One year after Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration, the people of Massachusetts have staged an uprising, sending a Republican to the Senate to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy in a special election. In an upset of epic proportions -- turning around a 30-point, post-primary deficit -- Senator-elect Scott Brown (R-Mass.) trounced his Democrat opponent, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley by five full percentage points. Brown ran a national campaign as the 41st vote in the Senate to stop the government takeover of health care. He opposed the out-of-control spending, the cap and trade national energy tax and the Democrats’ disastrous approach to terrorism. Brown turned this race into a referendum on the out of control government in Washington and won a resounding victory.
The worst thing Republicans could do is misread this breathtaking victory. This wound was self-inflicted by the arrogant liberal leadership in Washington from the White House to Congress. Brown won thanks to the huge number of independents that turned out for him and the reported 22% of Democrats that crossed party lines to vote for him. “Tonight the independent voice of Massachusetts has spoken,” Brown said in his victory speech, as the crowd chanted “Forty-one, forty-one,” in reference to the Obama agenda-stopping 41st vote in the Senate and “Seat him now, seat him now,” warning national Democrats not to try to play politics with the timing on Brown’s swearing in.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell immediately welcomed his caucus’ newly-elected senator with open arms. Should the tone-deaf Democrat leadership try to force nationalized health care through the House, the most likely scenario would be for the House to attempt to pass unchanged the highly-controversial bill Senate Democrats rammed through over Christmas. That would mean the Cornhusker Kickback, the Second Louisiana Purchase and the selective deals for unions backing Obama in the last election would remain in the bill unchanged.
In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process,” Webb said. “It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders. To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated.”
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) sounded the alarm before the election results were in. “There’s going to be a tendency on the part of our people to be in denial about all this,” Bayh told ABC News, but “if you lose Massachusetts and that’s not a wake-up call, there’s no hope of waking up.” Even Howard Dean, chairman emeritus of the Democratic Party was forced to admit on a cable news program, “It was a backlash against Washington.”