‘It is to me a new and consolatory proof that wherever the people are well-informed they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.”
—Thomas Jefferson to Richard Price, January 8, 1789.
Two hundred and twenty-one years later, the sage of Monticello has been proven right again. Aroused and well-informed by a year of watching a liberal majority go very far wrong, Massachusetts voters handed a Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy for 47 years to Republican Scott Brown, a little known state senator from Wrenthem.
The resounding five-point victory in one of America’s most liberal states is an upset heard ’round Washington—and one that ought to force Democrats to rethink their entire agenda, national health care in particular. Despite an 11th-hour intervention by President Obama in a state he carried with ease only 14 months ago, state Attorney General Martha Coakley was routed even in such unlikely tea-party outposts as Andover (58%) and amid a large turnout for a midwinter special election.
Democratic delusionists are already attributing Mrs. Coakley’s defeat solely to her weaknesses as a candidate, and those were real enough (Curt Schilling, “Yankee fan”). But the last time the Bay State elected a Republican to the Senate was 1972, and a mere 15% of state voters now belong to the GOP. Mr. Brown won because moderates and independents swarmed to him, and because he had the wit and nerve to make the race a referendum on Democratic policies in Washington.