Former President Bill Clinton will appear to endorse Barney Frank in Taunton, MA, on September 26. When he announced President Clinton’s visit, Frank attempted to deflect the inference that he is concerned about the election by asserting that the visit was President Clinton’s idea. Sean Bielat — the young, attractive Republican challenger — accused Frank of “running scared”:
It’s like David and Goliath, and Goliath just got a tag team from his older brother.
Frank is reluctant to acknowledge that he may lose because of his political positions and that Bielat, now relatively unknown, is a formidable candidate. The issue was resolved on September 22, when Bielat released a private poll that showed Frank at 48% to Bielat’s 38% with 13% undecided. The split shows two key facts. First, Frank is below 50%, and for a 29-year incumbent that spells trouble. Second, that the ten-point spread is insignificant considering that Beilat is still not well known.
Indeed, Bielat, who has a prominent jaw reminiscent of Jay Leno’s, has shown that he can use Frank’s ethical lapses to good effect by using humor and satire and without being mean-spirited. Frank appeared recently on Jay Leno’s show, ensconced between Norah Jones and Kim Kardashian. Bielat pointed out that even though Frank is supposedly campaigning, he is so out of touch that he believes that his recent appearance on the show takes the place of meeting his constituents in Massachusetts and answering their questions about the economy and OneUnited Bank’s $12,000,000 bailout.
While Bielat takes heart from Senator Scott Brown’s successful Senate run, Frank appears to be focusing on his real weaknesses. The Democratic politically correct lessons from Martha Coakley’s loss are attributed to Coakley being a poor candidate who ran a bad campaign — no blame is assigned to the policies of the Obama administration. As is the case with Sarah Palin, Coakley’s election victories in Middlesex County for district attorney, her election statewide as attorney general, and her defeat of other elected Democrats in the primary are discounted. She was defeated because she did not campaign hard and did not know enough about the Red Sox.
Frank knows better. He does not underestimate Bielat, nor will he underestimate the real negatives that he faces.
Why will President Clinton give the endorsement, and not President Obama or another Democratic leader? Frank needs to separate himself from the economic policies of the Obama adminstration in which he has been a major player, and associate himself with the economy of the Clinton years. Further, Frank surely remembers that in the Democratic presidential primary of 2008, Hillary Clinton soundly beat Obama, and that Obama’s highly publicized visit to Massachusetts to endorse Coakley was not effective. Frank is even running away from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, even though he has until recently been their champion in Congress.
Why will President Clinton appear in Taunton, at the southern tip of the gerrymandered Fourth District, rather than in the populous northern portion including Brookline and Newton? With a $2.4 million campaign fund, Frank has probably conducted polling. By inference, Frank feels safe with the Volvo liberals and Jews of Newton and Brookline. However, he has discovered that the blue collar Democrats of Taunton and Fall River, who are unsure of their livelihoods and jealous of the vast funds handed to Wall Street and government unions, feel abandoned by the Washington elites and are ready to jump ship.
Why is President Clinton appearing on September 26, and not closer to Election Day? Frank knows that the Bielat campaign now has a mere tenth of the funds that he has amassed due to his chairmanship of the House Financial Services Committee. Frank needs to strike early before Sean Bielat attracts the funding that will appear once there is recognition that he is well-qualified to serve and has a good chance of being elected.
Based on the failure of the Republican National Committee to foresee the success of the conservative candidates backed by the Tea Party activists in several primaries, and the failure to discipline and control the selfish candidacy of Senator Lisa Murkowski, there is concern the RNC will fail to fully support a viable candidate with strong character and a fine resume.
Do we live in a time when Democrats are competent campaigners but destructive managers of the nation, while Republicans would be competent mangers of the nation’s affairs but incompetent campaigners?