When the sun rose over the Massachusetts Teachers Association headquarters Monday, it was eerily quiet, even though campaign workers for Democrat Martha Coakley were supposed to be manning a phone bank. Hours reportedly passed before anybody showed up for work, despite the fact that the special election to fill Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat was only hours away and Coakley was in a race to the finish with Republican Scott Brown.
To be sure, a Sunday evening snow storm made roads difficult to navigate Monday morning, but devoted campaign workers always find a way. Besides, the race was of such national importance that even President Barack Obama flew to the Bay State on Sunday to stump for Coakley, sounding the classic leftist themes of class warfare and envy that White House political strategists are rehearsing for this year’s midterm congressional elections.
Only a year ago, as Democrats basked in Obama’s historic victory, nobody would have predicted such a political upheaval after Kennedy’s death in arguably the bluest of blue states.
Indeed, as Washington Examiner political editor Chris Stirewalt described it in his column Monday, Democratic success among Hispanics, urban professionals and women had helped build a new coalition that would endure as white males receded like mastodons at the end of the Pleistocene epoch.
Today, however, 60 percent of respondents to a recent Massachusetts poll said America would be better off today if Republican Sen. John McCain had defeated Obama. And Brown has come from 30 points behind just weeks ago to catch Coakley or perhaps even surge a few points ahead. How times do change.
What happened in the past year to spark such profound changes in the political scene? Two things: A $787 billion economic stimulus package and the $1 trillion-plus Obamacare proposal to put government bureaucrats between America’s doctors and patients. The former is now best known for creating phantom jobs in phantom ZIP codes in phantom congressional districts. Meanwhile, instead of keeping unemployment below 8 percent, as Obama promised, the stimulus program has failed to push it below
10 percent for months on end. As for Obamacare, the more people learn about it, the more unpopular it is.
Scott Brown may yet lose today’s Massachusetts special election, but regardless, the biggest loser will almost certainly be the man in the White House and his Democratic compatriots leading Congress.