Massachusetts Reax

Matthew Continetti:

After the off-year elections, Democrats could cling to Bill Owens's victory in NY-23 as a shred of evidence that the Tea Party message could hurt Republicans. Scott Brown's victory exposes NY-23 as a fluke. The trend is clear. Independents have moved sharply right over the course of President Obama's first year in office, even in Massachusetts. Attention Democrats: Obama's version of change is not what most of the country believes in.

Josh Marshall:

For a whole variety of reasons voters clearly have a lot of hesitation about this reform. I think the polls make clear that the public is not against it. But the reticence is real. If Dems decide to run from the whole project in the face of a single reverse, what are voters supposed to draw from that? What conclusion would you draw about an individual in an analogous situation in your own life? Think about it.


Scott Brown joining the Senate will make it impossible to make big progress on the big issues facing the country. But a number of “centrist” Democrats have been making it clear for a while now that they don’t want to make big progress on the big issues facing the country. That’s too bad, and Brown winning will only make things worse. We’re much more likely looking at a situation where Brown’s victory becomes an excuse for people not to do things they didn’t want to do anyway than a situation where Brown’s victory is the actual reason those things can’t be done.

Ramesh Ponnuru:

There are a lot of signs that the Ds are going to go on an anti-Wall Street jag to try to save themselves. If their political assumptions are correct, shouldn't the bank taxwhich Brown opposedhave worked better for Coakley?

Nate Silver:

As one would naturally expect from an election in which the Republican won Massachusetts, Brown outperformed typical GOP margins in every corner of the state. But the swing tended to be largest in red-leaning and swing areas in central Massachusetts. Coakley's numbers were relatively good in Western Massachusetts and a handful of left-leaning suburbs, but underwhelming in Boston itself.

Yuval Levin:

[The Democrats] are of course not in fact powerless at all. But they have adopted an agenda that only a supermajority could pass (if that, even a supermajority couldn’t pass cap and trade), and with every indication of public opposition have only intensified their determination to pursue it, putting themselves on the wrong side of independent voters while persuading themselves that people would come around because this health care bill is something liberals have wanted for three generations. They have made it impossible for themselves to change course without a massive loss of face and of political capital. But however costly, that change will now need to come.

Ezra Klein:

I really wonder what the Democratic Caucus thinks will happen if they let health-care reform slip away and walk into 2010 having wasted a year of the country's time amidst a terrible recession. It won't be pretty, I imagine. If health-care reform passes, the two sides can argue over whether it was a success. If it fails, there's no argument.

[Brown] going to be a short-lister for every GOP presidential contender. It doesn’t matter if he emerges as a great legislator or policy mench in the next two years: Scott Brown will be known as the “guy who took away the Democrats’ (supposedly) filibuster-proof majority,” the guy who “sent a shiver down the spine of the Obama Administration,” and, of course, the “guy who won Teddy’s seat.”


The polls also suggest that Brown performed very well with under-30 voters, which could mean that I won't have to have another endless conversation about whether the right has lost Generation Y for good. My guess is that these voters in their late teens and twenties have scarcely any recollection of the Reagan years...The fact that America elected an African American president is a tremendous source of proud to these voters, I'm guessing. Yet that doesn't change the fact that many feel disappointed with a technocratic president who hasn't lived up to some of his more grandiose promises about transparency and a revival of grassroots democracy.

Taegan Goddard:

The politics of health care reform in the coming days is going to be one of the most interesting political stories in a long, long time.