Scott Brown, the Massachusetts Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in the special election to replace the late Ted Kennedy, enjoys neither widespread name-recognition nor charisma. The Democratic Party challenger, Martha Coakley, career state prosecutor-turned-Attorney General, is as exciting as an Irish boiled dinner, easily qualifying as the uncontested princess of dullness.
Doesn't seem like a contest worth even a glancing look. Why bother when the opponents are both nondescript, flatline boring...and the Democrat always wins in Massachusetts anyhow? Except that Scott Brown might just pull off the upset. If so, it would break the Democratic Party stranglehold on Northeast Congressional politics begun by JFK's defeat of Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. for the U.S. Senate in 1952.
Once Lodge suffered a second and final defeat at the hands of JFK when Lodge was Richard Nixon's running mate in the 1960 presidential sweeps, Massachusetts's longstanding bastion of conservatism was breached, Calvin Coolidge merely a historical footnote. Edward Brooke, the last Republican U.S. Senator from the Rockefeller wing, lost his seat in 1979. Judd Gregg, U.S. Senator from New Hampshire and the only remaining New England Republican with any semblance of conservative principles, has already announced that he will not run for another term. Senators Snowe and Collins of Maine only masquerade as Republicans.
Coakley, having few accomplishments in her career besides successfully denying parole to the probably-innocent daycare school operator Gerald Amirault (unjustly imprisoned for alleged child molestation, as well chronicled by Dorothy Rabinowitz of the WSJ), survived a primary contest distinguished mainly by a field of undistinguished Kennedy wannabes.
Another Democrat drone, prepared to vote "yes" on any proposal to make government bigger and more intrusive, Coakley is programmed to vote for any and all tax-and-spend programs promoted by the national Democratic Party. Yet even Massachusetts voters, finally unwilling to embrace national bankruptcy to finance the bottomless pit demanded by the liberal agenda, have had enough.
Brown, a low-profile lawyer, thirty-year veteran Lt. Colonel in the Army National Guard, three-term State Senator and State Representative before that, primarily known for his expertise and advocacy for veterans' affairs, is running on a simple two-pronged platform: Reduce taxes and take out the terrorists.
Brown, the free-enterprise tax-cutter, even cobbled a short video clip channeling a reprise of a 1962 speech of JFK promoting his own tax-cutting agenda to provoke economic growth, cleverly fading into Brown himself calling for tax cuts now. Of course, this suggestive but transparent campaign ad simply torments the Massachusetts Dems. To be reminded that their beloved Camelot was ruled by a king whose tax cuts and athletic national security attitude aligned him more with Ronald Reagan than with his own younger brother has driven the Dems mad. But the independents and hardcore Republicans, in retreat and fending off despair for the last three decades, are now coming out of their gloomy seclusion, pushing Brown's polling numbers to within single digits.
Brown's less obvious but more vital message to Massachusetts voters concerns his vote to kill national health care. This would not be just an ideological stance, be it in support of free markets, individual choice, or the size of government. It would be a pragmatic vote, protecting the blossoming biotech industry, extensive teaching hospital network, and some of the finest medical care institutions in the country- -- accounting for more than one-third of the Massachusetts economy. All of this would be in jeopardy with ObamaCare.
Is Coakley prepared to flush the Massachusetts economy down the toilet to align herself with the national Democratic Party agenda on health care? Of course she will! That's her platform. So don't be surprised when Massachusetts voters, recalling the "shot heard round the world" at Lexington in 1775, realize their self-interest and send Scott Brown to Washington. Geoffrey P. Hunt is a senior executive in a large firm.