In terms of political symbolism, it’s hard to top Republican Scott Brown’s winning Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat in the midst of a raging national health-care debate. In truth, Brown’s win is so fantastically improbable that, as with many earlier moments in American history, it’s hard not to see something of Providence in it.
It’s difficult to exaggerate the magnitude of Brown’s accomplishment. As a Republican, he prevailed in the only state that George McGovern was able to win. In a state where fewer than 12 percent of registered voters are members of his own party, he emerged victorious. In an election where polls had him down by 30 percent prior to the Senate’s passage of Obamacare, he made up that entire deficit and won going away.
Obamacare could hardly have suffered a clearer or more crushing defeat. The only question left for congressional Democrats is whether they want to admit defeat now, or admit defeat in November. As the Massachusetts election vividly demonstrated, either the Democrats can cast votes against Obamacare, or the American people can do so.
I’ve quoted them before, but James Madison’s words in Federalist 63 bear repeating in light of the shocking developments in Massachusetts: “The cool and deliberate sense of the community ought, in all governments, and actually will, in all free governments, ultimately prevail over the views of its rulers” (italics added).
Hats off to the voters of Massachusetts (of all places!) for demonstrating the truth of Madison’s words! The battle will still have to be waged in the days and weeks to come, but from the perspective of the future, we will look back on this night and say, This was the end of Obamacare.