I was at tango when the results came in: Scott Brown won the Senate seat formerly occupied by Ted Kennedy, the day before the 1-year anniversary of Obama’s inauguration,
Democrats seek back footing after epic Mass. loss
Republicans are rejoicing and Democrats reeling in the wake of Scott Brown’s stunning victory over Martha Coakley in a special Massachusetts Senate election that Brown insists was not simply a referendum on President Barack Obama.
Still, Obama grimly faced a need to both regroup and recoup losses on Wednesday, the anniversary of his inauguration, in a White House shaken by the realization of what a difference a year made. The most likely starting place was finding a way to save the much-criticized health care overhaul he’s been trying to push through Congress.
Brown will become the 41st Republican in the 100-member Senate, which could allow the GOP to block the health care bill. Democrats needed Coakley to win for a 60th vote to thwart Republican filibusters.
Brown became the first Republican elected to the U.S. Senate from supposedly true-blue Democratic Massachusetts since 1972.
Democrats are upset, and the liberal reaction is what one expects.
Clearly the Brown victory shakes up the balance of power in Washington since
The Brown victory forces the White House and congressional leaders to decide how—or whether—to salvage their long-sought health-care overhaul. Rushing the bill after losing Massachusetts carries political risks. So does letting it collapse.
Anticipating rough sledding for the bill, the S&P health-care sector stock index surged by more than 2% Tuesday, leading all other industry sectors, with managed-care stocks posting strong gains.
But another important factor is Brown’s stance on national security: Marc Thiessen, in an email this morning notes,
Most of the focus on the Massachusetts Senate race has been on health care.
But according to Senator-elect Brown’s chief strategist, terrorist interrogation was the issue that put his candidate over the top.
“People talk about the potency of the health-care issue,” Brown’s top strategist, Eric Fehrnstrom, told National Review’s Robert Costa, “but from our own internal polling, the more potent issue here in Massachusetts was terrorism and the treatment of enemy combatants.”
The Republicans should celebrate Brown’s victory, yes. It shows that
Any candidate that condescends, takes for granted, turns a deaf ear and ignores the will of the people will go down like Martha Coakley. Every seat will be contested if the constituents are discontented.
On the one hand, there is the danger that if the GOP were actually to cooperate with Democrats on issues of mutual concern, they wouldn’t get any credit for their efforts from the voters. On the other hand, there is the real danger that the charge of “obstructionism” by Democrats may carry a little more weight given the circumstances of Brown’s victory.
Threading the needle on expectations is going to be an interesting problem for the Republican leadership, one made more complex by the activism of the tea party movement. Paralysis may be the only viable option when so many are so angry at so much of the inside-the-beltway elite. “Responsible” governance might require that the GOP work with the Democrats to at least bring the economy out of its horrible doldrums. But anything proposed beyond tax cuts would probably be met by fierce resistance from those who see any government spending to stimulate the economy as worse than useless and an actual betrayal of conservative principles.
Such might be the case, but the question of whether the bulk of the American people will stand still for gridlock with the economy in the shape it is in today needs to be answered. The Republicans may want to think long and hard about that in the run-up to the 2010 midterms, when voters may decide that those who obstructed measures that might have lifted the economy out of its malaise without offering any realistic alternative of their own should not be rewarded with the keys to power.
The Republicans have their work cut out for them.
And yes, thank you and congratulations, Scott Brown.