Everybody is talking about what Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts means for 2010 and 2012. Will the recent spectacular and surprising GOP victories be short-lived phenomena or a major revolution? Clearly, Democrats should be worried – attractive candidates with appealing narratives and authentic messages are winning even in the most unlikely of circumstances.
Combined with the GOP victories in Virginia and New Jersey, it is easy to argue that Americans are disillusioned with President Obama’s ambitious attempts to “transform” our country – through government takeover of health care, his far left appointees, a massive liberal/socialist agenda and, especially, his plan to make taxpayers pay for abortions. Pundits are calling the win “a massive victory,” “a shocking turn-about” “a tsunami,” “a devastating loss for the Democrats,” “a game changer,” “a shot across the bow for the arrogant House and Senate leaders,” “a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process,” “the biggest political upset in our lifetime,” and “a stunning victory in favor of governmental transparency.”
While the GOP, and many Independents and Democrats, believe that Coakley’s resounding defeat sends important messages to the President and to Capitol Hill, the presidential modus operandi remained unchanged – Obama blamed Bush. Illogically, he argued that the same frustrations that caused people to vote for him are still around after eight years and that’s what drew angry voters to Brown.
Sorry, that argument won’t fly; we now know that Brown won even in Hyannisport and in Barney Frank’s district. To help the President grasp the ramifications of Brown’s victory, here are three important messages that he needs to understand.
Message #1: Authenticity trumps rhetoric any time, especially now. While the Democrats are “talking the talk” and passing out a billion here and billion there like it is paper money, the public is forced to live the “walking the walk” part – seeing real dollars thrown away and crushing deficits piling up. Brown drove a beat-up truck around Massachusetts (authentic); Obama’s most memorable lines in his last-minute campaign speech for Coakley were making fun of that truck (rhetoric). Now, even the ever-present teleprompter communicates a jarring disconnect between Obama’s words and his indecipherable meanings.
The Massachusetts victory also signals that Americans are seeing through political spin and elitist rhetoric. Americans see through the far left policies advocated by Obama, Reid, and Pelosi, and they soundly reject them. They are signaling: no more tax and spend; no more ObamaCare; no more billion dollar deficit increases; and don’t even think about taxpayer funded abortions. It is important to note that those messages are the currency of the TEA party activists and conservative organizations who have brought the issues into focus and exposed the leftist agenda, political machinations, and demagoguery for all to see.
Message #2: You can fool some of the people some of the time, but not most of the people all the time. Trust is an essential factor for political credibility; once it is gone, it is virtually impossible to regain. The public gave Obama the benefit of the doubt over Jeremiah Wright, the questionable and corrupt early political appointees, and a dozen other acts that contradicted his campaign promises. Obama squandered the public’s trust to the point where his poll numbers are notoriously low and a Huffington Post columnist is cynical about him. Now, his reputation for oratory has diminished; he couldn’t even fill the hall for Coakley’s campaign rally.
On the positive side, Brown’s victory sends hope that Americans won’t stand for destructive “change” that violates our freedom, overrides the deeply-held moral and religious beliefs of many of our citizens, and destroys the foundations of democracy. This is especially heartening in light of Brown’s broad appeal in Massachusetts – polls after the election reveal that he captured the middle class as well as the blue collar vote – indicating that Main Street Americans see through the leftist agenda of both giving handouts to Wall Street and General Motors, as well as taking money from Joe the Plumber to “spread the wealth around.”
Message #3: America remains, essentially, a Christian nation. While political correctness is pervasive throughout American culture and people want to “live and let live,” the Judeo-Christian values of honesty, keeping your promises, respect and equality for all, and the rejection of corruption are foundational for most Americans’ belief systems. Certain common political behaviors – condescension toward the electorate, being a hypocrite, lying, stealing, unjustly attacking others – are still considered morally reprehensible. Even the President’s most ardent fans are dismayed at the number of Obama’s questionable and corrupt political appointees.
Historians often say that Presidents are shaped by disastrous external events – for instance, Lincoln and the Civil War, and Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs. The people of Massachusetts and the people of the nation overwhelming agree that the health care reform bill is a disaster, and they don’t want their taxes to fund “the largest expansion of abortion in our nation’s history.”
Americans “get” the messages of the Massachusetts special election. The question is whether President Obama understands that ramming through his unpopular socialist agenda, judges, and political appointees undermines his own future – as well as that of this nation?