Thursday, January 21, 2010

Scott Brown Shocks The World

In a special election in Massachusetts for the U.S. Senate, in which Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 3-1 margin, little known state senator Scott Brown shocked the country by soundly defeating Attorney General Martha Coakley by a 5 point margin, 52-47. This surprising election result sent tremors across the country and struck fear in incumbent Democratic politicians facing election this November. If Ted Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts wasn’t safe, what seat is for the Democrats?

How big was this? This was huge, really HUGE. This was David vs. Goliath, the Goliath being the Massachusetts Democrat dominated political establishment. The Senate seat has been held by Democrats; mostly the Kennedy family since 1952. This is a bigger upset than the NY Giants defeating the 18-0 New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. How can Massachusetts vote Republican for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat?

It is easy to pin the blame on the poorly run Coakley campaign or this being a rejection of the Obama agenda, however there is more to it than that. Below is what happened that brought about a Republican being elected to the Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy for 47 years.

Scott Brown – He worked HARD to win. He pounded the pavement, shook hands in the cold and snow, put forth brilliant TV commercials and annihilated Coakley in the debates. His “every man driving a truck” persona was a big winner. Two keys for Brown – the TV commercial that caught all the Democrats off guard, where he compared JFK’s pro tax cut economic policies to his own, and when he told debate moderator David Gergen that it wasn’t Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat or the Democrats’ Senate seat, but the people’s seat. Brown was a terrific candidate.

Martha Coakley – Martha, or Marsha as Patrick Kennedy called her, was an aloof, stiff, tin eared, gaffe prone candidate. During the last two weeks of the campaign, she couldn’t stop putting her foot in her mouth. Put that together with the fact that she tried to run a Rose Garden campaign strategy gave a vibe to voters that she didn’t care about what they thought and that she her elevation to the U.S. Senate should be a coronation

Massachusetts Democratic Politics – Governor Deval Patrick is despised by Massachusetts voters for not fulfilling his 2006 campaign promises and ultimately turning into the stereotypical Beacon Hill insider. During last year’s recession, Patrick hired 1300 people to the state payroll, plus pushed through a sales tax hike, which rose from 5% to 6.25%. Considering the unemployment rate is 10%, people are tightening up their personal finances, and private sector jobs are scarce to come by, the electorate was in a foul mood. Complicating matters is the fact that the last three Massachusetts House Speakers have been indicted and 3 state senators have left their positions due to various crimes.

Barack Obama and the Democratic Majorities in the House and Senate – Exactly 364 days since his inauguration, President Obama’s agenda was derailed by Scott Brown's election. The Democrats had a filibuster proof majority in the Senate and blew it by overreaching, passing a $900 billion stimulus bill that did not help the economy or the unemployment rate, and trying to rush through deeply unpopular healthcare legislation in a partisan manner. Now that Scott Brown has been elected to the U.S. Senate, the health care bill in its current state is likely dead. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid share the responsibility with Obama for this defeat.

Repudiation of the Liberal Agenda – After one year in power, the Democratic/liberal agenda has already been rejected. The massive debt accrued and the $1.3 trillion dollar budget deficit has put a major burden on our children’s future. In the U.S. Senate, there is no such thing as a moderate Democrat anymore. They are all extreme liberals looking to pass bills that would move the U.S towards Socialism. President Obama ran as a moderate, promising change and rode into office with a mountain of goodwill. He quickly squandered it, by going hard to the left, and not looking to work with Republicans and compromise. Pelosi and Reid wrote bills without any Republican input and worked to ram them through their bills respective legislative bodies. Also hurting the Democrats was their views on terrorism where they wanted terrorists tried in a criminal court of law, instead of a military tribunal, as well as their efforts to close the base at Guantanamo Bay.

Scott Brown holds mostly conservative Republican views, but ran as an independent thinker, reaching out to those who are unaffiliated with either major political party. Brown’s common sense approach on tax cuts, terrorism, and health care resonated with an anxious electorate.

Senator Brown has given the GOP the blueprint it needs to add seats during the mid term elections in November in Washington DC, as well as at the state level. The GOP will definitely pick up seats in November in Washington. What will be most interesting is if the Brown phenomenon makes the GOP a viable party in Massachusetts come November. The beauty of the Brown victory is the hope it gives to every Republican in Massachusetts who’s ever dreamed of running for the Legislature or statewide office. Many Republicans will think, “why not me?” I predict there will be more contested seats in MA than there’s been in a long time. Could the bluest state become purple? One can dream.

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