A Massachusetts Miracle?

APTOPIX Kennedy Successor Brown

The big news about today’s special election in Massachusetts is that it is big news.

The contest between state Attorney General Martha Coakley and her Republican opponent, once-obscure state senator Scott Brown, was never supposed to be much of one. Early forecasts posited that Ted Kennedy’s former seat would be easily reclaimed by a Democratic successor. Instead, Republicans stand poised to score a major upset in the Democratic stronghold – and with it the irony-rich possibility that Kennedy’s seat could become the GOP’s last line of defense against much of the legislative agenda championed by the late liberal lion.

None of this was in the script. Massachusetts has long been friendly Democratic territory. The last Republican to serve as senator of the state – Edward Brooke in 1978 – is a distant memory. It has been 16 years since the state sent a Republican to Congress. Democratic domination is such an accepted fact of life that in 2008 Republicans chose not to run candidates for six House races. It was not a thoughtless decision: In the four competitive races, Republicans were thumped by margins of least 40 percent. Today, Democrats control all ten of the state’s House seats. Democrats outnumber Republicans three-to-one. If ever there was a place for Republicans to strike a blow against the Democratic establishment, the Bay State was not it.

For a while, indeed, the Senate race seemed to conform to old patterns. But in recent days the race has tightened dramatically. Last week yielded a series of surprise polls that showed Coakley’s initial advantage crumbling and the race in a statistical dead heat. Some polls even give Brown the advantage: A recent Suffolk University poll showed Brown leading Coakley by 50 percent to 46 percent, while a Politco poll conducted this Monday had Brown with a staggering 9-point lead. Even more worryingly for Democrats’ fortunes, independent voters have been breaking for Brown. In a state where 51 percent of the electorate is unaffiliated with either of the two major parties, the significance of that statistic can not be overstated.

What’s behind Brown’s rise? In part, he has benefited from the insipid and complacent campaign that Coakley has run. Having taken victory for granted, she has spent little time making her case to the voters. The campaign’s desperate last-minute scramble to drum up support – capped by a rescue attempt this weekend by a visiting President Obama – underscores the bankruptcy of that strategy.

With Coakley failing to define herself, Brown has proven adept at demonstrating just what she stands for. One of those things is giving legal rights, including prosecution in civilian courts, to terrorist captives – a position that Brown has had some success exploiting. As a lieutenant colonel in the Massachusetts National Guard, Brown not only has credibility on the war in terror; he also has the support of most Americans. A recent Rasmussen poll found that 71 percent of all voters think that would-be Christmas Bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s attempt to blow-up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 should be investigated by military authorities as a terrorist act. Just 22 percent take Coakley’s view that such plots should be handled by civilian authorities as a criminal act. Coakley’s retort has been to link Brown with what she has called the failed policies of “the Bush-Cheney administration.” Unpromisingly for this line of attack, however, the Rasmussen poll finds that nearly 60 percent of Americans agree with the original Bush-Cheney view that terrorist captives should be subjected to aggressive interrogation techniques like waterboarding.

Coakley hasn’t shored up her national security credentials with her opposition to President Obama’s surge of troops in Afghanistan. More damaging to the campaign has been her defense of that position. In an unfortunate bit of military analysis, Coakley has said that U.S. forces should withdraw from Afghanistan because “we believed that the Taliban was giving harbor to terrorists.” But now, according to Coakley, “They’re gone. They’re not there anymore.” In fact, there is widespread evidence of strategic cooperation between Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda elements – a reality highlighted with the recent murder of seven CIA agents by al-Qaeda double agent and Taliban sympathizer Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi in Khost, Afghanistan. In this context, Coakley’s claim that al-Qaeda is no longer a threat in Afghanistan seems about as astute as Gerald Ford’s blundering assurance in a 1976 presidential debate that “there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.”

Healthcare is another issue that has worked in Brown’s favor. If elected, Brown would deny Senate Democrats the 60-vote supermajority they need to override a GOP filibuster of the health care bill. That makes Brown the man who could stop ObamaCare. The issue has special resonance in Massachusetts, whose increasingly unpopular “universal” health care law is seen as a model for the federal legislation. Once widely supported, the state’s health care program is now a source of voter discontent. Massachusetts families pay the country’s highest health insurance premiums, according to the Commonwealth Fund, and more than a third of state residents consider the law a failure. Strange though it may seem, the fact that Brown may be the critical vote to block the health care bill – Ted Kennedy’s favorite piece of legislation – may actually help him win Kennedy’s seat.

It helps that the telegenic and well-spoken Brown is also an attractive candidate in his own right. His shining moment came during a recent debate, when moderator David Gergen asked if Brown wanted “to sit in Teddy Kennedy’s seat” in order to stop ObamaCare. Brown took memorable issue with that description. “With all due respect, it’s not the Kennedy’s seat. It’s not the Democrats’ seat. It’s the people’s seat.” “People’s Seat” has since become campaign supporters’ unofficial rallying cry.

