Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Mass. rebellion. Democrats have lost the center
Scott Brown did the mind-blowing last night. He won the Senate seat formerly held by Teddy Kennedy, in the state that's the cradle of contemporary liberalism, after trailing by 30 points.
If you believe that President Obama's health-care reform would change the role of government in American society forever, then Brown's miraculous ascent could well change the course of American history.
Although it had been propelled ever forward by the sheer determination of the Democratic leadership, health-care reform was always a rickety vehicle. The American system is built to make it excruciatingly difficult to pass sweeping, hugely complex social legislation opposed by most of the public. By breaking the Democrats' supermajority in the Senate, Brown reduces the chances of ObamaCare's passage drastically.
If Speaker Nancy Pelosi persists in the House, she might as well repeat for her members the order that Gen. Kemal Ataturk gave at Gallipoli: "I don't order you to attack. I order you to die."
No one would've picked Scott Brown for this outsize role in American politics -- which is exactly why he is playing it. He ran against "the machine," the high-handed and out-of-touch political establishment exemplified by unified Democratic government in Washington and Massachusetts.
Uberpundit David Gergen, so establishment he might as well be a pillar on the Lincoln Memorial, helped define the race. While moderating a debate, he went for the killer question -- asking Brown whether he was prepared to defeat health-care reform sitting "in Teddy Kennedy's seat."
Brown came back with the rejoinder that became a rallying cry: "It's not the Kennedys' seat . . . it's the people's seat." (CONTINUES HERE)