are vying for the late Edward Kennedy’s Senate seat in the special election on January 19th, 2009.

In addition to questions from Jim and Margery, the debate will feature listener questions and closing statements from the candidates. Questions must be submitted to senatedebate@969wtkk.com by 5:00 p.m. Monday, January 4th.

Updates On Rush Health Scare…

I’m covering it at the Radio Equalizer, see it here.

UPDATE: From reader Dave on the South Shore:

This morning on WBZ-FM sports talk radio Boston, ex-WBCN talker “Hardy” called Rush Limbaugh a “drug-addled jack-off”.

I have contacted management at the station, and intend to file a formal complaint about the vile comment on the air.

Dave, WBZ is a partisan liberal outfit, this type of comment was probably made in the name of job security for Hardy. Think of it as the price of admission!

Scott Brown Turns ‘Kennedy Legacy’ Question On Its Ear

For the US Senate general election, here’s a clever way to approach the “Kennedy legacy” question: turn it on its ear.

With a new ad unveiled today, State Senator Scott Brown (R-Wrentham) has done just that, by choosing a different Kennedy to address. By echoing JFK’s onetime call for tax cuts, Brown is able to project a positive economic message and show just how far from the mainstream the party opposite has come over the past half-century.

It’s clever and powerful, but the likelihood that the spot will air extensively is in doubt, thanks to continued ineptitude from the GOP at the national level:

The Globies and Politico have their own coverage here and here. Interestingly, the Boring Broadsheet notes that Coakley has yet to air a single television ad for the general election. Does she ever stop coasting?

Another Local Media Basketcase: WGBH-FM

While WGBH was busy building a gleaming monument to itself in Brighton, the public broadcast outfit’s FM operation continued to languish. LEED certification (a fuzzy concept to say the least) was a priority, programming, not so much.

Now, in a tough climate where donations have declined, the public television giant is now forced to pay attention to previously-ignored aspects of its operation.

WGBH-FM certainly qualifies as neglected: thanks to Arbitron’s new electronic PPM ratings system, public radio stations are now included with their commercial counterparts. And while Boston University’s WBUR-FM has fared well so far, taking seventh overall in the most recent survey, WGBH is stuck in twenty-second place, just ahead of a distant Providence-based country outlet, WCTK-FM.

Public radio stations need ratings as well, otherwise, the potential donor base becomes too small to sustain the operation. In addition, businesses making grants in exchange for on-air plugs get little for their money.

With that bleak outlook, GBH suits have decided to revamp its programming, modeling it somewhat after WBZ-AM, with news and talk, while music is generally phased out (or moved to WCRB-FM). But where does a leftist outfit acquire talk shows in this climate of conservative “hate” that fills commercial airwaves?

From WGBH-2’s boring, pro-establishment public affairs programming, of course! Yes, let’s turn unwatched television into unheard radio! The result: radio talk shows hosted by Emily Rooney and Callie Crossley.

If you’ve got two short hours to sacrifice from your daily routine, Emily and Callie will be glad to fill you in on why Mayor-For-Life Menino is such a great guy, why Deval Patrick deserves a second term and how it doesn’t matter whether Martha Coakley campaigns on any actual issues, her partisan affiliation alone is enough.

Whether WBZ or anyone else is shaking in their boots over this move is questionable, but it is interesting that WGBH sees its future in news and talk, while Entercom has so much contempt for the format and Greater Media allows WTKK-FM to experience a slow and painful death.

Live Over The Holidays?

Recently, I was talking with several bloggers who told me about an especially persistent colleague who has a habit of posting updates without taking holiday breaks. “He’ll even blog on Christmas,” one explained.

Why, you ask? Apparently, it’s good for business: his stats remain high during normally slow periods as web surfers, finding few updates anywhere else, turn to him for fresh material. Some readers return soon after, leading to sustained readership gains for his site.

That got me thinking about talk radio- could hosts benefit from sticking around as well? These days, long breaks have become the norm, particularly in Boston, where our local talkers seem to have endless time off built into their contracts.

But why not be the one who sticks around? It’s not always easy to get calls during major holidays, but one key difference is that the news cycle is much busier than it used to be (ObamaCare vote on Christmas Eve day as an example), so there’s plenty of material.

I’m told that Coast-to-Coast AM will be live all night during Christmas, so apparently, someone in network syndication feels this is worthwhile.

It would be nice to see one or two in our area hungry enough to show this kind of commitment, but most seem like they’d rather appear important by simulating the contractual excesses of the highest-paid folks in Boston radio.

