A more cynical pundit might see this as a hamfisted attempt to manufacture a distraction amid electoral collapse. Good thing I’m not a cynic.

This ought to finish Coakley off with independents. Thanks, Waffles.

“I’m no stranger to hard fought campaigns, but what we’ve seen in the past few days is way over the line and reminiscent of the dangerous atmosphere of Sarah Palin’s 2008 campaign rallies. This is not how democracy works in Massachusetts,” Kerry said this afternoon in a statement.

“Scott Brown needs to speak up and get his out of state tea party supporters under control. In Massachusetts, we fight hard and win elections on the issues and on our differences, not with bullying and threats,” Kerry said.

Brown campaign spokesman Felix Browne said, “People are tired of John Kerry’s partisan politics. His baseless accusations reflect the desperate last gasps of a flailing campaign.”

“Scott Brown is running a positive campaign and has been since the beginning of the race,” Browne said in an emailed statement.

Supposedly Brown’s rallies are “dangerous” because one guy at one rally yelled a tasteless joke about Coakley that referenced her decision not to prosecute a gruesome case of child rape that later earned the rapist two life terms. Evidently Kerry’s more offended by the joke than the genuinely dangerous professional negligence by his pal Martha that inspired it. Three cheers for partisanship.

Oh, as for the “teabagger” crap, see here. Not the first U.S. Senator to try to mainstream that term, and certainly not the last.