Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Modern Massachusetts Miracle?

Massachusetts has resoundingly sent a message to Democrats by electing a Republican to the US Senate for the first time since 1972. Republican State Senator Scott Brown won the election in resounding fashion, which would explain why Democrats were already making all manner of excuses even before voters went to the polls. As of this writing, the lead was 52.4 to 46.6 and while Boston broke hard for Coakley, most of the state went for Brown.

Well, pundits and political insiders re going to have plenty of time to spend on recriminations in coming weeks, and Republicans are going to have to figure out what to do with the seat that they've just won.

Democrats are going to have to figure out what to do with their agenda for the next year as they will no longer have a filibuster proof majority. Mind you that Presidents have been able to move their agendas along without such majorities (it's the exception rather than a rule in US politics to have filibuster proof majorities), so President Obama is going to have to take a hard look at his agenda and respond accordingly.

The Democrats are also going to take a hard look at what to do with their health care proposals - whether they're going to try and pass something before Brown can take office, or whether they'll curtail their grandiose proposals to get something passed that might be more acceptable to a wider selection of the public. This most certainly throws a monkey wrench in the Democrats' political agenda.

Republicans are going to have to learn the right lessons from this election - this could be seen as a referendum on the Democrats' agenda nationally, or it could be the result of a poor Democrat candidate running an awful campaign and the Republican campaign ran as good a campaign as one could possibly expect. Republicans can't and shouldn't take anything for granted as far as elections in November are concerned but still build on this election; nothing breeds success like success, but they can't assume that close races will break in their favor unless they run good candidates who run good campaigns.

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