In the Massachusetts Senate race, Democratic candidate and former chair of the post-financial crash Congressional Oversight Panel Elizabeth Warren has a slight lead over Republican incumbent Senator Scott Brown. It promises to be one of the more intriguing races of the cycle, given the potential for an argument over the future of financial regulation and the health of the middle class. So much so that President Barack Obama is adopting Warren's message in his own reelection effort. In short, it could be the venue for a lot of substantive arguments, if the press will let it. But that doesn't seem to be happening. Per David Catanese:
Asked what years the Red Sox have won the World Series in this century, Warren replied, "'04, '08."
She was close -- and closer than the other Democrats on the stage, whose wrong answers provoked audible groans from the audience.
The correct answers: 2004 and 2007.
But it's not the first time Warren has bobbled a Red Sox question.
Heavens to Betsy! Everyone hates the sports round of trivia night, you know?
Dave Weigel notes that this is all the "legacy of [the Martha] Coakley mess." See, back when Coakley, the Massachusetts attorney general, was running against Brown, she famously failed Red Sox nation by calling beloved World Series pitcher Curt Schilling "another Yankee fan." That incident made Coakley the butt of jokes, and the media, who tend to shape their coverage around where they found the big sugary lump to suck upon last cycle, will probably reliably pepper Warren with all sorts of baseball trivia this time around.
But Coakley's actual failings were a significant disconnection from Massachusetts voters in general and the seeming belief that the Democratic political machine in Massachusetts would take care of her. Because she used the words "Fenway Park" in excusing her lack of on-the-ground campaigning, this has all been subsumed within the media's overall take on the race, which is that insufficient attention to the Red Sox prevented Coakley from winning. Ben Smith recalls the important paragraphs from the Boston Globe that framed this matter in its proper context:
Despite that, there is a subdued, almost dispassionate quality to her public appearances, which are surprisingly few. Her voice is not hoarse from late-night rallies. Even yesterday, the day after a hard-hitting debate, she had no public campaign appearances in the state.
Coakley bristles at the suggestion that, with so little time left, in an election with such high stakes, she is being too passive.
“As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park? In the cold? Shaking hands?'' she fires back, in an apparent reference to a Brown online video of him doing just that. “This is a special election. And I know that I have the support of Kim Driscoll. And I now know the members of the [Salem] School Committee, who know far more people than I could ever meet.''
So, if Warren wants to avoid Coakley's fate, she should avoid thinking that the system is going to take care of her and ensure her success. Actually, another good way of putting it is that Warren should campaign in a way that bears no resemblance to the way the Red Sox played in September 2011.
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