Martha Coakley Wins the Day

The Democratic insider narrative on Martha Coakley has been great AG, awful campaigner, way ahead in the primary due to name recognition, but “she could unravel at any moment in a tough general election race.’’

Perhaps we’ll see about the general election but Democrats, give Coakley some credit: she can be a pretty sharp campaigner as she proved yesterday in response to misogynistic statements by a sports talk radio host.

When news broke yesterday that WEEI sports talk host Kirk Minihane had gone into a frothing rave about ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, calling her a “gutless bitch” among other niceties, Coakley knew just what to do with the opportunity.

She immediately contacted a reporter covering the story and denounced Minihane’s sexism. She later issued a statement to the Globe‘s Stephanie Ebbert that was well balanced and firm:

In 2014, when we want our mothers, our sisters, and our daughters to be treated with respect, this language was offensive and absolutely unacceptable. Erin Andrews is a professional who was doing her job, and a woman should be able to do her job without those outrageous comments.

It’s fair game to criticize when there’s a disagreement, but the language used was over the line and offensive not only to women, but to everyone. As a woman who has spent her career in public service, I know how hard it is for many women to succeed in certain professions. The comments were wrong, and people should speak out about it, so it doesn’t happen again.

In other words, Coakley recognized an opportunity and pounced on it. John Nucci wrote in yesterday’s Boston Herald, Coakley’s campaign is stressing women’s issues this week, so Minihane’s comments were a gift.

As I wrote last year, in 2009 the supposedly clueless Coakley turned her primary opponent, Congressman Michael Capuano, literally “inside out on the abortion question. She announced that she would not vote for Obamacare if it contained a provision restricting federal funding for abortion services. His political instincts honed to razor sharpness, Capuano attacked Coakley. Until he fell in line behind her position the next day.”

Don’t mess with Martha, boys.

The Minihane comments were an unknown-unknown but Coakley responded quickly and was pitch perfect. Charlie Baker responded later in the day with a robust “me, too.” No one else was heard from, at least not in the Globe story.

Well done candidate Coakley.


About Maurice T. Cunningham

Maurice T. Cunningham is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. He teaches courses in American government including Massachusetts Politics, The American Presidency, Catholics in Political Life, The Political Thought of Abraham Lincoln, American Political Thought, and Public Policy. His book Maximization, Whatever the Cost: Race, Redistricting and the Department of Justice examines the role of the DOJ in requiring states to maximize minority voting districts in the Nineties. He has published articles dealing with the role of the Catholic Church in Massachusetts politics and on party politics in the state. His research interests focus upon the changing political culture of Massachusetts.
This entry was posted in Mass Politics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *