Tag Archives: Martha Coakley

Fisher v. Massachusetts GOP: What to Expect Today?

What might we expect when hearings resume today before Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins in the law suit brought by Mark Fisher against the Massachusetts Republican Party? I’ll be waiting by the twitter feed but Stephanie Ebbert of the Boston Globe reported on last week’s hearing and gave some sense of what to look for today.

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More on Candidate Web Sites: Kill the Splash Pages

On Tuesday I began my education into campaign websites by posting Tour de Website: Martha Coakley’s Home Page. My colleague Professor Duquette posed a good question about the annoying fundraising pop-ups on many pages. Professor Jeff Gulati, who knows more about campaign websites than just about anyone, wrote in to confirm the ubiquitous nature of contribution pop-ups. Thanks to the assistance of my ace research assistant Stephen Norris, I can offer some additional insights. Yes, contribution request “splash pages” are annoying – so annoying that they may drive visitors away from the site.

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Tour de Website: Martha Coakley’s Home Page

Among the myriad metrics by which we are judging the gubernatorial campaigns, how good are the candidate websites? What characteristics make for an effective political website? I’ll offer some analysis with help from an article by Professors Girish J. “Jeff” Gulati and Christine B. Williams of Bentley College, “Closing Gaps, Moving Hurdles: Candidate Web Site Communication in the 2006 Campaigns for Congress,” in Costas Panagopoulos’s book Politicking Online: The Transformation of election Campaign Communications. First up, Martha Coakley.

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How the 15% Rule Promotes Democracy

Professor Ubertaccio stood up for the Democratic Party’s 15% rule yesterday against the combined might of Boston Globe columnists Scot Lehigh and Joan Vennochi. Lehigh argues that the party requirement robs voters of a wider range of voices in the primary. Vennochi criticizes party insiders deciding what the people alone should determine. Professor Ubertaccio replied that in fact the caucus and convention system is a positive boon for self-government.

Let me add two additional reasons to support Professor Ubertaccio’s case. The caucus/convention system adds a counterweight in favor of the citizen versus big money influence; and the organization bolstered by the system pays off politically.

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James Michael Coakley? ‘I Did It for a Friend’

An increasing cadre of Massachusetts politicians is showing up on what the Boston Herald terms “bombshell ‘sponsor’ lists” kept by the state Probation Department encompassing “stunning documents” detailing recommendation letters. So are politicians fleeing the frenzy?

Actually many of them proudly own up to their efforts to help constituents get jobs and some are utilizing my all-time favorite defense from James Michael Curley, the “I did it for a friend” excuse. The deftest channeler of The Rascal King has been none other than Attorney General Martha Coakley.

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Patronage Heaven

The Boston Herald has been having a field day with the latest developments in the U.S. Attorney’s prosecution of former Probation Department commissioner John J. O’Brien. Should we be “shocked – shocked(!)” at the fact that even our own Massachusetts Trial court maintained a list of politically connected job seekers, much like the list kept by O’Brien?

Not really. As the political scientist Daniel J. Elazar wrote years ago in “Marketplace and Commonwealth, and the Three Political Cultures,” Massachusetts has an individualistic political culture – it behaves like a marketplace, including politicians assisting job seekers in exchange for support.

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WBUR/MassInc Polling Group Biggest Loser: #Mapoli Nation

The WBUR/MassINC Polling Group is just out with their January 2014 poll, the results are in, and the Biggest Loser is (drum roll)  . . . #Mapoli Nation!

This may seem suspect since #Mapoli is an amorphous concept; that and the fact that WBUR/MIPG didn’t ask a question about #Mapoli.

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Craps Go the Casinos?

Shirley Leung, The Boston Globe’s business columnist, provided a public service the other day by running down what all the gubernatorial candidates have to say about casinos in Massachusetts. Recent casino stories have included East Boston voting down a casino and Revere attempting to adopt it, the travails of Chairman Steve Crosby, Governor Deval Patrick suing to stop a Native American casino on Martha’s Vineyard, Repeal the Casino Deal advocates filing enough signatures to reach the ballot and preparing an effort to overturn Attorney General Martha Coakley’s disapproval of the ballot measure, and on and on. Everywhere you look there are known-knowns, known-unknowns, and politicians should fear, some unknown-unknowns.

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The Stumbling and Bumbling Martha Coakley

coakleyMartha Coakley, this time you’ve gone too far. When the Boston Globe ran an article in which Democrats fretted that you are a political bumbler and fumbler, my colleague Professor Ubertaccio rose to your defense.  I made fun of the Democratic knee-knockers too. Then in The Myth of Martha Coakley’s Mistakes I argued that the AG’s fumbles and bumbles didn’t really impact the 2010 special election loss to Scott Brown.

So how does the AG thank us? With this, from Frank Phillips of the Globe: Martha Coakley’s Campaign Funds in Disarray.

I’ll continue to maintain that Coakley’s fumbles and bumbles didn’t cost her the election in 2010. But they might cost her the election of 2014.

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Federalist Papers Scorecard: We’re Losing

Even those with limited expectations for the Congress would assume members to have mastery of junior high civics concepts. Such optimism was misplaced in the Tea Party which brought the country to the brink of crisis over the simple notion that a law passed by a previous Congress, signed by the president, and upheld by the Supreme Court might go into effect.

Tea Party Patriots worship the Constitution of course. Since my students and I have been reading The Federalist Papers together this semester I’ve been struck with how our modern practices are matching up to The Federalist Papers. Not well, I’m afraid.

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