The Tables Have Turned

One year ago today among soaring public opinion polls and global accolades, the Barack Obama was preparing for his inauguration and the beginning of what would be one of the most radical presidencies in modern memory. A year later, he’s been dealt a nearly fatal political blow.

The Democratic loss of Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, a seat controlled by that family for nearly 60 years in heart of dark-blue Massachusetts (note the spelling), cannot be understated. Especially in light of earlier losses in Virginia and the Democratic strong-hold of New Jersey, Scott Brown’s clear victory emphasizes the shifting mood of American politics.

One of the over-riding themes in the election concerned health-care. Scott Brown was clearly opposed to the federal reform bills, while his opponent clearly supported the bills in Congress. Considering that Massachusetts already has a state-level universal health care coverage system, the results of the election are particularly interesting in that light. The Massachusetts model has often been pointed to as an example for federal reform. The people placed under its “care” however, seem not to care for it. For a nice touch of irony, keep in mind that Ted Kennedy made health care reform the primary goal of his career. The successor to the Liberal Lion will now be the vote that effectively kills ObamaCare in the Senate. That is, of course, unless the Democrats decide to go nuclear. In my humble opinion, that would be political suicide. As the people have just demonstrated that they don’t want this, it would seem unwise to attempt to ram it down our throats, especially in an election year. Brown will also likely cause problems for such things as Cap and Tax and other high priority items on Obama’s domestic agenda.

Also consider that Obama carried the state by 26 points in 2008. Tonight, his agenda as personified by Martha Coakley was soundly rejected by the people of Massachusetts. This reveals an electorate that began to shift to the right in November and is now moving full-steam into the arms of the conservative movement, even in the most liberal state in the country.

In short, this election is of monumental importance both for practical politics and for deep, philosophical discussions about the direction of American politics. November should be fun.

4 comments

  1. Eh, this was still the Democrats' race to lose. Paradigm shift, I think not.

    This is the state that elected Mitt Romney seven years ago. Romney has been conspicuously absent from the Bay State public, which I suspect has to do with his leaving abruptly to run for president and a GOP desire to not remind America that Massachusetts does from time to time elect Republicans (another note on Romney, though: he has been a huge financial backer of Brown from the onset, despite his lack of stumping for him). With the Kennedy brand gone, the Senate seat was fair game, for a change.

    It is great political theater, and the rhetorical point it lends to the right, rather than the situational reality, is what matters anyway.

    1. I don't get how it was the Democrats' race to lose. This is pretty crazy. It's not like Scott Brown had it in the bag. I think the Democrats have messed up big time and I think this is proof.

  2. "I don't get how it was the Democrats' race to lose….It's not like Scott Brown had it in the bag."

    Lose the thought somewhere?

    Massachusetts already has a lot of the proposed legislation enacted (to the point where Mass. is exempt from a lot of it), meaning the bills in question don't (shouldn't, save a bad candidate) mean that much to its voters.

    She tried to tie George Bush around his neck, forgetting that this was a state that (as I said before, that you ignored) did elect a Republican governor three years into the Bush Administration. The bailouts, the "soak the rich" line Obama has taken probably influenced the race, but "socialization of medicine" probably did not.

    Symbolic, yes, but not a David and Goliath story. But hey, we aren't counting on the MSM for historical perspective.

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