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.
There is no spinning this one away. Democrats lost this supermajority seat in the bluest of blue states (which Obama carried by 26 points) to expressly put an end to their monopoly on power.
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.
“One thing is clear, voters do not want the trillion-dollar health care bill that is being forced on the American people,” Brown said. “This bill is not being debated openly and fairly. It will raise taxes, hurt Medicare, destroy jobs, and run our nation deeper into debt. It is not in the interest of our state or country — we can do better.”
Holding up a Boston Herald newspaper with the headline, “He Did It!” Brown said, “Every day I hold this office I will give all that is in me to serve you well and make you proud. Most of all I will remember that while the honor is mine, this senate seat belongs to no one person, no one political party. As I’ve said before, and you’ve heard it today, and you’ll hear it loud and clear, this is the people’s seat.”
“I said at the very beginning when I sat down at the dinner table with my family that, win or lose, we would run a race which would make all of us proud,” Brown said. “When I first started running I asked for a lot of help, because I knew it was going to be me against the machine. I was wrong. It was all of us against the machine. Tonight we have shown everybody now that you are the machine.”
Brown, a lieutenant colonel and 30-year member of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, also spoke against giving terrorists refuge in our civilian court system.
“Let me say this to the people who wish to harm us,” Brown said. “I believe, and I know all of you believe that our Constitution and laws exist to protect this nation. Let me make it very, very, very clear. They do not grant rights and privileges to enemies in wartime. The message we need to send in dealing with terrorists is our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them and not lawyers to defend them.”
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell immediately welcomed his caucus’ newly-elected senator with open arms.
“I want to congratulate Senator-elect Scott Brown on his decisive victory,” McConnell said. “There’s a reason the nation was focused on this race: The voters in Massachusetts, like Americans everywhere, have made it abundantly clear where they stand on health care. They don’t want this bill and want Washington to listen to them. Americans are investing their hopes in good Republican candidates to reverse a year-long Democrat trend of ignoring the American people on the issues of health care, spending and the growth of government.”
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.
Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) released a statement after the election that left no doubt that at least some in the Senate have heard the voters and will oppose any shenanigans in pressing a quick Senate vote on any changes the House might offer to the bill.
“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.”
The American people will not be ignored. Can you hear us now?
Cartoons by Brett Noel