Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mr. Brown goes to Washington

Good morning, dear readers, and welcome to the starting line for 2010. Unless you've been sitting in a Taliban cave you know that the Massachusetts Massacre occurred last night. Scott Brown pulled off the impossible, and defeated an extreme, know-nothing Democrat to end the legacy of the Kennedys in the US Senate. For those that missed the drama that unfolded last night, you can recap it here at Geraghty the Indispensable's site. Scroll down to "Tuesday, January 19, 2010" and scroll through his updates. The wheels came off the Coakley campaign right around 3 PM EST yesterday when she fired off the "Don't Blame Me" memo to staffers and key supporters. Within an hour, or so, the Democrat Senatorial Committee and the DNC fired back at her basically stating that the loss was all her fault, and not theirs. About two hours after the polls closed (give or take a few minutes) Coakley conceded the race. By then, the writing was on the wall as Michelle Malkin noted late last night with the interactive map showing a see of red across Massachusetts; Brown 52%, Coakley 47%, and separated by 106,177 votes.

So, what did we find out about this election? Even people in Massachusetts are fed up with the crap coming out of Washington, DC. In fact, when looking at the numbers broken down by Scott Rasmussen -- the ONLY person to do ANY exit polling last night (and he paid for it out of his own pocket to get these numbers) -- they send a clear message to Democrats:

In the end, Brown pulled off the upset in large part because he won unaffiliated voters by a 73% to 25% margin. The senator-elect also picked up 23% of the vote from Democrats. [Our polling shows that 53% of voters in Massachusetts are Democrats, 21% Republican and 26% not affiliated with either party.]

- Coakley also barely carried a usually reliable Democratic constituency. Union workers went for her by just six points, 52% to 46%.

- Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters in the state say health care was the most important factor in their voting decision. Brown made it clear in the closing days of the campaign that he intended to go to Washington to vote against the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats.

- Twenty-five percent (25%) of Massachusetts voters say the economy was most important.

- Forty-seven percent (47%) favor the health care legislation before Congress while 51% oppose it. However, the intensity was clearly with those who are opposed. Just 25% of voters in Massachusetts Strongly Favor the plan while 41% Strongly Oppose it.

- Fifty percent (50%) say it would be better to pass no health care legislation at all rather than passing the bill before Congress. ...

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of voters in the state offer a favorable opinion of Brown while 47% say the same about Coakley.

- Twenty-eight percent (28%) say Brown is Very Conservative politically; 44% say he’s Somewhat Conservative, and 22% view him as a political moderate.

- Thirty-five percent (35%) say Coakley is Very Liberal; 36% say she’s Somewhat Liberal, and 21% view her as a moderate.

Interesting numbers, to say the least. Rasmussen finished off his night with a final look at the numbers, and they are as telling as the original ones he posted:

As noted in data released earlier, 56% of Massachusetts voters named health care as the most important issue. That suggests it was a big issue, but Democrat Martha Coakley actually won among those voters by a 53% to 46% margin.

· Among the 25% who named the economy as the top issue, Republican Scott Brown came out narrowly ahead, 52% to 47%.

· Only two other issues—national security and taxes—were named as most important by at least five percent (5%) of voters. Brown clearly had the edge on both.

· Among those who named national security as most important, Brown won 67% to 29%.

· For those who saw taxes as number one, it was Brown 87%, Coakley 13%.


The picture gets even murkier when you look at the correlation between approval of the health care plan.

· Among those who Strongly Favor the plan before Congress, Coakley won 97% of the vote.

· Among those who Strongly Oppose the plan, 98% voted for Brown.

· Coakley also picked up 90% of those who Somewhat Favor the plan while Brown was supported by 78% of those who Somewhat Oppose it.

· One key to Brown’s victory is that 41% Strongly Opposed the plan while just 25% Strongly Favored it.

Last February, President Obama listed four priorities for Congress to act upon. Voters in Massachusetts, like voters
nationwide, named deficit reduction as the top goal and health care second.

· Among those who named deficit reduction as most important, Brown won 79% to 21%.

· Among those who named health care reform as the top presidential priority, Coakley won 85% to 19%.

· While advocates of reform argue that passing health care reform will reduce the deficit,
voters nationwide overwhelmingly believe that the plan will cost more than projected and increase the deficit.

There was a strong correlation between opinions about the president and votes in the Massachusetts race.

· Among those who Strongly Approve of the way Obama is handling the job, Coakley won 96% to three percent (3%).

· Among those who Strongly Disapprove, Brown won 97% to two percent (2%).

· Brown also won the vote from 95% of those who Somewhat Disapprove of the president’s job performance.

· However, among those who only Somewhat Approve of the job he's doing, Coakley received just 69% of the vote.

