It is not too much of a stretch to suggest that Democrats lost their filibuster-proof Senate majority in early 2010 -- and the seat held for decades by Teddy Kennedy -- because Martha Coakley did not know a whit about baseball and wasn't afraid to show it. Coakley, whose incompetence as a candidate extended far beyond her Red Sox ignorance, made the grievous mistake of ridiculing Scott Brown for campaigning outside Fenway Park and the even more grievous mistake of saying that Curt Schilling, he of the curse-busting bloody-sock heroism of 2004, was a Yankee.
Whether or not one thinks it appropriate that the fate of the nation's upper chamber should depend on Boston sports talk, Democrats should be taking some comfort in a report by Jonathan Zasloff, who cornered Elizabeth Warren at a house party in Massachusetts to test whether this latest brainy woman would pass a Boston version of the "Diner" guy's Colts quiz of his fiancee. Zasloff concludes that Warren would:
I said: “I’d like to talk about the issue that is most on the minds of Massachusetts voters. Were the Red Sox right to let Theo Epstein and Terry Francona go, and what do you think of the Globe’s coverage of the issue?”
That seems snide, but it isn’t: Martha Coakley got tripped up on a question like this: she thought that Curt Schilling had pitched for the Yankees. I wanted to see how she’d handle it. She first said, “It’s terrible that Theo has left. The Red Sox are really going to miss him. He got us two world championships.” So she didn’t miss a beat. But notice: she didn’t criticize the Red Sox management. That’s not a fight she wants to get into. It was an excellent way to deflect the question.
Then I pushed ahead. “But what about the Globe’s coverage?” This was a tricky one, because the Globe figures to support the Democratic nominee, so she wouldn’t want to make more enemies. On the other hand, lots of people...think that the Globe has essentially helped the Red Sox management hang Francona out to dry, smearing him on the way out with accusations of alcohol use.
She paused. And then she said, “well at least they are holding someone accountable.” Everyone laughed.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is a good retail politician. She didn’t defend the Globe’s coverage, but she didn’t attack it, and then she stayed on message with a question that had nothing to do with her message, i.e. holding Wall Street accountable.
Now Democrats just better hope that she's keeping up on her Pats, Celtics and B's as well. Boston's a four-sports town, and there's a year to go.