19 January 2010

Scott Brown, Senator from Massachusetts

Against all odds, Massachusetts has stood against tyranny.

With over 90% of the precinct results reported, Republican Scott Brown has a 52% to 47% lead over the Democratic Martha Coakley. Mrs. Coakley has conceded the race.

A Brown victory is an extremely positive sign. It sends as strong and clear a signal as any election I can remember. The message is: Government control of people’s lives may prevail everywhere else on earth, but it is still not acceptable in the United States of America.

Image from usflag.org.

It would be hard to overstate the unlikelihood of Democrats losing the Massachusetts Senate seat that belonged to Ted Kennedy for almost half a century. Except for the odd penchant to elect Republican governors, Massachusetts voters are as uniformly leftist as one can find in the nation. This state is solid blue. Opponents hardly need apply; Democrats are a lock in every office from Congressman to dog catcher. We have not had a Republican in a Senate seat since 1972. Only in the most extraordinary circumstances could Democrats lose Ted Kennedy’s seat. (And yes, it is viewed as “Ted Kennedy’s seat” by many in Massachusetts.)

But extraordinary circumstances they are. The credit for the Democrats’ implosion belongs, of course, chiefly to Barack Obama. It is the President who has provided clarity to ordinary citizens – for the first time in decades. (In this regard, I highly recommend the John Lewis article referred to in Note 2.) Elections are ordinarily disgusting affairs, requiring one to choose between two narrowly-differentiated compromisers - the “lesser of two evils,” so to speak - or to not vote at all. Rarely do we get to vote on principles.

Barack Obama has cut through the fog. This Massachusetts special election became a referendum on the administration, particularly on health care "reform." Unwittingly, what the President has made clear more than any of his predecessors (with the possible exception of Franklin Roosevelt) is what a government takeover really means. His heavy-handed blitz upon American liberty, the assembly of czars and commissars that he has dispersed to command over his realm, and his shocking nonchalance in nationalizing private companies, trampling private contracts, and ignoring the rule of law – all have pierced the usual apathy and cynicism. Even in Massachusetts, people are figuring out that this administration is a menace and needs to be stopped.

A Scott Brown win does not mean that all our problems have gone away. There is still no indication that Republicans, after decades of expanding the regulatory welfare state as if they were Democrats, have suddenly decided to do their job – namely, to safeguard individual rights and to begin the enormous task of unclenching the government’s hold on us. It will take a larger cultural shift to thoroughly convince Republicans to be Republicans.

Nevertheless, for the first time in my life, I am proud to live in Massachusetts. Today, many of us have actually deserved to walk on the hallowed ground of Lexington and Concord.

1. Flag illustration from “http://www.usflag.org/gadsden.html.”

2. For an excellent exposition of this idea, see John David Lewis’ essay, “Obama’s Atomic Bomb: The Ideological Clarity of the Democratic Agenda,” in The Objective Standard.


Anonymous said...

Well said Stephen.

Holden F. Gear said...


Actually, this victory for the American people against Obama and his health-care bill (let’s face it – nobody knew who Scott Brown (R) was two weeks ago when he was going to get clobbered by Martha Coakley (D) until he pledged to vote against the health care bill) was more delicious than apparent in the unlikely drama that just unfolded tonight.

The series of events was set into motion some years ago, when Ted Kennedy (D) and John Kerry (D) conspired in what should have been “outed” as an outrageous political maneuver. When John Kerry ran for President in 2004, the prospect of him winning, vacating his Senate seat, and allowing Governor Mitt Romney (R) to appoint a Republican replacement spooked them into rewriting the law. They passed new state legislation that replaced this Governor’s power with a special election, reasoning that the super-majority that has existed for half a century in Massachusetts would reliably secure a Democrat, then and in the future.

What they probably didn’t consider in their calculations was that Kerry would lose in 2004, and that in 2009 a Democratic President more overtly socialist than their wildest dreams allowed would be elected. And that Kennedy would die, vacating his Senate seat. And that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D) would have dutifully appointed a Democratic replacement if the old law were still in place. But instead they faced a special election that they had unwittingly orchestrated six years earlier.

Only a novelist could have orchestrated the rest. The President pushes through a socialist health-care bill that is viscerally unpopular to a public numbed by the drumbeat that they have a right to health care at the expense of their neighbors, but (thankfully!) viscerally aware that this is wrong. Representatives in both houses ignore their constituents and, through partisan political machinations completely divorced from the moral issues of the bill, set up a vote that swings in favor of the Democrats’ choice by a single vote. This vote becomes the vacated Senate seat! No problem – it’s Massachusetts. But wait a minute. Two weeks before the election, the unknown Republican contender declares that he will vote against the bill. Inexplicably, national Democrats take the bait and pour into Boston, tacitly confirming that the bill and the entire agenda of the President is at stake! Even Obama shows up on Sunday, two days before the election! Massachusetts Americans suddenly become aware that they have a “do-over” of sorts, and exactly one year after President Obama was sworn into office, he suffers a stunning, though indirect, defeat.

I’m no Republican, and I’m as opposed to the execrable, altruism-based policies of the Republican Party as those of the Democratic Party, and both parties are equally likely to continue to trim more or less the same number of years off my life by eroding my individual rights with “middle class entitlements”, or whatever they call them. But, in general, out-of-touch cluelessness seems to be a monopoly of the Democratic Party, as does the sort of political treachery that Kerry and Kennedy pulled (and backfired!). Don’t be surprised if in the next few days you see shenanigans being pulled in Washington to try to hurry the health-care bill through before Scott Brown can be sworn in. There’s no doubt that this will be for the usual reason – that we are all too stupid to know what we need to survive, so we must be rescued by the elite fortunate to be gifted with wisdom, i.e. Democrats.

Tomorrow I will surely hear politicians on both sides completely missing the point that this entire fiasco was about Americans smelling a rat encroaching on their individual rights. I’ll probably also hear some anti-abortion drivel from our new Senator, a buzz-kill for sure. But tonight, I will celebrate the American spirit that is still alive after over two hundred years.

Don’t tread on me! Laissez faire! Long live America!

Sandi Trixx said...

I do believe that the voters based this election on principle. However, I am very pessimistic about Scott Brown's principles (http://www.brownforussenate.com/issues).