January 19, 2010 [LINK / comment]

Brown defeats Coakley, decisively

Sorry, Democrats, there won't be any recounts in Massachusetts! Confirming what the polls were saying, Scott Brown easily prevailed over Martha Coakley in the special election for the U.S. Senate today, by a 52%-47% margin. Let the record show that Republican Brown won the election by capturing an overwhelming share of the independent voters -- the same winning strategy followed by Bob McDonnell last year, and the same approach which I have advocated over and over through the years. Granted, that's the only real way a Republican can win in Massachusetts. But maybe the message is finally sinking in among Republicans nationwide. As Brown declared in his victory speech tonight:

The independent voice of Massachusetts has spoken!

It's just too bad the Fox News had to spoil the occasion by featuring two guest commentators who epitomize the unfortunate polarizing tendency within the Republican Party today: Karl Rove and Sarah Palin.

Speaking of which, Andrew Sullivan (hat tip to Bruce Bartlett) has some (predictable) cautionary words that remind us that the Republicans need to reflect just a bit before exulting in glee. He says Brown "has no plans to cut the debt or control government," and that the Republicans "merely want to kill a reform presidency. They have no alternative [policy]." I don't know about Brown, but he may have a point about many of the Republicans in Congress. My comment on Facebook:

Sullivan is on target as far as Rovian hypocrisy, though I would like to think the Massachusetts election is more than a "hissy fit." If the Republicans, and especially the Tea Party "Base," don't face up to the ugly truth about their own complicity in this country's fiscal mess, it's all but certain that they will misinterpret today's results just as badly as the Democrats misinterpreted Obama's 2008 victory, and likewise miss another historic opportunity for true reform.

Be that as it may, we can at least be sure that the threat of a government takeover of health care, and the march toward socialism in general, has been stalled for the moment, at least. How the next chapter unfolds depends to a large extent on whether the Democrats are going to ignore voter sentiment and press on with their agenda before their "window of opportunity" slams shut. Will they make excuses to prevent Brown from taking office in the Senate until they have pulled some legislative tricks? Not if the people of Massachusetts have anything to do with it. In the middle of the victory rally, the crowd started a chant aimed directly at the Democratic leaders in Congress:

Seat him NOW! Seat him NOW! Seat him NOW!

Actually, the threat of Democratic stalling tactics has just diminished, as Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) released a statement urging that no votes on health care be taken until Brown is officially seated as U.S. Senator. If a Democrat says such a thing, there is no way that Harry Reid will risk further damage to his party's sullied image. Good for Webb!

So what will the political ramifications be in Washington? Yesterday, Republitarian solicited forecasts as to how the Democrats would spin a loss by Coakley. My two cents:

Easy -- they will blame it on the lousy economy which Obama inherited from Bush. They can't heap blame directly on Coakley, of course, because she's a women, and it would be hard for Democrats to alienate a key constituency. They will reflexively accuse Brown of lies and distortions and scare tactics, linking him to the Tea Baggers, but in so doing they might even put themselves in a bigger hole for the elections next fall, because all indications are that Brown is a very decent [and] sincere guy.

"America Rising" video

It may seem a little disturbing for younger viewers, but for a good portrayal of the deep, widespread anger against Obama and the Democrats across the Fruited Plain, watch the America Rising Video at youtube.com.