First came the tremors out to sea - November's statewide elections in Virginia and New Jersey that saw significant moves to the right. Obama involved himself in those races only to see Democrats take a whup'n. But those elections could still be colorably spun as turning on local issues. Not so tonight's Massachusetts special election. That was a massive earth quake in one of the deepest blue parts of our nation. Every Congressional Democrat is going to wake up tomorrow morning feeling like they are on a beach just waiting for the tsunami to wash them out of office. For if Republicans can win Ted Kennedy's ancestral Senate seat in Massachusetts, they can win anywhere.
The Mass. election was a statewide referendum on the governance and plans of President Obama, and particularly his health care bill. Obama himself made sure, by personal appearance in Boston, that everyone understood what was on the line. Even Prof. Bob Beckel, a vociferous, Pelosi-esque mouthpiece for the left, looking as dejected as I have ever seen him, called the loss of the Mass. special election "unspinnable."
So what now? For the right, this was pouring jet fuel on their fire. They will become more aggressive, raise a lot more money, and generate a real crop of challengers for virtually every election contest. Those contests will be nationalized, just like Scott Brown did with his campaign. The grass roots tea party movement will grow exponentially as the right, dejected, outraged and impotent in 2009, suddenly finds themselves masters of their own fate. This will snowball. The tsunami may not wash all away in November, but it will have gained terrible strength by then.
For Democrats - the dawn will bring pure, unadulterated, raw fear. Obama and the Democrats promised the world. They have delivered nothing but far greater national debt. The economy is in pain and unemployment is over 10% We are well into our longest single recession in postwar history and there is no light yet visible at the end of the tunnel. Obama, who promised a new era of post partisan politics, has turned out to be the most partisan figure in living memory. And now they know that all of the electorate are taking note. The House, where 41 seats are keeping the left in power, is now in fully in play. In the Senate, six Democrats are in play come Nov. - Reid (Nev), Lincoln (Ark), Spectre (Pa), Feingold (Wisc) and Bayh (Ind). If nothing else changes between now and November, most if not all of them can expect to be voted out of office.
Obama and Pelosi have already signalled their intent to continue to try and force through their radical agenda. They are clearly considering all possible options - most of them being procedural gerrymandering - to pass the abortion that is the health care bill. Yet in light of what we know now, as David Brooks opines:
That, of course, would be political suicide. It would be the act of a party so arrogant, elitist and contemptuous of popular wisdom that it would not deserve to govern. Marie Antoinette would applaud, but voters would rage.
And that really sums up what must be, even if unspoken, how most of the left are no doubt evaluating this. And indeed, we have been treated today to Virginia's Sen. Jim Webb calling on his party to refrain from voting on the health care bill until Scott Brown is seated. And Evan Bayh is sounding the alarms, "warning fellow Democrats that ignoring the lessons of the Massachusetts Senate race will “lead to even further catastrophe” for their party." Bayh acknoledges that the trajectory the Democrats are following is well too far to the left, and counsels a true bipartisan approach.
Those are two of what I am sure will be many more examples arising in the near future of the lemmings stopping at the edge of the cliff and telling Obama and Pelosi that they refuse to follow them over it. The danger to the lemmings is that Pelosi, Reid and Obama are able to get the Senate version of the bill passed by the House. Then the lemmings don't have to stop at the side of the cliff, they will be pulled over regardless.
This has been both a momentous and entertaining night. And it only promises to get better. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to hear next week's State of the Union speech.