Semi-live blogging: Coakley vs. Brown
Posted by Lissa on January 11, 2010
Refresh and scroll for updates . . .
Semi-live blogging is like semi-homemade cooking — it’s a bit of cheating. In my case, it’s on the Tivo — I’m free to pause it and type my thoughts. Or nonsense. Or to quit altogether — I’m chronically allergic to politicians speaking, and I may develop a severe case of avoidance. No promises!
Oh, it’s three candidates! Independent Joe Kennedy, not related to Those Kennedys. I wonder if that was a reason Coakley agreed to the debate – the more people who realize that Joe Kennedy is not one of the “Camelot” Kennedys, the fewer automatically-vote-for-anything-named-Kennedy she’ll lose.
0:02 — “Legendary” seat such as Teddy and John Kennedy, Daniel Webster, John Quincy Adams. Blah blah blah, old guy talking with marbles in his mouth.
Brown introduced first as State Senator, Coakley second as AG, and Kennedy “no relation to the late Senator” as an independent Libertarian candidate. Questions are known only by the mediator, and the order was determined by lot.
0:04: National Health Care Bill — do you want voters to see this vote as a referendum on this bill?
Brown: Washington is broken, back-room deals — Nebraska, etc., we already have a state-wide health care deal in MA, we don’t need a national one pushed in on us cutting half a trillion from Medicare, we need to reform pricing, a one-size fits all plan will hurt what we have, I would propose allowing the states to do things individually. Export what MA has done — show them how to do it.
[And MA health care is doing so well? Last I checked it was running a huge deficit and forcing people to buy insurance they didn't necessarily want. -- Lissa]
Coakley: Thank you, thank you, I’d be proud to pass the bill, we’ve taken the lead in MA, and now we are attacking costs, we spend 1.6 trillion a year on health care, we need more transparency and competition. As Senator Kennedy said, health care should be a right, not a privilege. We will provide coverage for those who can’t get coverage now, for pre-existing injuries, and make sure we keep costs down, so people can keep the costs they have.
[The hell with the laws of economics, supply and demand, or the government bureaucracy, the health care bill will work because we want it to. Still, I think she's a smoother speaker than Brown.]
Kennedy: The health care bill is a travesty; as much as I would like to be the 41st vote against it, we are seeing votes bought. The issue today is not who’s going to vote against health care, the issue is who’s going to work against it once it’s passed. The issue is that government is too big.
[Damn, I like what this guy is saying. Wish he had a shot.]
This bill will cost $1.2 trillion. Income tax for every single person in America is $1.1 trillion.
Brown, follow-up: We have insurance in MA, great doctors, etc., that’s why people come here. We will be subsidizing what other people do.
Coakley: I spoke to a woman on the campaign trail and doctors in MA can’t help her.
Brown: It’s a bad plan because it’s going to hurt jobs. Because we have a competing plan. We shouldn’t have to go to Washington to get handouts, we should be able to fix the problems on our own.
0:09: Mediator asks if Coakley is promising to vote for the health care regardless on how it changes, including abortion.
Coakley: I would not vote for a plan with Stupak in it.
Mediator: So then you would become the 41st against?
Coakley: I don’t believe that’s going to be the choice.
Says she’ll vote only for the Senate bill or some reasonable facsimile of it.
[I'd like to pin her down on this, but the sad thing is, I'm pretty sure she's completely right.]
Brown points out again that the plan will cost us jobs.
[Dude. You're not pointing out any clear linkage between ObamaCare and MA jobs. Government regulations stifling innovation, the number of doctors who have come out in opposition, privacy of medical records -- and all you can come up with is, "This bill will cost us jobs" over and over? (later update) Or just the fact that Congress is forcing a plan on us that they have explicitly excused themselves from? This shouldn't be that hard.]
