Welcome to the rest of the story
The really neat thing about Scott Brown's victory last night was that it gives headline writers across America a chance to stretch their vocabulary of superlatives to describe it.
"Epic," says AP. "Historic," says Politico. Even the New York Times is "stunned."
There is good reason for this - it is all understatement. It is impossible to capture the utter, disbelieving, tsunami/earthquake/hurricane/cyclone/tornado-like upheaval of American politics that just occurred. In this one instance, hyperbole is inadequate, and there is no such thing as exaggeration.
Obamacare, in its present form, is dead. "Ding, dong, the wicked witch is dead" kind of dead. A house just fell on it, and Scott Brown is now wearing the Ruby Slippers. He's got the power to kill Obamacare and the Democrats - even dyed in the wool, bitter ender liberals like Barney Frank - know the game is over.
Not only healthcare reform has been flushed. As predicted by AT's Rich Baehr (who got Brown's margin of victory exactly right ), Democratic moderates are heading for the hills. Via ABC's The Note:
Even before the votes are counted, Senator Evan Bayh is warning fellow Democrats that ignoring the lessons of the Massachusetts Senate race will "lead to even further catastrophe" for their party.
"There's going to be a tendency on the part of our people to be in denial about all this," Bayh told ABC News, but "if you lose Massachusetts and that's not a wake-up call, there's no hope of waking up."
What is the lesson of Massachusetts - where Democrats face the prospects of losing a Senate seat they've held since 1952? For Senator Bayh the lesson is that the party pushed an agenda that is too far to the left, alienating moderate and independent voters.
"It's why moderates and independents even in a state as Democratic as Massachusetts just aren't buying our message," he said. "They just don't believe the answers we are currently proposing are solving their problems. That's something that has to be corrected."
Bayh pointed that it's not just Massachusetts. Independents also rejected Democratic gubernatorial candidates in New Jersey and Virginia in November.
" The only we are able to govern successfully in this country is by liberals and progressives making common cause with independents and moderates," Bayh said. "Whenever you have just the furthest left elements of the Dem party attempting to impose their will on the rest of the country -- that's not going to work too well."
Bayh is one of the most successful Democratic politicians in the country. And other senate moderates - Lieberman, Webb, and Nelson - have also indicated that things are going to have to change if their party is going to survive the tidal wave approaching in November.
And the White House? Expect the president and the leadership on the Hill to thrash about for a few days, speaking brave words about passing health care reform anyway, but they know full well that their version of a government takeover of health care is finished. And the rest of Obama's far left agenda will probably be quietly shelved as the reality of a sudden realignment in the power centers in Washington takes place. The Great Middle of the American electorate has reasserted control and the Democrats are caught with nothing much to say, and little to propose.
Into this vacuum, the GOP can start asserting itself. Get control of spending. Cut taxes. Bring the economy back to life. After rejecting the far left, the people are now turning to the Republican party to see what ideas they have to make things right. That is the second part of this historic opportunity and while the Democrats will still seek to block anything the GOP wants to do, the monolithic hold of the far left on their party has been broken. The Democrats will be forced to moderate or die and in that scenario, the GOP can thrive if it offers common sense solutions to what ails us.
Brown's victory is only the start to a year that could see a GOP revival all over the map. Let's hope they're smart enough to take advantage of it.