Cockroach Of The Year Award: Paul Kirk

Hey, don’t blame me for the tone of this post, they’re the ones who passed this cruel legislation on Christmas Eve day.

For whatever reason, Senate Democrats and Barack Obama have managed to alienate left, right and center with a bureaucratic boondoggle that will saddle our children and grandchildren with massive debt for decades to come. The ruling class has turned against Americans, simply because they can.

And no one person typifies the atmosphere in Washington today than phony “Senator” Paul Kirk, appointed for the sole purpose of carrying out partisan orders. In Kirk’s world, the US Senate is actually the House of Lords, but with a lot more power than the latter chamber maintains at this point in time.

Rather than recognize the cruelty in today’s vote, Kirk was actually emotional, holding back tears as he cast what is seen as the sixtieth vote in favor of this muddled mess of a bill.

For that, Kirk wins our Bay State Cockroach of the Year award, hands-down. No one else comes close, not even bra-stuffers, toothpaste users or drug dealers in Menino’s administration.

In the end, it will be Kirk and his cronies who will suffer the most, however. According to an Op-Ed by Michael Barone in today’s Washington Examiner, the last time Congress turned against the public to this extreme, the Democratic Party cracked in half, with the creation of the Republican Party as the result. The year was 1854:

That legislation was the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. Its lead sponsor was Stephen A. Douglas, at 41 in his eighth year as senator from Illinois, the most dynamic leader of a Democratic Party that had won the previous presidential election by 254 electoral votes to 42.

Douglas’ legislative prowess far exceeded that of current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. To hold together his 60 Senate Democrats, Reid simply dispensed favors — eternal Medicaid financing for Ben Nelson’s Nebraska, a hospital grant for Chris Dodd’s Connecticut, more rural health money for Byron Dorgan’s North Dakota and Montana’s Max Baucus.

Douglas did something far more difficult. He got the Senate to pass a bill some of whose provisions were supported by half of the Senate plus Douglas and some of which were supported by the other half plus Douglas. After passage, Douglas spent a day getting drunk — a consolation unavailable to the teetotaling Reid.

The issue that Douglas said the Kansas-Nebraska Act would settle forever was slavery in the territories. His bill repealed the 34-year-old Missouri Compromise prohibiting slavery in territories north of Arkansas and substituted popular sovereignty — territory residents could vote slavery up or down.

We cannot say with assurance that the Kansas-Nebraska Act was unpopular — Dr. Gallup didn’t start polling until 81 years later. But the results of the next election were pretty convincing. The Republican Party was suddenly created to oppose the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the 1854-55 elections transformed the Democrats’ 159-71 majority to a 108-83 Republican margin. Democrats didn’t win a majority of House seats for the next 20 years.

On the health care bill, there can be little doubt about public opinion. Quinnipiac, polling just after the Senate voted cloture, found Americans opposed by a 53 percent to 36 percent margin. Polls suggest that Democrats may suffer as much carnage in the 2010 elections as they did in 1854.

So when the Democrats are beaten back to a tiny minority party in November, be sure to raise a glass for the man whose vote made it possible: Paul Kirk.

Mike Barnicle: Still Useless

Civic nuisance Mike Barnicle, the ratings-challenged former WTKK talker, is at it again.

This time, while filling in for “Morning Joe” Scarborough (was it something I said?), Barnicle found himself in agreement with incendiary remarks made by crackpot Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

From Mike Sargent at NewsBusters:

WHITEHOUSE: They [the GOP] are desperate to break this president. They have ardent supporters who are nearly hysterical at the very election of President Barack Obama. The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Barack Obama should exist. That is one powerful reason. It is not the only one.”

And here’s the reaction upon hearing the senator’s remarks:

MIKE BARNICLE: In what context was Senator Whitehorse [sic] saying that?

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I think he’s angry at the Republicans because they have worked hard to derail health care among other things.

BARNICLE: Well, then he would be correct.

http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/eyeblast.swf?v=GdaGeuSUVr

Isn’t this typical Barnicle? Shoots his mouth off, but doesn’t even know the senator’s name (is Rhode Island really that far from here?), probably thinking of White Horse Beach or the White Horse Tavern.

And yet, despite Mike’s stupidity, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to wake up tomorrow and find him back on WTKK’s talk lineup. As it is, still heard on the station via pre-recorded rants that air during morning drive. (Is this still the case? He’s not listed as part of the program.)