Can Coakley Win? Is Obama’s Agenda Dead?

Today’s special U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts is, we suppose, still anybody’s race – after all, no Republican in Massachusetts can be said to be entitled to ever take anything for granted.

That said, if Scott Brown were to somehow lose today’s election, the most invasive, obnoxious probe of the race ought to be undertaken, because anything other than a Brown victory would, based on current polling, be at variance with what is known about the state of the race heading into the election.

A look at the average of the latest polls shows Brown with a runaway lead on Democrat Martha Coakley, whose campaign has driven away voters with a ruthless efficiency heretofore reserved for determined, focused and well-resourced efforts aimed at the inverse of Coakley’s results. Brown’s average margin in the last seven polls done regarding the Massachusetts race is plus-6.8, with the only poll not showing him in a lead outside the margin of error having been done by the Daily Kos.

“I actually think the bottom is falling out,” said InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery, referring to Coakley’s fall in the polls over the last ten days – InsiderAdvantage’s latest poll has Brown up nine points over Coakley. “I think that this candidate is in freefall. Clearly this race is imploding for her.”

There is more to this race than Coakley’s determination to piss off every Catholic and/or Red Sox fan. The Brown/Coakley campaign has become, albeit on strangely favorable terms to the Republican among an electorate thought to be impermiable to an even remotely conservative candidate, a referendum on not just Barack Obama’s health-care plan but the role of the federal government in American life; with a result from which no Democrat can derive sustenance. The fact is, the repudiation of Obamism on ground supposedly so friendly to the president has to be extremely off-putting to what one Louisiana federal elected official calls “the left of the left in charge of the country,” and very shortly Obama and his minions atop the Capitol Hill heap are going to have to make a determination whether they’d like to govern from the functional center, and thus perhaps win the satisfaction of the American people, or beat their heads against the wall while trying to sneak left-wing policies past a Republican filibuster in the Senate.

This calculation made following the Brown victory in Massachusetts is one the Democrats had better consider carefully, because grave implications come with it. They essentially will be left with two general strategic choices; first, spend the next 10 months essentially conducting human wave attacks against the American people/majority by pressing as hard as humanly possible to force through as much of the left-wing agenda through Congressional or executive action as has ever been done. Or, Obama and his people can choose to govern as a center-left group, in the mode of a Bill Clinton after he was chastened by the 1994 Republican electoral surge, in hopes that by tacking to the center they ward off the worst of the Tea Party/constitutional conservative movement’s effects on their numbers in November.

Neither one appears to be a particularly good strategy going forward based on the Democrats’ successes in 2008. A Kamikaze/suicide bomber legislative strategy will only incense already-incensed voters and deliver to Obama and his party a Republican majority in both the House and Senate before the GOP even decides upon an electoral strategy for 2012 which could well deliver a governing majority for Reagan conservatism that Reagan never even had; and Democrats run the risk of observing such a limited government delivering economic growth and national resurgence as to make what is ill-defined as “liberalism” as politically viable as the Know-Nothings or silverites at the end of the day. After all, the last time hard-core leftism was tried in America was the late 1970’s, and it was 2008 before a Democrat could win a presidential election without feigning Republicanism; even then Obama sold himself as an empty vessel centrists and gullible Rockefeller Republicans could pour all their fantasies of bipartisan government into.

But a Clintonite-Dick Morris triangulation strategy debuting later this week holds little more for Obama. Unlike Clinton, who everyone knew was a creature of the polls and lacked conviction of any kind, and furthermore was able to present himself as the slimeball politician everyone actually liked despite themselves, Obama comes off as rigid, cold and ideological. His attempt at triangulating Republican policies – particularly when those Republican policies are informed by the constitutional conservatives and limited-government advocates in the Tea Party movement – is unlikely to play well. After a year in office spent mugging bankers, doctors and conservatives of various professions, Obama isn’t likely to become a convincing advocate for the productive among us – and he certainly won’t find much purchase or sympathy cozying up to Republicans like Mike Pence or Tom Coburn after a year spent attempting to seize the medical sector or blow up the American economy in pursuit of the political Yeti of “global warming relief.” At this point Obama is likely to dispirit his base and merely encourage conservatives to swarm his battlements much like Islamic fanatics appear to be assaulting his weak national security posture.

This is a president who, through his political tin ear and inability to understand the import of his own election – which was quite apparently to improve the political culture in Washington, reduce American exposure in foreign policy and rein in runaway government spending and interference in the economy – has squandered the rare opportunity to head a governing majority by attempting to ramrod a series of gross overreaches through Congress. That is an exceedingly poor legacy and a record about to be severely punished by the American people. It is discouraging that someone capable of achieving the highest office in what is still assumed to be the world’s most important nation could fail so horribly, but in America we celebrate redemption and improvment; perhaps through today’s ignomnious defeat Obama and his his people might realize a comeback built on realism and the bipartisanship he flacked to the public during his campaign two years ago.

Given that, Obama needs to take to heart a song reintroduced to the American people 18 years ago (was it really THAT long ago?). It’s a song Republicans are embracing from the headquarters of Scott Brown in Massachusetts to the volunteer stations for Chuck DeVore in California…



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