By all the rules, it should be automatic. The winner to take Teddy Kennedy’s Senate seat in Massachusetts, the bluest of all the blue states, should be a Democrat. And it’s especially important this year, because Democrats need that seat to hold on to 60 votes for health care reform.
But, this time, all bets are off. Democrat Martha Coakley suddenly has a tough race against Republican Scott Brown, and some Democrats are starting to fear the worst. Teddy Kennedy replaced by a tea bagger Republican? God forbid!
At this point, it looks like Coakley’s still going to win. But nobody knows for sure because the polls are all over the place. One has Brown up by 1 point; the Boston Globe has Coakley ahead by 17.
Taking no chances, Democrats have turned up the heat: sending millions of dollars into the state for last-minute TV ads, and turning union members loose to pound on doors and get out the vote. With so much at stake, they know they can’t afford to lose this one.
But here’s the big mystery: The White House says President Obama has no plans to go to Massachusetts and stump for Martha Coakley. Why not? Are they afraid she might lose? Or overconfident she will win?
Either way, it makes no sense. It’s Massachusetts. It’s the all-important 60th vote on health care. Obama should be there.
Doesn’t he believe Teddy Kennedy’s seat is worth fighting for? Apparently not. Obama’s staying home. It’s a decision he may live to regret.
Bill Press is host of The Bill Press Show, a nationally syndicated radio talk show airing weekdays on Sirius XM Satellite Radio and on many local stations across the country.