Monday, January 25, 2010

Scott Brown Election - What it Means


Those of you that closely follow politics are likely aware of Scott Brown's stunning upset election in Massachusetts over Martha Coakley. As the seat was filled for more than 40 years by Ted Kennedy, many assumed it was a foregone conclusion that whomever took the seat over would be a Democrat as well.

Evidently, the voters of Massachusetts had a different idea. Brown's margin of victory was five points. Whether or not you consider that margin "decisive" is beyond the point. It was a solid enough win that it didn't appear the Coakley campaign was going to request a re-count, which seems to be a Democratic tradition lately when elections don't come out in their favor.

So what does the election of a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic state presage for upcoming elections, and what was it in reaction to, if anything? I believe the euphoria over Barack Obama's election is wearing off, and the scores of liberal politicians that rode his coattails into office are starting to realize that Obama's idealistic aura is no longer enough to protect them. Voters have likewise moved beyond being dazzled by his charisma, and come to realize that strongly liberal agenda of the current congress may not be in their best interests.
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As a Republican, I'm heartened that Brown was able to win in a deep blue state. But I don't necessarily see it as an unqualified omen of success for the GOP. Rather, I see it as an indication of American voters' innate sense that no single party or faction should have absolute, unchecked power.

The Democrats assumed Obama's election gave them unconditional license to push through a hard-left agenda, chief of which was health care reform. However, the further along the legislative process went, the more people came to realize the program would bring staggering new costs with little perceived benefit. They rightfully told their representatives and senators to slow down and get it right. But the liberal majority continued full speed ahead, tone deaf to the calls of their constituents.

So, taken in that context, Brown's election isn't such a surprise. And I do believe it's a preview of a significant shift in the balance of power in Washington come the 2010 mid-term elections.