Brown still faces an uphill battle. State Democrats have a larger and more effective political structure in place. And while special elections are generally low-turnout affairs, the prospect of losing a seat so long under Democratic control could propel enough frightened Democrats to the polls.

Even if Brown comes up short, however, the fact that a race many expected to be a Democratic coronation has been so hard-fought sends a clear warning to the Democratic leadership: the Democrats’ domestic policy agenda is now a political liability and could cost them come next fall’s midterm elections. Then there is the more immediate concern. Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat was the Democrats’ to lose. Now lose it they could.

  • Brittanicus

    There is no doubt in my mind that the reason Democrat Martha Coakleyn is in a strong race with Republican Scott Brown is owing to her partisan approval of Comprehensive Immigration Reform or AMNESTY. The majority of Americans remember the last travesty of the 1986 immigration reform, that not only legalized around 3.5 million agricultural worker, but even more desperate, poor people slipped into America before the final bill was signed. The same scenario is sure to happen again, because millions of more people are aware they can get instant recognition as legitimate. Senator Edward Kennedy now vacated seat, is what Coakleyn and Scott are competing over and could jeopardize the Health Care Reform package. A Republican Senate victory in the blue state of Massachusetts would have massive repercussions and could even echo in the Oval office. Even Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank stated to reporters, " if Brown wins, the president's overhaul of health care is dead." President Obama is stumping himself in trying to preserve the crucial 60th Democratic Senate vote needed to pass the health care overhaul.

    The deciding factor is what is more important to the voters in this special election? Opening the door even wider for millions of illegal people to siphon of –BILLIONS–in taxpayers money for health care, education and other unrevealed entitlements. As Brown debated stopping the issuance of driving drivers licenses and in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. But then crush any chance of the Democrats passing health care reform? Or by voting for Scott Brown wrecking any chance of another Amnesty, that as the US Census assumes could lead to unsustainable OVERPOPULATION. Shortly we will learn the answer to this unnerving question, that will decide future generations quality of life. If this Republican wins it will send a traumatic message, to Democrats that includes Sen. Harry Reid, Speaker Pelosi and the rest who are pandering to illegal immigrants, that Americans are tired of being taxed to support foreign nationals. It will mean E-Verify could become permanent and zero in on the millions of illegal labor, fraudulently taking jobs from legitimate workers.

    It will mean stepped up audits, by ICE in all working locations. It could strengthen the 287 (G) federal training program to arrest illegal foreigners, that has been weakened by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. E-Verify upgrades could reduce overtime a very sufficient way to force illegal workers into self-deportation, because they can no longer steal American jobs.

    Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to be connected to your Senator and Congressman and use the voting power of THE PEOPLE. NUMBERSUSA AND JUDICIAL WATCH for more frightening information and which lawmaker are signers to the potential AMNESTY and the immigration grades of these proponents.

  • anon

    how in the world could they legalize all the illegals with not enough jobs for americans and over crowded schools? let alone a broken welfare system? they need to stop the welfare checks and have them go on birthcontrol, they are having so many kids for money, we will be a latin spanish speaking nation :( I think the people will rise and stop the scammensty, our country is not for sale

    • BS1977

      It was Ted Kennedy who pushed the massive immigration influx. He said allowing 850,000 people a year into the USA would not affect demographics at all. He was SOOOOO wrong!! Our nation is barely recognizeable now….fifteen million plus illegal aliens, millioins of third worlders, poly glot voting forms, bi lingual announcements at the airports…..anyway, I hope Brown wins for the Senate in liberal la la land Massachusetts…however, don't forget how many idiot lemmings voted for Kennedy, Kerry and Bawny Fwank in the first place.

  • Alex Kovnat

    If a Republican is elected to the seat formerly held by Edward Kennedy, it won't do much good if said Republican turns out to be like Arnold in California, who became a global warming enthusiast.

    • BS1977

      How can you compare a Senator to a Governor? Governor Arnold has been prettty good….of course the liberals detest anyone who dares try balance a budget or get rid of the dead weight bureaucrats, administrators and lifer drones so common in big liberal governments…local, state and national.

  • jacob

    I don't know whether shirt changing is allowed by law but I guess if a people's rep was elected to back certain principles or issues, he either sticks to them or be removed by
    the same people that sent him there, stopping him from doing more damage as in the case of Rep. ARNOLD without waiting for him to finish his term….

    Regarding late Ted Kennedy seat, it is another case of consecrated reputations and
    conceited nulities, because the Chappadiquick isuee should have been his political
    grave right then and there and not just his Presidential chances but, it is up to the Massachussets people to undo NOW their 50 year old mistake and get rid of the Democrap grip in their state's politics and corruption

  • jaime

    Only the wackiest of wackos can think this is GOOD. We are in deep doo doo, Americans.

