Barack Obama has been in office for just one year, but already it is beginning to look like he may be a one-term wonder. He is not doing very well on a number of fronts, and Tuesday’s Massachusetts election results is one of the biggest indications of this yet.
Obama’s personal approval rating has been the lowest of any President in his first year (dropping to just 47 per cent before Christmas), and he is in trouble with the American electorate in various areas. But most stunning of all has been the Republican victory on Tuesday, giving the GOP 41 Senate seats, enough to now stymie the Obama agenda, including his flawed health care bill with its abortion funding provisions.
Against all expectations – and against all odds – a Republican has won the seat held by the recently deceased Ted Kennedy. Massachusetts is one of the most leftwing states in the nation, and the Democrats in general and the Kennedys in particular have held a vice-like grip on the New England state.
So when Republican Scott Brown beat Democrat Martha Coakley by a healthy margin (52 to 47 per cent, with one per cent going to an independent), this was quite an accomplishment. This seat had been held by Democrats for 46 years. And registered Democrats there outnumbered the opposition by three and a half to one (with only 12 per cent registered Republicans). So this was certainly a substantial win.
And this has not been the only recent GOP victory. They also won governor races by large margins in New Jersey and Virginia in November 2009, where Obama had won big in 2008. Even the Democrats are starting to get nervous. For example, New York Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner said Democrats had to listen closely to the message voters delivered in Massachusetts: “If we’re having a problem in … Massachusetts, we’re going to have problems all over the country,”
There has been plenty of conservative commentary on this big win. Here is a small sampling. Ann Coulter summarised the outcome this way: “The Democrats have no natural majority because they have no fundamental principles – at least none that they are willing to state out loud. They are like a drunken vagrant who emerges from the alley to cause havoc every few years. They are the perpetual toothache of American politics.
“To be sure, the fact that 52 percent of Massachusetts voters are racist, sexist tea-baggers – i.e., voted for a Republican – means only that the Democrats just went from having the largest congressional majority in a generation to the second largest. But this was ‘Teddy Kennedy’s seat.’ And it was in Massachusetts. Now, no Democrat is safe. But the country just got a lot safer.”
Writing just before the final figures were in, Michelle Malkin noted the differences between the candidates, and the parties: “Brown channeled the energies of taxpayers of all stripes who are disgusted and angry – yes, ANGRY! – with the culture of corruption in Washington. That is how Brown has struck common ground with his insurgent center-right-indie coalition: by stepping up to oppose the Dems’ plans to rig the game and undermine representative government, instead of sneering at ‘Teabaggers.’
“While a self-satisfied and entitled Coakley vacationed or partied with D.C. lobbyists, Brown drove around in his GM truck, shaking hands in the cold outside Fenway Park – earning the scorn of Coakley and Obama, who mocked Brown’s truck six times at the Boston rally this weekend to the delight of blue-nosed Democrats.
“Rep. Frank griped at the Coakley-Obama rally that Coakley ‘let it become a personality contest and that was a mistake.’ The supreme irony in hearing Beltway Democrats snipe at Coakley over her effete, out-of-touch attitude is that their commander-in-chief at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. suffers the same fatal flaws. Exactly one year after Obama was inaugurated, the Massachusetts meltdown mirrors the White House meltdown. For the sake of their political survival, Democrats need to stop promising change and start promising self-correction.”
Long standing political activist Richard A. Viguerie said this: “Scott Brown’s election to the Senate is another example of the energy and passion that has been brought to the Republican Party in the past year by new conservative leaders. Brown’s victory would not have happened without the leadership of Tea Party activists, talk show hosts, bloggers, and others using the Internet. These new conservative leaders are forcing backbone and spine into the old and tired Republican Party leaders, who in early 2009 were afraid to publicly disagree with or challenge President Obama and his agenda.
“This conservative Republican Senate victory in Massachusetts would not have been possible 25 years ago before the new and alternative media–talk radio, cable TV, Internet, bloggers, etc. The next battleground for these new conservative leaders against the establishment big-government politicians will be in Republican and Democratic primaries. These new conservative leaders are gearing up to challenge the political establishment regardless of party.”
Pro-lifers were basically pleased with the outcome. Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser said, “On the heels of last fall’s victories by Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie, Scott Brown’s victory is just the beginning of the consequences Congressional incumbents will face this November. Anyone who votes to advance health care legislation that funds abortion on-demand should consider themselves on notice.”
Concerned Women for America president Wendy Wright claimed that “Obama’s and liberal congressmen’s arrogance cost them something they care about – the Senate seat once held by Ted Kennedy.” And Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life made this remark: “Americans love freedom. If Washington ignores the will of the people, as the Democratic party has been doing in so many issues, the people respond at the voting booth to reclaim their own voice. When the people feel powerless to change the minds of those in power, they change those in power.”
Pro-life activist Randall Terry however lamented the fact that Brown was in favour of Roe vs. Wade. “Granted, he is against federal funding of child killing; and his vote may help kill the health care bill. In that light, I quote Winston Churchill: ‘If the devil himself invaded Germany, I would at least give him an honorable mention in the House of Commons’.”
But with the Democratic stranglehold on the Senate now broken, the chances of pro-death legislation automatically going through have taken a real dive. Obama’s job has just got a whole lot more difficult. Indeed, this election was in many respects a referendum on the Obama presidency. Hopefully the pendulum will keep swinging to the conservatives. If so, we may in fact see a Republican in the White house in 2012.