Mass. Senate Race is a Sign of Things to Come

Republican Scott Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley Tuesday in the Mass. Senate race called after Sen. Edward kennedy's death.

BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN

The election of Republican Scott Brown to the Senate seat held for decades by Sen. Edward Kennedy dealt a huge blow to the Democratic Party and the White House’s ambitious legislative agenda.

Despite the fact that Democratic candidate Martha Coakley waged a poor campaign and that the state and national Democratic parties remained largely unengaged in this race, the single overwhelming message from this contest is that voters are expressing their discontent with the White House.  This was the third such defeat for the Obama Administration, which, in the fall, lost two gubernatorial seats in New Jersey and Virginia to the Republican Party.

Voter dissatisfaction is the product of a number of factors, including, of course, the macro-issues that lead the news, such as healthcare reform and economic recovery, but also, and very powerfully, the electoral unrest we are seeing today is also the result of the collective impact of the Administration’s disappointments of individual constituencies over specific policy failures.  No where is this more evident than in the Armenian American community, a voting bloc that energetically backed the Obama campaign, but has, in the months since the President’s inauguration, been betrayed and even insulted on a regular basis.

Conversations with relatives, friends and Armenian community members in Massachusetts during the past several days revealed the searing disappointment and discouragement in the Armenian American electorate with the Obama Administration and, fairly or unfairly, with his Democratic allies in Congress.  Hope has turned to anger, and, as a result, we are seeing Armenians upset with the President’s broken Armenian Genocide pledge simply writing off anything to do with a president who could not find the courage to honor his word on a fundamental matter of human rights.

“We saw what our support last year resulted in,” or “Why should I support someone who has accepted an ward from the ADL” (Coakley reportedly was given an award by the Genocide denying Anti-Defamation League), or “I am going to vote for Brown just to send a message to Obama,” were just a sampling of comments I heard during my conversations with the folks in Massachusetts. Clearly, the Administration’s Democratic Congressional allies are already bearing the brunt of this frustration.

For her part, Coakley issued her statement to the Armenian-American community only four days before the election – too little, too late – especially given the sharpened skepticism that the President’s failure to honor his supposedly “rock-solid” pledge has fostered in the Armenian American electorate. If she had worked harder and smarter and done some real outreach, she could have overcome the “handicap” that Obama saddled her with among Armenian American voters, but she didn’t, likely costing her tens of thousands of votes that could have helped shift the election her way.

As we enter the mid-term election cycle this year, voter discontent with the Obama Administration and its policies will resonate on the national level, but more fervently they will echo within the Armenian-American voting base as the hope for change promised last year during the election campaign has turned into not just unfulfilled campaign promises but a disregard toward the Armenian-American community by the White House, the State Department and the entire administration.

Bearing the brunt of this will be our Democratic Congressional allies who have fought long and hard for our community’s aspirations and are seeking re-election this year.

One of the key races of 2010 will be the Nevada U.S. Senate race, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a long-time supporter of Armenian issues and a cosponsor of the Senate Genocide bill, S. Res. 316, is currently trailing in the polls against Republican opponents Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian, son of legendary UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian. If elected, Tarkanian would be the first Armenian-American to serve in the Senate.

In Illinois, the Armenian community has already thrown its support behind Republican Armenian Caucus co-chairman Mark Kirk in his race to take the Senate seat once held by President Obama.

In the wake of the disappointments of this past year, the Armenian-American community is energized to deliver its greatest turnout ever at the polling booths this November. In what is sure to be a hotly contested electoral season, every vote will count, and, as far as Armenian-Americans are concerned, every vote will have to be earned as well.

After the disappointment of this past year, the Armenian-American community is poised to hit the polling booths in greater numbers and more vocally campaign for its interests in Washington. The results might not bode well for the Obama Administration, which right now enjoys an absolute majority in Congress.

A lot can change between now and November. President Obama can, and should, start by first honoring his pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide and then instructing his State Department to back off on the Protocols, strengthen ties with Armenia, and support the self-determination of Nagorno Karabakh.

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38 Comments

  1. Kevork K Kalayjian Jr said:

    Obama broke his promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide thus appeasing the Muslim Turks! If he does not rectify his feeble moral characteristics, he stands to lose the next election.