0:10: BOO-YAH!!! Mediator asks if Brown is willing to “sit in Teddy Kennedy’s seat” and block health care reform for another fifteen years. Brown shoots right back:
“With all due respect, it’s not the Kennedys’ seat, it’s not the Democrats’ seat, it’s the people’s seat.”
[I wonder if he slipped the mediator ten bucks to phrase it that way.]
0:11: Mediator says head of AFL-CIO said this morning it would be a disaster if the bill included a tax on high-end plans, that Obama has said he wanted it.
Coakley: The President said he would have a lot of room to determine what a Cadillac plan was.
[Nicely dodged. "I don't approve of taxing those plans, but I'm sure we can figure out a tricksy enough definition of those plans to have it both ways."]
Kennedy: It’s not about cars, it’s about health care. It is going to affect good union members who fought so hard through good-faith bargaining.
[It is just me, or is it really fun listening to a libertarian talk about good union members?]
I’m only at 0:12, I’ve got to stop transcribing and be more selective . . .
Ack, mediator asks a jobs questions — calls it a “lost decade” for the country.
[Um, what?? He's saying there's no statistical improvement from 1999. That makes it sound like we're Japan. The way I remember it, we were doing pretty well in the oughts, until the recent kasplosion. A long steady up followed by a short disastrous down.]
Coakley just said in ten years the health care plan will be revenue-neutral. Go on, ma’am, pull the other one — it’s got bells on it. Oh yeah, and Scott Brown is Bush/Cheney.
Kennedy: Government is expensive. Oh, and wars are very expensive. Yay isolationism!
[Anyone think we'll get a question on the Christmas Day bomber? I think that would be fun.]
Brown: I’m not Bush/Cheney, and you want to raise taxes $2.1 trillion per the Congressional Budget Office.
Coakley: He’s lying about $2.1 trillion, because I want to support these wonderful ideas, which will cancel out all the costs. Plus, you voted for $6 billion in the Commonwealth as a State Senator. I brought home bacon, dammit!
[Gleg. Nausea setting in here.]
0:18: [Scott Brown please stop repeating yourself! He needs some work on public speaking.]
Brown: You’re in favor of the Cap-and-Trade tax.
Coakley: Not a tax!
Brown: It’s a tax.
Coakley: Not a tax!
Good lord, it’s like watching small children. Or worse yet — politicians speaking! :-p
0:21: Kennedy: Cutting taxes is not what creates jobs. Cutting spending creates jobs.
[The isolationism is unappealing, but the small government talk sure is nice.]
Coakley just said we need to get tax revenues up. [I'm not sure that's a well-crafted soundbyte.]
Coakley: BushCheney wrecked this economy, so that’s why it will take a while to fix! Boooooosh! Boooooosh evil!
Brown just invoked JFK for the second time.
[The Republican has approvingly cited the Kennedys more than the Democrat has, I think. Up is now down, cats are now dogs.]
0:25: Mediator seems like he’s asking tough questions, not fluffball questions. [I'm kind of shocked.]
Brown: “Stop blaming! Stop blaming! Solve problems! Solve problems!”
[That's how it sounded in my head, anyway.]
0:28: Oooo! Christmas Day Bomber! How do we win this war?
Brown: The war is here — remember those men who tried to kill the kids at the mall? Martha thinks people like the Crotch Bomber [my phrasing] should get constitutional rights and lawyers, I think we should treat them like enemy combatants.
[I'm sorry, but he just doesn't sound good here. She sounds much more polished.]
Coakley: We’ve been at war since 9/11, no one is disputing that.
[Yup, that's the one that has bells on it.]
Kennedy: We need to stop saying, “Why are we at war with Al-Queda, we need to start saying, “why is Al-Queda at war with us”?
[Sorry sir, not that I was going to vote for you anyway, but "Why do they hate us?" in a discussion of how to treat the Crotch Bomber crosses you off the list for me.]
[Brown's long discussion on how he supports the President in his bid to finish the job in Afghanistan made my tummy roil. I think the idea was good -- link himself to Pres. Obama in one area where he still has decent numbers and Republicans support him -- but the execution was just BAD.]
