People’s Champ: The Case for Coakley

Ask yourself: why do the media and political elites want Massachusetts Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley to lose?

Do they think she should have curled into a ball after the unfortunate outcome of the January 2010 special Senate election in the Bay State? Do they think she should have tried to get a cushy private-sector job instead of continuing her fight on behalf of the powerless, the vulnerable, the working-class folks who break their backs every day trying to stay above water financially? Should she have just quit?

She didn’t quit after that election. She kept on fighting as attorney general, confronting the special interests that were putting the screws to those on the economic bottom, brawling with the big shots who wanted the political and legal system to work for them, not you. She gave her all.

The fight Senator Elizabeth Warren has waged on behalf of the non-privileged is the same fight Coakley has been waging as Attorney General…and the fight she will continue if she is elected the next Governor of Massachusetts. It’s a fight that needs to be waged. Someone has to ease the burdens of the non-elite. Someone has to protect those who work for a living. Someone has to be their champion.

Will her opponent champion the people’s interests? What is his incentive to do so?

There is a belief in some sections of the Bay State that Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker represents a return to old-school, centrist, reasonable New England Republicanism, the sort of rationality embodied by former Massachusetts Senator Edward Brooke. The idea that moderate Republicanism can return to life is powerfully seductive. It’s something we all desperately wish could be true. I found this idea powerfully seductive; it’s why I voted for Baker when he first ran for governor four years ago.

However, even the most idealistic among us now have to acknowledge that “moderate Republicanism” is as much of a fiction as “clean coal,” and that this seduction is always followed by a betrayal. In fact, as I watch Baker’s ads promising a civil, bipartisan approach to policy, I’m reminded of that great line from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt:

Let me warn you and let me warn the Nation against the smooth evasion which says, “Of course we believe all these things; we believe in social security; we believe in work for the unemployed; we believe in saving homes. Cross our hearts and hope to die, we believe in all these things; but we do not like the way the present Administration is doing them. Just turn them over to us. We will do all of them- we will do more of them we will do them better; and, most important of all, the doing of them will not cost anybody anything.”

But, my friends, these evaders are banking too heavily on the shortness of our memories…Remember, too, that the first essential of doing a job well is to want to see the job done. Make no mistake about this: the Republican leadership today is not against the way we have done the job. The Republican leadership is against the job being done… You cannot promise to repeal taxes before one audience and promise to spend more of the taxpayers’ money before another audience. You cannot promise tax relief for those who can afford to pay, and, at the same time, promise more of the taxpayers’ money for those who are in need. You simply cannot make good on both promises at the same time.

I was raised to judge someone by the company they keep. When I look at Baker, I see him keeping company with Mitt Romney. I see him keeping company with a gay-bashing, Tea Party running mate, Karyn Polito. I see him keeping company with the repulsive Chris Christie, David Koch’s favorite politician. I see him keeping company with the Republican Governors Association, which is flush with money from Koch Industries.

Charlie Baker may be a good man, but that’s bad company.

There will be five names on the gubernatorial ballot in Massachusetts: the Democrat, the Republican and three independent candidates. However, for those who aren’t millionaires and billionaires…those who need high-quality public schools…those who need Massachusetts to embrace its full potential on clean energy…those who need a chance to rise economically…those who need protection against abuse by predators both sexual and economic…those who need someone who will provide an advantage to the disadvantaged…those who need a damn break in an increasingly unequal society…there is only one name on the ballot, only one candidate who will defend their interests, only one person who will hold accountable those who won’t repent for what they’ve done to the 99 percent. That name, that candidate, that person…is Martha Coakley.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.