Unless you’ve been living in a closet for 2 week, or are a die-hard Obama supporter trying to avoid the news, Scott Brown, the Republican, won the special election to fill the Senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy.
Yes, that Ted Kennedy.
Was this simply a local election, judged solely on local issues? I don’t think so, especially since Brown himself injected national issues into it when he said he would vote against health care "reform". Yes, local issues played a part, but I think the national ones overshadowed them.
This is Massachusetts, after all, one of the bluest of blue states, where Democrats outnumber Republicans 3.5 to 1, and where they were replacing a Democrat who’d held that seat for a generation.
Polls a month ago put Coakley ahead by 20 points. Brown then made it national, and all of a sudden the momentum shifted in a big way. The payoffs, most notably to Senator Ben Nelson, didn’t help matters.
There are those that say conservatives shouldn’t get credit for Coakley’s defeat, and explain why the loss was mostly, if not wholly, due to disappointment by Democrats in Obama; what he promised vs. what he’s delivered. The problem with that analysis is that not much on that front has changed in 3-4 weeks, when Coakley’s numbers tanked. The issues noted in that blog post — military commissions, international surveillance, drug laws, sentencing reform, Gitmo’s closing, the Afghanistan war, anti-terror policies — have not substantially changed one bit since mid-December. So you can’t really say that those are the issues that moved the voters. A sea changed occurred, and there’s one thing, one major issue, that did change during that time; the health care "reform" bill.
According to Rasmussen, 56% of voters thought that this was the most important issue. Brown brought up the issue of voting against it, and once he did, voters flocked to his side. Now true, some did so because they don’t like it at all, and some did so because they thought it didn’t go far enough. Rasmussen notes:
Forty-seven percent (47%) favor the health care legislation before Congress while 51% oppose it. However, the intensity was clearly with those who are opposed. Just 25% of voters in Massachusetts Strongly Favor the plan while 41% Strongly Oppose it.
Fifty percent (50%) say it would be better to pass no health care legislation at all rather than passing the bill before Congress.
But the point here is this is Massachusetts, after all, where Democrats far outnumber Republicans and where Ted Kennedy was in a safe Senate seat for a generation. And they’ve elected a man who says he’ll vote against the health care "reform" bill. Conservatives, mostly of the Tea Party variety, have been getting the word out on how awful this bill will be, and while the opinion polls have gone against it, now, more importantly, the voters have as well, pulling off what’s been called an epic upset.
Will Democrats in Washington get the message? We’ll see.