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High-Handed in Massachusetts


Obama’s performance in Boston yesterday will make it much harder for the Democrats to say, if Brown wins, that the race had nothing to do with their agenda. Obama basically said the race is all about his agenda and whether “we’re going forward, or going backwards.” Maybe Obama will help fire up Democratic voters enough to get Coakley over-the-top, but when you have a candidate in Brown whose appeal is based on being the under-dog outsider representing ordinary people, I’m not sure how much parachuting in the president of the United States to make fun of his truck — which Obama did obsessively — is going to help Coakley’s cause. It wouldn’t surprise me if turn-out is big, but Brown still wins on the strength of his performance with independents. Like Mark Steyn, I was struck by how much Democrats are playing to their base. If Brown wins, Massachusetts will be a kind of repeat of New Jersey — with Democrats desperately trying to energize their side but losing the middle; hoping to transfer Obama’s appeal to a politician people don’t particularly like; relying on the mechanics of a turn-out operation; paddling against a strong backlash caused by the unpopularity of their agenda; and working over-time to smear their opponent.

(By the way, you can check out @RichLowry on Twitter to see my real-time impressions of the Obama event, and to follow my instant commentary on other events as they happen.)