Monday, January 18, 2010
Massachusetts Done with Kennedys
Debate "moderator" David Gergen asked Massachusetts Senate candidate Scott Brown about blocking health care reform if he won "Ted Kennedy's seat" and Brown famously responded that it wasn't Kennedy's seat, it was the people's seat.
That's true, and it was a memorable line, but it also can't be denied that symbolically, the seat was Kennedy's and to continue the symbolism would be to elect Martha Coakley, a Democrat who would vote for Obama's health care plan.
But with the Republican Brown surging in the polls and seemingly poised for a historical upset, there may be more going on here than just a repudiation of ObamaCare and the scary governance of the Democrat-controlled Congress.
By electing Brown, Massachusetts is symbolically breaking with the Kennedys, and indicating that the Kennedy legacy has run its course and the people want to move forward, leaving the Kennedys behind. A big part of Brown's appeal may be a rejection of big government as championed by Ted Kennedy.
If Massachusetts rejects a continuation of the Kennedy legacy, what would that portend in the future? Democrats outnumber Republicans 3-1 in the state. Overturning that demographic won't happen overnight. But this is an opportunity for voters to indicate they've become weary and exhausted with the Ted Kennedy legacy and are looking for a new approach.
UPDATE: 01/19/10: Not only did Brown win, but a poll released today found that the vast majority of Massachusetts voters don't want a senator to carry on Ted Kennedy's legacy but want someone to "go in a new direction with fresh ideas."
To what extent were they all "going along" with Ted Kennedy's big government politics merely because he was a member of the American Monarchy--the Kennedy Family, and now that he is gone and no one to continue, will it all fall like a house of cards?