Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Great Race

Last night's Boston "D"(ebate) Party.
(L-R: Scott Brown-R, Martha Coakley-D, Joe Kennedy-L)

The best line of the night...

When Massachusetts lost its senior U.S. senator back in August, there was grave concern among those in the Obama Administration - and those in Congress pushing for a nationalized health care system - that with their “lion” now gone, much of their fight would disappear as well.

Edward M. Kennedy is gone but certainly not forgotten. At almost every turn, his name is intoned. Among liberals, especially in Massachusetts, it’s “let’s do this for Teddy.” Among conservatives in Massachusetts – and everywhere else – it’s “never again.”

To be sure, there are strong personalities in the U.S. Senate but none carried the Kennedy mantle/gravitas and none made liberal causes – particularly health care/insurance “reform” their legacy like Teddy did.

Since his "departure," we’ve seen Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Fisherman’s Wharf) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-ialects) come together with the president to buck the polls, despite them showing the majority of Americans against the trio’s bill. The proposed Obama-Pelosi-Reid law managed to get by in the House with relative ease (thanks to a Dem majority), but the bill before the Senate passed on party lines (60-40) only after the votes of certain Democrats were bought by Reid and paid for by taxpayers.

One of the last hopes opponents of the bill have is that the race for Kennedy’s seat – there is a special election on Jan. 19 – might result in a Republican being elected and bring a filibuster-enabled minority (59-41) to the fore.

They can dream, can’t they?

It’s a mighty big dream. In Massachusetts, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by at least 3-1, there hasn’t been a GOPer representing the Bay State in the upper house of Congress since 1956. When it comes to Blue States, Massachusetts is among the bluest. You could say it’s “Kennedy Royal Blue.” Despite all this, the contest represent s the Republicans’ best chances in more than a half-century.

Enter Scott Brown. He’s a lot like Mitt Romney, only not as wealthy or Mormon. The State Senator, Army Reserve Lt. Colonel (JAG Corps) and former Cosmo model (true) pledges to be tough on terrorists, wants to finish the job in Afghanistan, doesn’t like Obamacare, and is giving the Democrat – Martha Coakley – a run for her party’s money. Coakley, who has run a horrible campaign, is the state’s Attorney General. She’s fully invested in passing Obamacare and wants the U.S. out of Afghanistan quicker than you can say, “Let’s invite the Taliban and al Qaeda over to Pakistan to play with the nukes.” The biggest issue in her very liberal quiver: she’s pro-abortion. Oh, and she also detests George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh. (There is a third candidate, Libertarian Joe Kennedy – no relation to Teddy – who is smart and able but doesn’t stand a chance; though he could siphon votes from Brown.)

Currently, Brown is trailing in all polls but many have him behind by a very small margin. This has Coakley – and the DNC – very, very nervous. In fact, between now and the 19th, you’ll be seeing a parade of Democrat big guns roll into town to prop up Coakley’s sagging campaign. (They’re thinking, holy cow! This is a state where – sort of like the old Woody Allen joke goes – to win in Massachusetts, 80 percent of winning is being a Democrat and showing up.)

In last night’s final debate, which was between all three candidates, it appeared that Brown cleaned Coakley’s clock. In addition to her clear stand on getting out of Afghanistan (Brown says to stay til the job is done…and that he agrees with the president’s position to finish the war), the Massachusetts AG was very fuzzy when it came to how she would deal with terrorists (Brown decries detainees like Khalid Sheik Muhammad not only getting a trial on U.S. soil, but being given Constitutional rights.) Kennedy’s main thrust was to cut spending across the board – entitlements, Obamacare proposals, even funding for the war. (Further pointing to growing voter interest in Brown: prior to, during and after the debate, his campaign ran a special online fundraising effort, boosting his hopes an d chances as it raked-in more than $1 million in one day.)

The two biggest lines of the night came from Brown. The first was his response to moderator David Gergen calling it a race for “the Kennedy seat.” Brown corrected him quite smartly as evidenced in the clip above. The other line had to do with what it would mean if he were elected. I will be the 41st vote against the Obamacare scheme, he said.

And that’s what it comes down to, plain and simple: If Coakley is elected, the only delays the national health care/insurance bill will face in being implemented will be procedural. If Brown wins, it’s a whole new ballgame.

Special bonus from The Bliss Index™: The attack ad (below) released by the Coakley campaign today didn't last long. In fact, her campaign team pulled it after just a couple hours. The chief reason? They spelled "Massachusetts" incorrectly. (Maybe if Coakley is elected, she'll sit on an education committee.)

If you're going to run for the U.S. Senate, you should at least know how to spell the name of the state you want to represent...

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