Mark Steyn (NRO)
A few thoughts on the retirement of "Ted Kennedy's seat".
Kennedy's career long dream of socialized health care was perilously close to being forced upon the American populace. That it may have been thwarted at the last moment because of his death is profoundly ironic.
Scott Brown didn't just run against the Democrats' health care bill. He also hammered them on their reckless spending, their proposed tax hikes, their job destroying cap and tax scheme, and their treatment of enemy combatants as common criminals. In other words, the entire Obama, Reid, Pelosi left wing agenda. And he won. In Massachusetts!
Some of Barack Obama's supporters claim that he's a kind of deity. (Newsweek's Evan Thomas - "I mean in a way Obama's standing above the country, above above the world, he's sort of God.") After yesterday's election I'm inclined to agree. The People's Republic of Massachusetts last elected a GOP senator in 1972. Only a supernatural power could have turned it Republican in just one year.
Obama's supporters also claim that their hero is highly intelligent. (Hoodwinked conservative Christopher Buckley - “a first-class intellect”). If he is, then he'll come to realize the truth of what the polls have consistently indicated - that the ideological breakdown of the country is 40% conservative, 40% independent and 20% liberal. And with independents now leaning hard to the right, if Obama's smart, he'll abruptly stop indulging his far left rooting section and start governing as a centrist. I'm guessing and hoping that he won't. Let his Party crash and burn in November.
Speaking of Obama's intelligence - The word he used to describe the health care bill's proximity to passage - "precipice" - was laughably inappropriate. If George Bush had said that the imminent passage of one of his initiatives was like standing at the edge of a cliff, late night comedians would have milked his faux pas for months. The word Obama, that master of language, was probably looking for was "threshhold", or "verge" or less aptly, "brink". Or maybe he was just being brutally honest.
It was important for Brown not only to win but to win by a margin that put the victory safely beyond the reach of the Democrats' lawyers. Remember that Norm Coleman won the 2008 Minnesota senatorial election only to have it stolen in a corrupted "recount" process. Democrats are aware of this weapon in their arsenal. A recent poll showed that 16% - one-sixth! - of Democrats - expected ACORN to steal the Massachusetts race. As Tweeter Andy Roth put it yesterday, "The polls close in Massachusetts at 7pm for Republicans. For Democrats and dead people...8pm." Fortunately, Brown's 5% margin of victory, 110,000 votes, is too big an obstacle for even the community organizer crowd to overcome.
Last Tuesday, Martha Coakley held a Washington fundraiser attended by representatives of health care interests - hospitals, large health insurers and large pharmaceutical companies. The list included drug companies Pfizer, Merck, Amgen, Sanofi-Aventis, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Astra-Zeneca, and large insurers Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Cigna, Humana, HealthSouth, and United Health. (Ah yes, those evil corporate Republicans).
Yesterday, in anticipation of the upset win by Scott Brown, the two top Dow percentage gainers were Merck and Pfizer. Even today, on a strongly down day for the market as a whole, they're holding up reasonably well. The question is - Why are health care companies spending lobbyist money on candidates who support Obamacare when the market is saying that its defeat is good for them?
The Wall Street Journal has editorialized that these large health concerns have entered into a Faustian pact with the Democrats, believing that if they co-operate, they'll be spared punitive sanctions under government run health care. A foolish belief, opines the WSJ, and the market agrees.
The stunning magnitude of Brown's upset victory is evident in this item about the race in the current issue of National Review (1/25/10). Even allowing that the magazine is put together several days before its issue date, (it's published biweekly), the suddenness of Brown's surge caught the editors by surprise.
Conservative enthusiasm aside, Brown’s chances remain slim — this is Massachusetts — but that he has a chance at all is a testament to the political climate that President Obama has created.
There's still some hope among Democrats (notably Comrade Pelosi) that they can somehow get the Senate health care bill through the House intact so that it wouldn't have to be revisited by the Senate. Bart Stupak (D-Mich) had this to say about that scenario. "There is no way that bill is going anywhere. . . . I bet it wouldn’t get 100 votes."
Anthony Weiner (D-NY) was more blunt. "They're talking as if, 'What our deal is, what our negotiators are at the White House' — yeah, and then the last line is, 'Pigs fly out of my ass.'"
My favorite line from the campaign came from a Brown supporter, "For the first time in my life I'm proud to be from Massachusetts".
Finally, from Scott Brown's victory speech,
No more closed-door meetings, no more backroom deals. . . . We need to start fresh and do the job right. We can do better. . . . Let me say this, our Constitution and laws exist to protect this nation. They do not grant rights and privileges to our enemies. . . . They thought you were all on-board with all their intentions. . . . Tonight you set them straight. . . . What happened here in Massachusetts can happen all over America.