- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 19, 2010

You have to be a true believer in Barack Obama’s radical agenda to be a Democrat in Congress, and believe with the intensity of a suicide bomber. Mr. Obama can’t even promise a harem of virgins in paradise.

With disapproval of their health care “reform” running almost to 60 percent in the public-opinion polls, the Democrats set themselves up for disaster in Massachusetts. Scott Brown is smart, good-looking and knows his (Boston baked) beans, but it was his spirited and unapologetic opposition to ObamaCare that got him to the brink of a career in the U.S. Senate. He was helped by the pathetic Martha Coakley, the most inept Massachusetts candidate since Michael Dukakis tanked in the presidential campaign of ‘88.

She has “the kind of political stupidity it takes for a Democrat to lose a Senate race in Massachusetts,” observes columnist Michael Graham in the Boston Herald. “You’ve got to run an absolute disaster of a campaign to lose to a Republican [in Massachusetts]. And that’s what Martha Coakley delivered. It wasn’t the Hindenburg or the Titanic. It was the Hindenburg crashing into the Titanic.”

All no doubt true, but it was Mr. Brown’s unrelenting attack on ObamaCare that brewed the strong tea that set the table for the latest Boston tea party. A Brown victory would unravel the fragile health care legislation, which was pasted and stapled together from the frayed wishes of dead dreamers and barely approved by congressional majorities bound by Harry Reid’s spit and Nancy Pelosi’s baling wire. This was going to be the monument to Teddy Kennedy that would set off wild dancing in the graveyard. Then along came Scott Brown.

What Mr. Brown tapped into is the rich vein of bipartisan anger and rage against the attempt to impose a monstrosity on the unwilling American public, driven by the determination of the Democrats to pay no attention to the public rejection of ObamaCare. Most Americans — or a lot of them, anyway — understand that the president, who got his start promoting the radical ideas of left-wing agitators in the mean streets on the south side of Chicago, doesn’t want to waste an opportunity that might never come again. What they don’t understand is how and why so many otherwise rational Democratic congressmen are so eager to destroy themselves to help Barack Obama achieve his dream of a European-style American welfare state.

The Democrats imagined that invoking the name Kennedy would, like thrusting a cross in the face of Count Dracula, frighten everyone into line to vote for an apostle of ObamaCare. But unlike a lot of Republicans eager to jump when a Democrat yells “boo!” Scott Brown shoved it right back in Mzz Coakley’s face: “It’s not the Kennedys’ seat. It’s not the Democrats’ seat. It’s the people’s seat.” The retort was so effective that the Widow Kennedy even used it herself in the desperate hours of the waning campaign.

But the Kennedy magic has gone stale and flat, like blaming George W. Bush for Democratic sins and shortcomings. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy of Rhode Island, Teddy’s son, told reporters Sunday: “If you know that it takes eight years for George Bush and his cronies to put our country into this hole, then you know that we have a lot of digging to do. We need to get Marcia (sic) Coakley to help do that.” Not only does he get the candidate’s name wrong, but he doesn’t understand that if you’re in a hole, the worst thing you can do is keep digging (which, to be fair, is the example set by President Obama).

A Scott Brown upset would throw the president and his party into industrial-strength panic, and they spent the weekend working on the spin needed if, as many now expect, Mr. Brown wins. They’re ready to pounce on Mzz Coakley’s botches, bungles and blunders as the price of defeat — her insinuation that Catholics shouldn’t work in hospital emergency rooms where a woman might seek an abortion, her assurance that there were no more al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan, her remarkable revelation that Curt Schilling, a Red Sox pitching hero, is a fan of the hated New York Yankees, even her thinking that there’s an “e” at the end of the word “Massachusetts.”

In a tight race, the candidate who goes into the final weekend with what George Bush the Elder called “the big mo’ ” nearly always wins. But we’re talking navy-blue Massachusetts here, and expecting victory for a Republican is remarkable mostly for the gall of it all.

Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

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