  2. Jack said:

    As an Armenian American voter in Massachusetts (who stupidly backed Obama last year) I proudly voted for Brown yesterday. I didn’t think twice about my decision. Obamby screwed Armenians royally in April and it was my turn – and my families – to reciprocate his ‘graciousness’.
     
    Stick that in your pipe Ms. Powers.

    • Levon said:

      ditto Jack. I rounded up my family members in my Suburban and we all went to send a resoundingly clear message to our boy in the White House – “We aint going out like that!”. And let me say very clearly from now, obama will feel this sting in the polls from all of us again in the next round.
      verch.

  3. John Karasarkissian said:

    It is a pipe dream to expect Obama honor his commitment recognizing Armenian Genocide. We, Armenians should be smarter and not take every politician’s promises at the face value, organize better and put forward our own candidates. As the Armenian proverb said  ” Yeghung yerkartsru vor gkoukhet qeres”

  4. Karo Khanjian said:

    I agree with you 100%.  We may not have a large number of voters but I believe we do impact on results. I have already sent an email to President Obama expressing my disappointments and asking to honor his pledges.  In my opinion we should launch an email campaign and any other means to President Obama to change his course of action and respect his campaign promises. 

  5. Liz said:

    I wonder if the ADL intentionally wanted to anger the Armenian-American community to redirect  their votes toward Brown with their generous award to Coakly?

  6. Vazken said:

    In election times, substantial number of votes are disqualified during the counts, or voted to the wrong candidate, we called it “Donkey” votes, because the person who cast his/her vote is untrained to complete the voting card, therefore is wested. 
    Armenian community leaders, specially ANCA,  should organise social seminars around tea-party and give them crush course. I am sure the candidate will come to the party also. In this way Armenian votes will be reckoned.

  7. Mike Gomez said:

    Its about time people recognized that we have been bamboozed and hypnotized by the retoric of President Barack Obama. There is a film recently made titled “The Obama Deception” ask around for it and it will explained what has clearly happened to our political landscaped. Ever wonder why Obama kept so many left overs from the Clintion administration and of all persons Secretary of Defense Robert Gates? And what hypocracy of him receiving the Nobel Peace prize while at the same time sending 30,000 troops to continue these terrible wars. Nothing has changed and the Bush legacy continues if not expanding two fold. I would encourage people to start calling for Impeachment of the President, because he has lied to the American people and its obvisiously that he says one thing and acts another. Impeach Now!

  8. Serge said:

    This is a message to Obama and his administration to not underestimate the Armenian power. Don’t  mess with Armenians. 

    • Hey4Life said:

      Lets not get caried away.  were the armenians in Mass. who overturn this?  Did all the armenians vote for Brown? I don’t think so. 

      • Serge said:

        Ofcourse we would never know if Armenians had any effect on the outcome, however Obama and his administration are very well aware of sizable Armenian community that exist in Mass. 

  9. KRIKOR said:

    COME ON GUYS!!! you don’t know and understand this country and how it’s run, Democrats or Republicans doesn’t matter, they are the same as 2 faces for 1 coin, same targets, same stratigies but in deferent ways, on Armenian issuess our interests never met in the past 100 years, so please don’t beleive and trust USA in any armenian cause and the history proves it. 

  10. insight said:

    Այո, Օպաման մեզի սուտ ըսաւ, բայց մի կարծէք որ ռազմասեր Րիփըլիքանները տարբեր պիտի ըլլան։  Հայաստանի լաւութիւնը իրենց հոգերնին չէ։

  11. Nairian said:

    I am afraid you have right to say what you said Krikor.  They are alike and nothing no party will change to be in favor of our cause; I mean about Genocide approval or being Armenia’s friend.  Democrats or Republicans are both alike and when elected they become puppets for both Turkey and Israel.

  12. Mihran Keheyian said:

    Please do not trust any politician as they are all good liars,its their profession,as for us Armenians we should only trust our own kind if we want to get anywhere,get involved in local,state.and federal politics in order to have any influence,that is the order of the day.

  13. Kevork said:

    Does the Armenian American community want to become Republican again? It is the better choice.

