There really isn’t much I can say that hasn’t been said by more knowledgeable, wiser folk than me, but I’d be derelict in my duty of fighting The Clampdown if I remained completely mum on the subject of this fascinating Senate race in Massachusetts.
In November, Republican Chris Christie beat Democrat Jon Corzine in the Governor’s race in New Jersey, a shock that sent shivers down the spine of the Democratic party. New Jersey is a heavily “blue” state, so a Republican victory in the age of Obama was a stunning upset. Compared to Massachusetts, New Jersey is as red as a fire engine, though so it was considered a given that Democrat Martha Coakley would cakewalk into the empty Senate seat left by the death of Ted Kennedy. For the Democrats, this was a no-brainer. Coakley was popular, well-known, a Democrat, well-funded, and running for the seat previously occupied by the Liberal Lion Kennedy in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 3-to-1. And only a couple of months ago, Coakley was up over her opponent by 30 points in the polls.Well, as John Lennon said, life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. While the Democrats were readying the coronation of Coakley, and Coakley herself was spending the campaign laying on a feather bed while being fed grapes by manservants and having the DNC fan her with huge palm fronds, Scott Brown was running for office. Polls now have Brown with a slight lead, and the election is tomorrow.
Proving that they learned absolutely nothing from Corzine’s defeat, the Democrats are now blaming Coakley for running a bad campaign, just as they blamed Creigh Deeds, the Democrat loser in the Virginia gubernatorial race.
It is true that Coakley has not run a good campaign. Insufferable arrogance and a sense of entitlement will do that to a politician (e.g., George H.W. Bush in 1992). But Scott Brown has run a great campaign and, unlike New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Brown has been crystal-clear where he stands on the issues. Most importantly, he has made no bones over the fact that he will vote to kill the health care reform bill in Congress. This has been so blatant that the Massachusetts race has turned into a referendum on the health care bill. And surprise, surprise, surprise…the candidate opposed to the bill is now poised to win the race under the most daunting of circumstances.
Win or lose the election, the Republicans have won this battle. If the race can be this close in Massachusetts, the blue dog Democrats in D.C. are rightfully shaking in their shoes over their re-election prospects. As for me, I’m still inclined to think that Coakley pulls it out. The odds against a Brown victory are overwhelming. But I will be watching and cheering Brown on and will happily eat my words here on Wednesday morning. But the fact of the matter is that if Coakley wins by less than 10%, the victory goes to the Republicans. If Brown wins by 10 votes, the Democrats are, barring a miracle, dead in 2010.