Spinning Massachusetts

Republican Scott Brown won a shocking victory over Democrat Martha Coakley in the special election to take over the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat.  It has been decades since a Republican represented Massachusetts in the Senate, and Brown’s victory is even more amazing in the liberal-leaning Massachusetts when one takes into account the fact that Coakley out spent Brown during the campaign.

The loss of this Senate seat means the Democrats no longer have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, which seriously jeopardizes President Obama’s plan for a major overhaul of health care.

Those are the facts; what’s the spin?  Republicans are saying that Brown’s victory shows that Americans are fed up with the attempt by the President and the Democrat-controlled Congress to take the country too far to the left.  Republicans are saying that the country is concerned that too much is being pushed with health care, and not enough is being done about terrorism and jobs.

Democrats are arguing that the real lesson of Massachusetts is that their candidates just need to run better campaigns.  It wasn’t the substance that was the problem; it was the style.

Who’s right?  Probably both of them to some degree.  But given that President Obama and former President Bill Clinton both campaigned for Coakley, you would think that they would have been able to energize their base whatever Coakley’s shortcomings.

This was a big win for Republicans, and a bad loss for Democrats, who will need to accurately identify their problem here if they want to avoid more of the same in the November elections.