    • insight said:

      Հայը ոչ DEM է, ոչ ալ REP։  Մի խաբուիք։  Երկուքն ալ թրքասեր են բայց յայտնի է որ republicanները Թրքերուն աւելի մօտ են։  Իրենց գործարաններն են որ թրքին զենքեր կը ծախեն։  Simply put, the republicans are able to extract more profit from their anti-armenian policies than are the democrats.  Մի խաբուիր։

  14. shanto said:

    why do all armenians presume that their vote will change ANYTHING when it comes to the U.S.  stance on the genocide????  there’s so much money in the region that no “Mega-corporation” is willing to jeopardize the flow of $$$$. they buy dems and republicans , the same way they transferred $5 billion bucks into Serjo’s Swiss Bank acct and bought his vorig toooo.

    • Kiazer Souze said:

      Shanto,

      Ayo, girnank sheenel!!!! Have some faith brother. We need to get involved in the very tight races and punish and reward Pavlovian style. That means all around the United States. That means we need to remain as independents and make outcome determinative choices as a united voting block. Right now, the United States is half Democrats and half Republicans and the races are going to be tight. That means we have power to determine elections.

      As far as Serjoo, if he does anything that contradicts the declaration of independence, his behind, his wife’s, his daughters, his in-laws, his bankers, his lawyers, his accountants, his dog, his cat and anything that has DNA will be toast.

  15. Ferhat said:

    Forgive me my Armenian friends, I know as a Kurd, I have no right to make a personal comment here, but with your kind permission, here it is:
    If I was an Armenian, I would wait and see what Mr. Browns “thinking” is regarding the Genocide. Armenians SHOULD IMMEDIATELY contact Mr. Brown and congratulate him on his election. Sitting idly and doing nothing, will allow the Turkish lobby to fill in the gaps. If given the chance, the Turkish lobby, supported by Turkish intelligence agents will quickly “hijack” Mr. Brown and he will forever “work/vote” for the interests of the Genocidal Turkish republic. This is a serious mtter, you snooze, you lose.
    As for Barak Husseyn Obama, one Turk was boasting to me that “if we were able to keep the White presidents tied to our fingers, Obama being Black and Muslim was the easiest catch for us.”
    God bless Armenia and all Armenians.
    Down with Genocidal Turkish republic.
    If you are Not united, these Genocidal Turks  will crush you in as little as a few days.
    Ferhat

  16. Sirvart Garabedian said:

    After reading all the responses,  I found  most of them are reasonable and logical,.  My respect to all the responders, I fully aggree with Nairian’s response.  It doesn’t matter which party is leading the U.S. nation,  once they take the White house seat,  obviously they forget their promises during the campaign and it is not unusual to Armenian American voters.  Hopfully somebody like Mr. Reagan comes to power to publicly recognize the Armenian Genocide, lets keep our fingers crossed and not have high hopes as Krikor mentioned we don’t expect any new comer within 100 years to keep his promise.  Time will tell!!! 

  17. Genocide denierInvestigator said:

    but she accepted the award so, that’s that so whether they did it to make us react, and we did! well, yeah,  good.   i believe the President will recognize the genocide, be nice OK? he went to Turkey and said face your history, in their parliament and to their faces, they throw the curve ball of the two counties working it out and historical commission, then he said whatever is your argument now, with the historical commission and all, my stand and belief is unchanged about the crime. so, belive me i was and sometimes still now was so angry, you don’t want to know, but the fact is he had to politically accept their BS now Turkey has no choice and is running out of time, wants that border open more so than us, has more to gain. but is playing the game to on one hand camouflage, and, show off and it’s politics, i believe none of the big powers care anymore what happens to Turkey, so they are tolerated and they can see the desperation building up but they feel well, you got away with it and had a chance to do the right thing and didn’t so whatever happens now is on you. and its coming to head in the best possible way for us, in-spite of.

  18. Levon said:

    Shanto, do not shoot off your hips. How do you know they “transfrred $5 billion bucks ino Serjo’s Swiss Bank acct”? If you have proof, let’s see it. If not, just stick to local politics. Becaue until that sentence, you were right on target.

  19. Serge said:

    hello and Parev,
    I live in France and I aggree with what is said. As journalist and longstanding observer of american politics, I think that a major blow will again be given to the current adminstration in Nov 2010 if Obama doesn’t change its mind.

