As I write this, the good citizens of Massachusetts are off to the polls to elect someone to replace the late Ted Kennedy. The fact that a Republican even has a chance, let alone is leading in the polls has many in a tizzy. According to reports not only is the Right absolutely giddy with this possibility, but the Left is falling apart.
While this special election has direct and meaningful effects in regards to the health care bill, it is not only about that. In fact, according to Brit Hume this could be the best thing that ever happened to the Democrats. I agree with essentially everything he says in this snippet. But the lesson here is about more than healthcare. It’s about people taking their power for granted. It’s about people believing that once they get a party nomination, the rest of it is “in the bag”. That’s why Coakley is having such a hard time. Her loyalties were to the party- not the people.
There is a significant lesson for the Republicans here as well. This vote is not a mandate that the country believes that the Republicans have the perfect plan for this great country. The Right should not even utter the word MANDATE, though I am afraid they will.
The message being sent by this election is that America is fed up with those entrenched in power- and this applies directly to the party leadership. Coakley will lose because she is tightly associated with the Massachusetts Democratic Party, Brown will win because he is not.
So this should cause all candidates and parties to take heed. Uneasy should be the head that wears the crown. This statement has not rung true in the last century in America, but that mentality should return. This antiestablishment trend is beginning to take hold. Obama wasn’t the one anointed by the Democratic Party last year, they wanted Hillary. McCain was labeled a RINO, Republican In Name Only, yet he ended up taking the nomination. The Scott Brown phenomenon is similar. Since there is essentially only one real party to speak of in Massachusetts, his election will take a good bit of people voting against the wishes of their party.
Scott Brown can waste this away if he uses this new found celebrity in the wrong manner. The Republicans will look to parade him around as the health care dragon slayer. But the more he swallows the party line the further he will move from his constituents. If he truly believes that somehow, Massachusetts has become a bastion of conservative politics, he is mistaken.
So Brown, and the Republicans, should be careful to take this for what it is, not what they wish it to be. It is not a mandate to oppose everything Obama. It is a mandate to reconnect with the people. It is a mandate to govern humbly. It is a sign that anyone can be defeated. This includes Red State Republicans as well as Blue State Democrats. Voters going against their party are the real story and the lesson that should be taken forward.