Politics has often been called the “Art of the Possible.” We have seen many a strange thing happen in the history of American elections. But nothing would be more unexpected, or more immediately helpful to the American people, than if Republican State Senator Scott Brown could pull of the mother of all upsets and capture the special election for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat on January 19th. A Brown victory would deny the Democrats the 60 votes necessary to shove through the takeover of the nation’s health care system.
For those political junkies who just assumed when Uncle Ted passed away that his seat would stay firmly in the grasp of the Howard Dean wing of the Democratic Party, take note, and take heart. State Attorney General Martha Coakley won the Democratic Primary with under 50% of the vote and has taken a cavalier attitude towards what she expected would be her coronation in the general.
Meanwhile, Senator Brown, and Army Reservist and an energetic campaigner, has been waging an insurgent battle that has pulled him to within nine points in the latest Rassmussen poll. According to Rassmussen, Brown’s surge is entirely due to a swing among independent voters, who can make the difference in Massachusetts in spite of the Democrats’ 3 to 1 edge in registration. Just ask GOP Governors Weld, Romney and Cellucci, who all have won statwide in the past two decades.
Even the New York Times, which would normally ignore any news that does not support its pro-Democrat narrative, has taken notice. It may be that the Gray Lady is trying to wake up the moribund Coakley campaign before it’s too late, but it is none the less a sign that this race is for real.
The Times also could not help but play its usual games trying to mischaracterize Brown, saying he hammered Coakley “as a ‘crusader’ for abortion rights,” implying that Brown is on the other side of the issue. Brown is, like almost all the remaining New England Republicans, pro-choice…apparently not pro-choice enough for the Times. The Times also fired shots at the messenger, joining others on the left to criticize Rassmussen’s methodology.
The fact remains that in normal circumstances, a state-wide elected Democrat with high name identification should be mopping the floor with an unknown state legislator in a state that Barack Obama won 62% of the vote.
The bottom line is that the movement among independent voters is attributable to Brown’s opposition to the Democrats’ health care bill. In Massachusetts, the state held up by Democrats as the example of how their idea of reform can work, the voters know differently. They are not pleased with the early results of the state’s health care reform. While it has brought many uninsured into the world of the covered, it has led to higher premium costs and tightened access for the vast majority of people with private coverage. This race is their chance to have their say on the Bay State’s experience and whether or not the idea should be taken much, much further in geographic, economic and regulatory terms.
It is also the only opportunity for Americans to have any say what so ever on the pending bill. Since the White House has weaseled out of its promise of transparency and Congressional leadership is holding the details closer than their ATM pin numbers, Americans can make a statement by helping Scott Brown in this race. If Brown has the resources to make a competitive media buy in the next two weeks, he could close the gap. Even if he falls short, the message will be unmistakable and could make other Democrats even more skittish about this albatross of a bill. Opponents of Obamacare across the country can easily toss a few dollars to Brown via his web site and it is the best way that Americans can actually prevent passage of the bill being crafted behind locked doors at this very moment.