Wednesday, January 13, 2010

GoonGate: Meet Martha Coakley, clueless hack

Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley looks on as a beefy campaign
aide "handles the press" for her

No sooner had I posted my exhortation to Massachusetts voters to elect Scott Brown to the Senate next week to check one-party power in Washington than his Democratic opponent, Martha Coakley, turned in a stunning performance as exactly the sort of clueless party hack that all of us can do without.

Last night, Coakley was on her way out of a big-ticket fundraiser in D.C. where dozens of lobbyists for the health care and other industries ponied up to back her bid to take Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in a special election next Tuesday. She paused on the sidewalk to answer a few questions from reporters, including one from CNN. Then, John McCormack, who writes for the conservative Weekly Standard, asked her whether she stood by the foolish or confused or uniformed answer she had given at a debate with Brown the night before about terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That's a fair question about a major topic in anyone's campaign for Senate. She could have used McCormack's question to clarify what she said at the debate. Instead, she ignored him and said, "I'm sorry, did someone else have a question?" She then answered another reporter's question and walked away.

McCormack tried to walk along with her, asking why health care lobbyists were chipping in big bucks to support her -- another fair and obvious question.

Any classy candidate with an ounce of wits would have given the guy an answer - some answer! How about, "Our campaign has broad support from every quarter, especially from the people of Massachusetts."

Instead, a beefy guy by the name of Michael Meehan stepped into McCormack's face, either shoved or backed him into a metal railing causing him to fall, demanded to see his press credentials, even though they were on the public street, and body blocked him from getting close to Coakley again. Turns out that Meehan is the head of an outfit called Blue Line Strategic Communications and a long-time media consultant (no kidding!) for various Democratic Party organizations and candidates, currently on loan from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to help Coakley's campaign.

I hope Coakley can trade Meehan in for some money or something, because this guy clearly knows nothing about handling reporters or helping candidates with their communications. On the contrary, he's helped Coakley create what could be an election-losing disaster for her.

But it's not Meehan's fault, even if he is a lout and a goon. He was taking his cues from Coakley, who could have just given McCormack an answer. Even if it was a stupid answer, how much harm can a guy who writes for an online conservative publication do to her by posting the unflattering answer on his blog?

I knew before that Coakley is a party hack. Now I know she's clueless too, unable to stand up to scrutinizing inquiries or to defend or explain the positions she's taken on critically important issues that will come before the United States Senate. All the more reason to elect Scott Brown.

Here's some video of Meehan executing his communications strategy.

Any thoughts about this? Post a comment.

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