Now, why do I find it interesting? Well, let's start with the obvious. For the better part of a year last year, Democrats/liberals alike derided the Tea Party movement. We were a bunch of muckrakers; slack-jawed, mouth-breathing, backwoods idiots that knew nothing of politics. (This just goes to show how effete these "elitist" snobs really are.) So, to contradict their views on that grass-roots movement, clearly the people understood the gravity of this particular special election. Look at the numbers, and see for yourself. They don't look good for Coakley, in general. In addition, pundit after pundit kept claiming, on the heels of the @$$-whooping we took in 2008, claimed that the Reagan era of conservatism was dead. The election of Scott Brown shows us different. It shows us that conservatism, when contrasted with lock-step liberalism, wins, and wins overwhelmingly.

Today pundits, talking heads, and elitist journalists are claiming this wasn't an overwhelming win for Scott Brown. Let's put this in perspective for some of those so-called political geniuses: Brown won by 5 points and over 106,000 votes. For 47 years Ted Kennedy held this seat; the "Lion of the Senate" was seen as a virtual, permanent member of the Senate as no one had unseated him, or even threatened to. In Democrat-controlled Massachusetts, the voters (53% of which are Democrats) opted for a clear change in the direction their state was going in terms of the representation in the Senate. (The news is reporting of an aftershock -- a 6.1 aftershock -- in Haiti. Pardon the bad joke, but could we say that aftershock was caused by the earthquake that rocked Massachusetts yesterday?)

All kidding aside, this was a major upset. Just a couple short months ago, Martha Coakley held a comfortable lead over Scott Brown by over thirty points. No one thought Brown had a snowball's chance in Hell of winning this race. But the groundswell of support wouldn't be stopped. The people in Massachusetts put him over the top because they believed he'd be a welcome breath of fresh air. Let's hope that he is. At the very least the Republicans now have 41 votes in the Senate, and provided we don't get any weak-kneed, round-heeled Republicans, that means we can mount (and hopefully maintain) a filibuster not only on health insurance reform, but on cap and trade, on immigration reform, etc., at least until the Democrats wise up and invite our side in for negotiations. (History lesson for Democrats -- this nation was founded on the idea that we should all work together to make this a better nation. The nation, right now, is sick and tired of the one-party rule in DC.)

Captain Ed has issued a flag of caution in the elation still present from last night and we couldn't agree more.

First, no he shouldn't give the GOP response for Barry's State of the Union speech. Based on the numbers above, Brown wasn't elected because of the dislike of the president. The majority of Massachusetts voters still think the president is doing a good or fair job. So to put him out there to give the response would appear petty and petulant; rubbing the president's nose in this loss. (Not a smart move considering Barry called Brown last night to congratulate him.)

Second, drop the meme that he could be a viable candidate for president in 2012. We just elected a man who had ZERO private sector experience, and 143 days under his belt in the US Senate. Brown would be put in the same boat, and be just as savaged by liberal pundits, on the same points we made, should he decide to make the run. He's a senator, folks, not the party savior.

Third, let's remember that he is much closer to Rudy Giuliani than he is to Sarah Palin. He has some socially moderate views. Yes, he's pro-life. Yes, he's pro-defense. Yes, he's a fiscal conservative. But he does have some moderate views. Does that mean he'll be like the Maine sisters or Lindsey Graham? Not likely, but he does have some views that will rankle conservatives. He'll be a solid vote on issues that matter to the base; much like John McCain is (for the most part), but he won't be a lock-step conservative.

This note of caution comes about to keep the base grounded. Yes, it's a great thing that Scott Brown won the race, and we're sure the celebrating will still be going on today amidst the GOP base. But let's keep our heads out of the clouds. This isn't the end of the line for us. This is the beginning of the race for the 2010 midterms. We have less than eleven months to go before the midterms take place. Scott Brown is the shot heard 'round the nation. I'm sure a few Democrats are polishing resumes this morning in anticipation of being unemployed the day after the election in November. But we have a lot of work to do to make that dream come true. Scott Brown is the opening volley in the upcoming fight. Let's remember that, shall we?

Publius II

2 Comments:

OpenID Mike said...

Good piece. I agree across the board. I don't think the exit polling is quite accurate though that Coakley won the healthcare voters. I think that's a miss. Granted I don't have the data Rasmussen does but I believe from focus groups I heard that healthcare voters went against Coakley. Massachusetts already has a similar system to Obamacare which has driven up health insurance and medical costs and left Massachusetts with a big deficit. I really think Massachusetts voters were driven to the polls because of their outrage over healthcare and voted for Brown accordingly. I really think their experience with govt-mandated healthcare caused them to want to help prevent the same mess nationally.

And no, Brown should not run for president in 2012. He should stay focused on serving his constiuents and be hyper visible at home to win re-election in 2012. Perhaps he could run later, and I think he'd be great as someone's running mate after 2012. But like you said, work on the experience first.

January 20, 2010 at 2:58 PM  
OpenID Mike said...

One other comment, it seems to me healthcare has become MORE politically damaging to the Democrats, and in less time, than the Iraq War ever was to the GOP. The Dem's healthcare bill has become a huge lightening rod that exceeds even the public's disquiet over the Iraq War and is going to prove more costly politically to the Dems.

January 20, 2010 at 3:01 PM  

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