View Full Version : "Lessons of the Mass. Revolt: Feel The Peoples Anger!"

01-21-2010, 10:10 AM
Scott Brown's historic victory in the Massachusetts special election might signal huge Republican victories and massive Democratic bloodletting up and down the ballot in November.But the operative word is might.No two elections are the same, and GOP candidates who try to achieve Brown's results without actually learning what he did right might find that Massachusetts magic elusive.

What Tuesday showed is that Republicans can win victories in the unlikeliest places by fusing 1) conservative resistance to the Obama/big-government agenda and 2) rising independent frustration with Washington's failure to "change" as promised.

Some of that anger comes from continued massive job losses; some of it, from self-serving inside deals like the "Cornhusker Kickback" and "Louisiana Purchase" deals in the Senate health bill.

Brown was perfectly positioned in this environment as a populist. With his now-iconic pickup truck, he was a figure people could relate to and trust.

Indeed, his unique qualities -- such as his ability to turn a phrase his opponents would spend the rest of the campaign reacting to ("It's not the Kennedy seat -- it's the people's seat") -- had as much to do with his victory as the overall political climate.

(And Massachusetts, despite its image as a bastion of Ivory Tower elitism, has always been a blue-collar, populist state -- and blue-collar cities like Lowell, Quincy and Worcester turned out in a big way for Brown.)

But behind Brown's direct and down-to-earth style is a larger point: It's not enough to talk against the establishment
-- you have to somehow embody what the establishment is not.

Candidates who were part of the establishment during years of GOP rule may win this fall because of the underlying political dynamics, but they won't stage thrilling come-from-behind wins or exceed expectations.