Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The People's Seat...

Scott Brown won!  Awesome!

It feels a bit like the coyote caught (and ate) the roadrunner, or the Poe visitor didn't return – something that just wasn't supposed to happen, something you thought couldn't possibly happen.  And yet it did.

Nowhere in these United States is there a more liberal state than Massachusetts – it's justifiably famous for its liberality.  This is the state that gave us not only Ted Kennedy, but Barney Frank, John Kerry, and a long list of other “progressive” celebrities.  This is a state where the Democrats have a 3:1 advantage over the Republicans, who have merely a token place in state politics.  It's basically a one-party state, with a political machine second to none in the country.  In that state, Scott Brown won!

Scott Brown gave an excellent victory speech last night.  This lad has a real future in national politics.  In fact, there are some interesting parallels between him and a certain former young Senator from Illinois.  But back to the speech...  Here are a couple of my favorite moments:
Let me tell you when I first got the feeling something big was happening in this campaign. It was when I was driving along and spotted a handmade, Scott Brown yard sign that I hadn’t actually put there myself.

This little campaign of ours was destined for greater things than any of us knew, and the message went far beyond the name on the sign.

It all started with me, my truck, and a few dedicated volunteers.  It ended with Air Force One making an emergency run to Logan. I didn't mind when President Obama came here and criticized me - that happens in campaigns. But when he criticized my truck, that's where I draw the line.

And his wrap-up:
I go to Washington as the representative of no faction or interest, answering only to my conscience and to the people. I’ve got a lot to learn in the Senate, but I know who I am and I know who I serve.

I’m Scott Brown,

I'm from Wrentham,

I drive a truck, and I am nobody’s senator but yours.

That wrap-up sounds an awful lot like something a Tea Party candidate might say, should they win an election.  More of that, please, Scott – and with your actions, not just your rhetoric...

The distribution of votes within the state's districts is interesting.  Coakley won in the four largest urban centers (Boston, Springfield, Worchester, and New Bedford) and in a few other districts.  Scott Brown took everything else, and he took the rural areas with especially high margins.  If this were a state that had a history of close races (say, New Mexico, or Colorado), then you'd interpret this as a slight shift from former Democratic victories.  But in Massachusetts, where Democratic candidates for statewide office routinely win every district, this is a stunner – and it doesn't look anomalous, as it follows the usual pattern of Republican strength in the hinterlands and Democratic strength in the urban warrens...

The pundits are beside themselves with joy.  Scott Brown's victory gives them oodles of juicy new material to chow down on.

Me, I'm focused on a few near-term effects that are obvious:
  • The healthcare reform bill, in anything even remotely resembling its current form, is dead.  This is for two reasons: the direct effect of Scott Brown's 41st filibuster-enabling vote, and the indirect effect of the election on all the incumbent Democrats coming up for election in November.  While Obama may choose to ignore the message from the voters in this election, you can bet your sweet bippy that the Democratic congresscritters will not.

  • We're going to see a sudden and dramatic change in the modus operandi of the Democratic regime – because they now understand that no congressional seat is safe.  If Scott Brown can claim the “liberal lion's” seat in the liberal haven of Taxachussets, then any Democratic seat is at risk, not just the wobbly ones.  This will translate directly into less radical, more moderate behavior on the part of the Democrats – possibly even something recognizable as genuine bipartisanship.  Not because they want to, mind you, but only because the alternative is political death.
A couple of months ago I was feeling very pessimistic about the course of the federal government over The One's first term.  I'm feeling ever so much better about this now...

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