0:35: Coakley: We don’t need to send soldiers anywhere, we need to find out who the bad people are and just get them — holla holla, CIA!
0:36: Oooo, the candidates get to ask each OTHER questions.
Coakley asks Brown — You’ve supported legislation that would allow hospitals employees to deny emergency care to rape victims if they want, and you’ve received the endorsement of Right to Life. Do you accept their support?
[Oo -- wise question.]
Brown says he’s got a big-tent, is sure she does too, and sneaks in a nasty dig about special-interest groups rallying around her as part of the machine.
Brown: We agree Roe v. Wade is the law of the land, but I don’t like partial birth abortion, and you do.
Brown: No really, you wrote an editorial criticizing that partial-birth abortion isn’t allowed.
[Dude, really? Hmmm . . . ]
[Wow, that web team is on top of things, aren't they? I'm impressed. UPDATE: Oops, that link is from last year. I thought they were doing it live, like I was. They still get credit but not as much.]
[Quick pause for observations -- Coakley is a very smooth speaker, she doesn't get rattled, and she seems serious and poised. Brown is more excited (excitable?), more prone to repeating himself, and looks like he's trying to cram too many talking points into too small a space. They're both treating Kennedy like the outlier he is -- statistically insignificant.]
Coakley is trying to hammer his bill as “turning away women who have been raped,” and “denying them emergency contraceptive care”, Brown is trying to define it as allowing religiously-affiliated institutions not to provide abortions.
[Dude -- I'm with Brown on this one. It's one thing to approve of the possibility of abortion as a medical procedure. It's another to require Catholic hospitals and nurses to perform a procedure they find morally and ethically abhorrent.]
Brown: We’re both good people, but I happen to think you’re wrong on terror. Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, if he’s found guilty and gets the death penalty, will you support that?
Coakley says she doesn’t support the death penalty personally, she won’t vote for it, but accepts that it will happen if he’s found guilty.
[I think this was a loser for Brown. Coakley came off sounding very reasonable, personally opposed to the penalty but willing to uphold the law of the land. This one went to Coakley.]
0:44: Mediator hitting Brown on being a conservative. [Fair questions, especially in this area.] Asks if he would overturn Roe v. Wade.
Brown: It’s never been an issue that I support Roe v. Wade.
[I think the Right to Life might find that an issue.]
Mediator asks if Brown thinks that climate change is a big fraud, reads off a quote, which Brown says was inaccurate.
[Um. It's here. Bad move to flat-out accuse the mediator or the paper of lying.]
0:46: Mediator asks Coakley if she regrets insisting that all three be there with debates.
[Okay, that doesn't seem fair. Mediator questioned Brown on fundamental views that MA voters are particularly historically antithetical to, and questions Coakley on one tactical decision in the campaign.]
0:48: Mediator asks Kennedy — You’re probably not going to win [my phrasing], if you’re not to win, do you have a preference between these two candidates?
[I laughed. Audience did too.]
Kennedy gives reluctant nod to Scott Brown. And then spends a minute railing on him as a big spender. [With friends like these . . . ]
0:50: Awww, Ted Kennedy question!
Oh, nope, it was just a Ted Kennedy introduction. Mediator basically invites them to give us warm-and-fuzzy stories about themselves. [I think I'm going to throw up now.]
Coakley: I’m funny, I downhill ski, and my husband loves me.
Kennedy: When I told my father he was running, the words out of his mouth were: “Oh no. I’m very proud of you.”
[Ha! That was an actual quote, because I liked that one.]
Brown: I don’t eat babies like the Globe said I do. Actually, I’m Abraham Lincoln and Bill Clinton.
(Why won’t my GIF animate? It animates in Draft mode! Hmph. Click the link for animation.)
UPDATE: You can’t resize a gif, that’s why. So y’all get the big, full, pukey glory. Enjoy!