  • Leo from Mass

    The simple explanation of this election comes down
    To one thing, Single party rule. We in Massachusetts
    Know what is like to live under the tyranny of corrupt
    One party rule. And we don’t want it in Washington.
    The dems here are so abusive To a point where we are
    saying enough is enough. We are
    Not going to take it anymore

  • johncarens

    The most amazing thing about this race is how quickly Scott Brown rose to prominence. This is especially poiniant in a state that is utterly controlled by the Democrat machine– where the Republican Party is practically moribund, and there is no money laying around for conservative candidates.

    Just think: In a state that Joseph P. Kennedy had to slosh hundreds of thousands of dollars around in the mid 1950's, where his son John had to slog through a year-long campaign season, hire every top-drawer political consultant his dad could find, dig up all sorts of dirt and call in every political chit available (in his race against Henry Cabor Lodge to become senator), Scott Brown likely will accomplish it all in twenty days. And without a personal fortune to do it. THIS is one of the big subtexts of this story.

    God, I wish him well. As Mark Steyn says, though, the amount of votes for him have to be "beyond the margin of ACORN". Do not underestimate the ability of the corrupt, entrenched statists in Massachusettes to steal this election. Remember: The canvassing boards, the town clerks, the Secretary of State are all democrat party hacks, and they won't countenance a razor-thin Republican victory. Boxes of heretofor "uncounted" ballots will suddenly start washing ashore in Hull if this thing is close. And, gosh, each one will be a vote for the Democrat. Norm Coleman, call your office.

  • BS1977

    Stop cutting and pasting this same stuff over and over and over….what is wrong with you, Bernier?

  • ApolloSpeaks

    BARACK OBAMA AND THE “CURSE” OF THE KENNEDYS

    When Caroline Kennedy believed that she heard the voice of her father in the words of Barack Obama and anointed him the “new JFK” with her uncle Ted and 15 family members Obama’s fate was sealed: The “Curse” of the Kennedys was upon him.

    Google ApolloSpeaks (one word) and read my short new blogbook: Barack Obama and the “Curse” of the Kennedys

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Stephen_Brady Stephen_Brady

    The question of ACORN and the SEIU has been raised in this thread, and it is a valid concern. When the integrity of the election system is in question, the Republic stands in jeopardy. Al Franken(stein) was not elected to the Senate from Minnesota. He was installed by a corrupt electoral system.

    A Republic is such a fragile thing, and a whisper can carry it away on the wind.

    I pray for Mr. Brown, today. More than that, I pray for America. This year could determine America's fate …

  • Mahdi Al-Dajjal

    Think of the bright side of a win by Brown.

    Once he's in control of that Senate Office formally occuppied by Teddy Kennedy for 30+ years, he can requisition the maintenance people to come over and steam all Teddy's semen stains off the carpet.

  • http://jingoist-foundingprinciples.blogspot.com/ JINGOIST

    Nine out of ten dead voters yet to be purged from the voter rolls say emphatically,

    "Mahtha (Martha) Coakley is owah (our) gahl" !

  • USMCSniper

    Watch the State of MA Democrats hold up seating Brown as Senator for any reason they can think up, like his hair is not grey enough until the Senate votes again on Obama healthcare..

  • brenanc

    I'm sure Brown's victory will mean as little to the Dems as the results of the New Jersey and Virginia Governor's races.

    Maybe the Democrats really are stupid. Who knew?

  • Larry D. Crumbley

    I have seen it Robert, but we have a larger problem as a nation, and that is the entire congress, and most of the so-called democrats in the senate are progressives, and thus they are a bigger problem thean this weak kneed socialist Barack Obama. Stand up, and let your voice be heard "WE THE PEOPLE" WILL NOT BOW DOWN TO TYRANNY, AND WE WILL OVERCOME ALL RIGHT. WE WILL OVERCOME TYRANNY IN "OUR" OWN COUNTRY AT ALL COST.

    Larry D. Crumbley

  • Rifleman

    I'm sorry to hear that, I was wondering how he was doing in his fight. I lost three close people to cancer last year, including my Dad's little brother and next door neighbor. Heart attack and or stroke is usually what gets my family in the end. I'm hoping for a nice quick heart attack when my time comes, I've seen too much of cancer, stroke, and MS. I've lived much longer than I expected, so every day is a wonder and a blessing.

    I'm hopeful we'll get to meet him in person some day, I'll be there, and it will be but a blink of the eye for him 'til then.

  • cochavi1

    Rest in Peace, Mike. We'll miss you.

  • Pris

    Hi Jingo, I'm so glad you have your tribute to Mike available to those who still come here who knew Mike. As another of Mike's buddies I'd like to say thank you. You're the best.

    Pris

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

    Heading there now, I was too tired when first I saw the link, and knew I'd end up reading more once I got there.

    I ain't going anywhere my dogs ain't welcome, lol. There was a great Twilight Zone episode that concerned that very thing.

    I think an individual's heaven or hell is created by the heart of the individual, by whatever Godly one loves, or whatever evil one hates. I think the mountains, hills, woods, oceans, lakes, rivers, streams, and critters I love are Godly.