Dems=Canary, Mass=Coal Mine

Tonight...regress vs. progress

If Ted Kennedy were still alive this would never happen.

Democrats are on the verge of losing the one Senate seat they could always count on for the last 47 years. I don’t like to make predictions, especially when it comes to elections, but Martha Coakley is about to lose the Massachusetts Senate race to Scott Brown in a special election to replace “The Lion of the Senate”. This is unthinkable to most Democrats, but they had better start thinking the unthinkable and get used to it. We are witnessing the Tea-Partying of the USA.

Scott Brown was indeed endorsed by the Tea Party Republicans (a movement more than a political group), and that has helped him wipe out a double-digit lead that Coakley held just a few weeks ago. True, she ran an awful campaign, but this election will break the super-majority, filibuster-blocking, 60-seat Democratic party hold on the US Senate. And whomever ran Coakley’s campaign should be tarred-and-feathered for their lack of vision as to what this means for the entire country.

Healthcare reform? Dead on arrival. Scott Brown has vowed to vote against it. And the Democrats are acting like they’ve had spine-removal surgery performed on them by letting Joe LIEberman muddy the waters last fall when a bill should have been passed. Whatever happened to the Christmas deadline? Whatever happened to acting on a basic 51-vote majority? Why do Democrats play nice while Republicans play to win?

And now along comes a GOP Senate candidate about to steal a seat at the worst possible moment in our country’s opportunity to make some progress. Democrats took this race for granted. They figured that it would be automatic to keep MA blue. Well, this is gonna be a painful wake-up call.

Will it be the dreaded referendum on President Obama? Not likely. His 53% approval rating is the same as his popular vote margin when he won the election last year. But I do think this is the beginning of an anti-incumbent movement. And right now the Democrats are the incumbents. It’s 1994 again. Get ready to get nothing done for the next 3 years.

How come this never happens to the GOP? They are political killers and that is part of their political DNA. They know when everything is on the line and they band together. I don’t live in Massachusetts, but a race this important should have been waged on a national level. The message should have been this simple: if Coakley loses, healthcare reform loses. If Coakley loses, the Democrats lose senatorial power. If Coakley loses, Ted Kennedy’s ghost loses. If Coakley loses, the Tea Party wins. That’s the kind of message that would resonate all along the Mass Turnpike, and straight out down Route 66 across the country.

So tonight we will lower the canary’s cage down into the mine shaft to see if there is a Republican gas leak emanating from the state of Massachusetts. If the Democrats come up dead, then they’ll have to look elsewhere for their political fortunes. Fast.

And that sound you hear will be the late, great, Ted Kennedy rolling over in his grave.

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UPDATE @ 9:30PM, 1/19/10

Watching Scott Brown’s acceptance speech on TV. His supporters are cheering and screaming, but I can’t help hearing TMK doing a big underground spiral. Rolling, rolling, rolling, rolling, rolling…American politics can be so heartbreaking.

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