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.