If we could make the "cancer" of entitlement in our state go away, we could save so much money it would bring tears to your eyes.......
From the BEANTOWN GLOB
In public battles, entitlement buys nothing
By Joanna Weiss
Globe Columnist / January 16, 2010
YOU CAN’T turn on the TV right now without finding yourself in the crossfire of two epic battles: for Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat, and for Johnny Carson’s old desk on “The Tonight Show.’’ The stakes are different, obviously, but the same cautionary tale holds for both: Whether in politics or Hollywood contract negotiations, a sense of entitlement gets you nowhere.
Entitlement is a good chunk of the reason why Martha Coakley has watched her once-comfortable lead in the Senate race vanish. Her shock at her predicament is palpable. I can’t keep myself from giggling at one of her attack ads, so sinister in tone that it feels like self-parody. “Who is Scott Brown, really? A Republican,’’ it asks. Wait - he didn’t tell us that already?
But that’s the underlying message, apparently heartfelt: Can’t you people understand that Brown isn’t supposed to win this race? This is Massachusetts, after all, where congressional seats are supposed to be reserved for Democrats. And the primary, which Coakley won without exerting herself, did nothing to dissuade her that a candidate with Kennedyesque views and statewide name recognition owned the future.Assumptions can be hard to shake, in politics and in the equally political business of TV. And just as conventional wisdom holds that Massachusetts is ruled by the left, it says that TV is ruled by the young, the hip, the edgy. That’s why we keep getting shows like “Jersey Shore,’’ and why NBC promised “The Tonight Show’’ to Conan five years ago.
Now, Conan and his hipster fans seem shocked that the network would renege on its promise and cling to someone as square as Leno. So they’re reacting with their own, tech-savvy sense of entitlement. They’ve set up Facebook fan pages and drafted Shepard Faireyesque posters declaring, “I’m With Coco.’’ They’ve graft subtitled rants about Leno onto old German films about Hitler. It’s great stuff, but what is Leno supposed to do - disappear just because he isn’t hip? Give up the right, in a vicious and ego-driven business, to get the best time slot he can?
Or should he get credit for understanding his audience, and sensing that NBC would come around? After some boneheaded scheduling moves and clumsy negotiations, NBC realized its late-night future doesn’t rest with the young hipsters who don’t bother to watch TV at a scheduled time, or are already lost to the cult of Stewart and Colbert. Jay Leno speaks to the un-hip viewers who love “NCIS’’ and “CSI,’’ and who - for now, at least - are the power source for network TV.
You can’t win an election, either, without understanding where the power lies. That’s why, in Massachusetts, Scott Brown now has a chance. He knows that the swing voters here are the Interstate 495 independents. He knows they like candidates who reflect their frustration at the state of the world, and that they like to be asked for their support.
Now, they know who Brown is, too; ever since this race turned into a race, he’s been on the air so much that I can trace the outlines of his kitchen cabinets in my sleep. Brown’s ads are clever: They reflect a general sense of disgruntlement without bothering to get too specific. They sell the political equivalent of Leno, an everyman in a comfortable sweater who doesn’t like mean people.
It’s still amazing that Coakley hasn’t been able to tap into similar populist fervor, to connect her past work fighting Wall Street excesses to the news of record Wall Street salaries, to make a case that obstruction on health care is bad for the little guy, too. She needs her own “I’m With Coco’’ movement more than ever now. And while a rally with President Obama is one approach, she could also take a page from the O’Brien fans’ playbook, and try to turn her now-precarious situation into a source of strength.
Just as O’Brien is getting a ratings boost from gabbing about his misfortune, Coakley could get some sympathetic attention by offering an honest assessment of the race. She could apologize for thinking this was her seat to lose and admit she has to work for every vote. And then she could start working. Fast