So what happens now? First, Obamacare as we know it is dead. Yes, the Democrats still have the power to jam it down our throats. But that would be political suicide, and key Democrats will have none of that. Barney Frank . . . yes, Barney Frank has already made that clear:
I have two reactions to the election in Massachusetts. One, I am disappointed. Two, I feel strongly that the Democratic majority in Congress must respect the process and make no effort to bypass the electoral results. If Martha Coakley had won, I believe we could have worked out a reasonable compromise between the House and Senate health care bills. But since Scott Brown has won and the Republicans now have 41 votes in the Senate, that approach is no longer appropriate. I am hopeful that some Republican Senators will be willing to discuss a revised version of health care reform because I do not think that the country would be well-served by the health care status quo. But our respect for democratic procedures must rule out any effort to pass a health care bill as if the Massachusetts election had not happened. Going forward, I hope there will be a serious effort to change the Senate rule which means that 59 votes are not enough to pass major legislation, but those are the rules by which the health care bill was considered, and it would be wrong to change them in the middle of the process.
But last night actually does the Democrats a favor. Yes, it does not augur well for congressional elections this November. But, as Rich Lowry puts it, they “just had a 1994-like event without actually losing control of Congress.” They got a big reality check, but at the cost of only one Senate seat, not (yet) the whole Congress.
So now they already have the opportunity and the goad to do what a savvy Bill Clinton did after the 1994 wipe-out – run to the center. Clinton thereby saved his presidency and was easily reelected just two years later. (Republicans would do well to remember the post-1994 experience and not get overconfident or just plain stupid.)
Will Obama and the Democrats follow his example? Some Democrats certainly will. I think the Senate as a whole will. Harry Reid and a number of others will have to reinvent themselves and quick to get reelected. And being elected by states and not gerrymandered districts, the electorates for Senators are less partisan and more swayed by independents than the electorates for Congressmen.
Still, a number of House Democrats already are running to the center. But I doubt Nancy Pelosi will follow. Her partisan leftism is too much part of her nature.
And, maybe I'll be proven wrong, but I don’t expect Obama to move to the center either. He is a committed Leftist with a totalitarian streak as I’ve frequently noted. And like most Leftists, he likes democracy only when it serves his ends. So I think this prediction will prove on target:
He will try to use executive orders, regulatory/bureaucratic edicts, and a corrupt Justice Department to force through leftist changes in all sorts of areas of daily life. In short, he will become more openly authoritarian. This means we are in for some rocky times. This man is playing for keeps, and he is not a small 'r' republican at heart. He is an Alinskyite. Power is everything to him. All who believe in limited government must gird up our loins, because (sorry for the cliches) Barack Obama will not go gentle into that good night.
We already see this with Cap and Trade. Once its death by democratic means was clear, Obama simply handed the task of choking our economy over to the most radical EPA ever. And now undemocratic regulations are on the way on the flimsy basis of carbon dioxide being a pollutant.
And don’t expect him to tone down the demagoguery so loved by totalitarians. He is engaging in more class warfare on TV as I type this, going after supposed “deadbeat” companies. Yes, they are the enemy. Totalitarians live on good enemies. Oh, and he’s signing a “memorandum.” The Dear Leader speaks! The Dear Leader acts!
What was I saying? Oh yeah. If Obama cannot get his way through democratic means, he will try to get his way through undemocratic means.
And that, my friends, means things will only get more *interesting*.
Something that has not gotten much attention but should is that Scott Brown made national security and combating terrorism an issue. And it helped his campaign.
My personal favorite line of his victory speech was the following:
And let me say this, with respect to those who wish to harm us: I believe that our Constitution and laws exist to protect this nation. They do not grant rights and privileges to enemies in wartime. In dealing with terrorists, our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them, not lawyers to defend them.