  20. FEDAYI said:

    DEAR BROTHERS  & SISTERS  NEVER BIELIVE IN POLITICIANS …..OUR LAND DONT HAVE FUELS OR DIMONDS OR SEA ……..AMERICANS SELL THERE MOTHERS FOR MONEY …SO………..WAKE UP!!!!! BE SMARTER OUR SOLUTION IS ONLY ONLY………………………………………(FIGHT))) FOR FREE INDIPENDENT ARMENIAAAAAAA NAGORNO KARABAKH IS ONLY THE FIRST STEP & LISBON WAS NOT THE LAST EMBASSY……(A.R.F.) LONG LIVE ARMENIA

  21. Anthony Ekmekjian said:

    I am discussted with the way we are doing business. We should have distanced ourselves from Democrats.

    • Kiazer Souze said:

      And, run to the welcoming arms of Limbaugh, the ADL and Bush Jr? …..oh please…stop it with the politics.

      These people are prostitutes. You have to treat that way. They are not your friends. They do all kinds of dirty things for you. They have no morals or principals. Money talks and the rest of the crap walks. We need to spend money on campaign adds to get rid of Byrd, McCain, Lieberman (the proxy for ADL and the Turkish denial machines).

    • Charles S. said:

      For someone who sides with the AGBU and their pro-protocol rhetoric Mr. Ekmekjian, I would rather you kept your whining to a minimum. Besides, the Democrats support the pathetic protocols that you and your charity organization seem to fervently endorse.
      Shame on you and your inept and supposedly non-political organization.

  22. Frank said:

    If you compare Armenians to what they were 50 years ago ,sure we are more influential
    However I dont think we should get all excited that Armenians are very powerful and that we can control Amercia.
    What is happening is that our Jewish brothers are coming to our side.
    We should not take this for granted.
    It is an oppurtunity to become close with them.
    Remember that Abraham and his family  in the Bible was from Urfa, that is Ancient Armenia
    We have had our share of differences but I think this is something very good

  23. Barkev Asadourian said:

    Charles, well wrote,and DITTO
    I Will add that those group are the VIRUS of Armenian Cause.

  24. Harout said:

    Parev,
    There is a lot of information that needs to be told and the Armenians (both factions–Hunchags and Tashnags) must follow:
    1.  We, as Armenians, need to team as ONE; we must not send MIXED MESSAGES to world leaders.  Obama sees and hears that “some” Armenians are for the protocols and “some” Armenians are against them.  There is no sense of unity.  Imagine, if we united, what kind of STRONG MESSAGE there would be to Obama and other world leaders.
    2.  Obama is an academic scholar.  If he doesn’t know, his political team told him–there is a large Armenian population in the Boston area.  They helped influence the election in Brown’s favor because Obama lied to the Armenian American community.
    3.  As of right now, we cannot side for either republicans or democrats.  It doesn’t matter anymore; we must look at the INDIVIDUAL candidate.  If we have a mixture of republicans and democrats that support Armenians, it will be more helpful because it will create bi-partisan support.  Yes, it;s a long shot.  And, yes, we should vote for “our own kind.”  But we are very limited in numbers.  We should vote for Armenians, Greeks, etc.  The last President to acknowledge the Genocide was Ronald Reagan, a republican.
    4.  Armenians should be patient but alert and assertive, especially at a time like today.  Let Obama see that one year after he lied last April 24th for the supposed success of the protocols, the Turks have not ratified them and they are setting pre-conditions (for Azerbaijan).  Armenia has so far complied with Obama’s requests.  Obama and Clinton said no preconditions.  Medvedev said no preconditions.  My prediction is that Obama will not recognize the Genocide this year also.  He will say “medz yekhern” again and use the protocols as an excuse.  He will say we have one country that ratified them and we are awaiting the second country (Turkey) to follow.  It seems obvious that Obama (muslim by heart) will betray the first Christian country.  But, I have faith that Obama on April 24 2011 will realize he has been fooled and correct his statement.  When the US leaves Iraq, there will not be any need from the  Turks for airspace.  I believe with intense lobbying and active Armenian American communities, we can have hope again that Obama will do the right thing.

  25. Kiazer Souze said:

    Looks Like Kirk is going to win as well. I can’t wait for April 24, to hear what president Obama has to say. If he doesn’t say it, Danny Tarkanian is going to win Nevada.

    However, we need a lot more IANs in congress.

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