The People Have Spoken – But what are they saying? And to whom?

Friday, January 22, 2010
By Transcript Staff

The political pundits, prognosticators, bloggers, Tweeters, et als will be having a field day for a long time to come as they try to discern some meaning from the election of Republican Scott Brown as our next United States Senator.

We will hear all of the obvious reasons for the defeat of Democrat Martha Coakley, who had an apparently safe lead up until three weeks before the election.

“Coakley ran a bad campaign, but Brown’s campaign was focused and hard hitting,”

“She took the voters for granted, but he worked hard for months and shook thousands of hands.”

“She didn’t know who Curt Schilling was. Did you see Brown with Schilling and Flutie on the same stage?”

“She doesn’t have children and came across as a frumpy school-marm, but he had a picture perfect family and seemed full of life and energy.”

“Voters are afraid of the Obama budget deficits, but Brown will cut government spending.”

“Martha will be a rubber stamp for the Democrats, but Brown will hold them accountable.”

“Martha favors the Obama health care plan, but Brown is against it, and the voters are uncertain about it at best.”

“Voters are tired of corrupt Democrats such as DiMasi, but Brown comes across as a new face.”

“Voters are angry at the Wall St. bailout fostered by Obama and the Democrats.” (Although the Republicans are deeper in the back pockets of the bankers than the Democrats are.)

This is just a short list of the reasons why some will say that Scott Brown won the election by a fairly decisive margin. Certainly, there is an element of truth to all of these reasons. Perhaps the best explanation may be that all of these issues had been piling up for some time and they finally overflowed on election day, cascading over the dam and drowning Coakley and the Democrats.

It is our view that there are times when trying to find rationality in an irrational world is a fool’s game. Yes, there are political lessons that both Republicans and Democrats will be able to draw from this election, the likes of which we never have seen here in Massachusetts.

But we think the best way to look at Tuesday’s result is to think back to the prophetic movie “Network” from the mid 1970s. Howard Beale (portrayed by Peter Finch, who won an Academy Award for his role), the aging news anchor who was about to be fired, urged his viewers to scream out their windows, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.”

Did Massachusetts voters feel something of the same urge and do so by placing an X next to Scott Brown’s name?

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