Dear Martha: you followed a play-it-safe strategy. You followed the conventional wisdom -- that short of making a big mistake, it was virtually impossible under basic math principles for Scott Brown to win. It worked in the primary. So you listened to your strategists and you played it safe. Let's leave to a later day the question of whether it was reasonable for you to deploy this strategy in the first place. For now, let's be clear on one thing: the strategy was an abysmal failure. It must change. And it must change now.
At bottom, the public doesn't like play-it-safers. Whether or not you feel this way (and I believe you do not), it conveys a sense of entitlement. "It is my seat to lose, so I need not stoop to get into it with you on the issues," it suggests. Meanwhile, Scott Brown, whose stance on most issues is miles apart from most Massachusetts citizens, is fighting his heart out for the seat. He is showing passion and, in so doing, sending the message that he wants this much more than you. He is winning hearts and minds.
Voters in Massachusetts are not dumb. But they are not nearly as ideological as people think. They value the good, old fashioned Yankee tradition of hard work and grit over ideology. A demonstration of good character can make up for a lot of bad ideology. What they despise more than anything is a sense of entitlement.
Martha, here's the good news. This is still salvageable. There are three critical days left and it is plenty of time to turn things around. But here is what you must do. You can no longer go out and "not lose" this election. You must now go out and win it. To do so, you need to show us the real Martha. Throw out the playbook, stop listening to your strategists and show us your passion; show us why you want it; what inspires you to fight against domestic violence, as you have; why you care deeply for the victim; the underdog, the little guy. Show us that humor you say you have at home. Give us a little Capuano or Hilary. Fight to earn this seat!! Show us why you share our deepest held beliefs and why you will be by far the best steward of our values in the Senate.
Don't give us legal mumbo jumbo, or dispassionate, calm talk when discussing the amendment that Scott Brown supported, which would have allowed health care workers to opt out of providing birth control to rape victims. Tells us why it matters and what is says about Scott Brown. Explain it to us in the way that Yvonne Abraham did in the Globe this week:
"Imagine this for a minute. You have just been brutally assaulted, and you’re traumatized. You’ve worked up the courage to go to the hospital. You’re terrified the animal who did this to you has gotten you pregnant. But the nurse who is seeing you happens to believe you should bear your rapist’s child. Now, on top of dealing with the horror of this crime, you have to work to get the care the law says you’re entitled to. Maybe you get lucky and you’re at a big hospital, and somebody else is available to give you the pill. Maybe it’s the middle of the night, and nobody else is available. Now what do you do? Start again at another hospital? What if the other hospital is miles away?"
That is what I mean by passion; by making it real.
In closing, Martha, be assured you can still win this race and win it big. Don't panic on account of the mob mentality that is seeming to develop around you. All you need to do is stay calm, be yourself and show us your passion. Go win this race.
Very truly yours,