is nominally between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown, but over the past few days it’s turned into a race between Coakley’s Democrats and the bottom of the garbage can. Reaching into the bottom of the garbage can, the Massachusetts Democratic Party has sent out a four-page mailer whose cover alleges that “1,736 women were raped in Massachusetts in 2008. Scott Brown wants hospitals to turn them all away.”
The allegation is false, of course. Bill Kristol summarily disposes of the allegation and William Jacobson collects the comments of unamused liberal pundits who have condemned it.
Jim Hoft notes that that the Brown campaign has filed a complaint against the Massachusetts Democratic Party under state law prohibiting false statements against political candidates that are designed or tend “to aid or to injure or defeat such candidate,” with a penalty of to $1,000 fine and up to six months in prison. Jim has also posted the Washington Times video of the Brown campaign press conference announcing the complaint.
The Democrats’ gambit reeks of desperation. It suggests that Democrats know Coakley is down and that the dynamics of the race need to be reversed for Coakley to win.
President Obama’s arrival in Massachusetts this afternoon on behalf of Coakley is designed to increase turnout among Democratic voters. In a regular election and a normal year, Obama’s appearance should be worth a three- or four-point bump for Coakley, perhaps enough to put her over the top. But this is a special election in a year during which Obama’s residual personal popularity has not proved transferable. Obama’s personal popularity has not proved transferable because of the unpopularity of his policies.
The Massachusetts Democrats’ bottom-of-the-barrel approach to the election’s waning days should hurt Coakley rather than help her because it is so transparent, so obviously over the top. Or so I would like to think.
UPDATE: Michael Graham provides evidence of the departure of this race from the norm.
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