First, let me offer congratulations to Senator-Elect Scott Brown of Massachusetts. The impact of the election to fill the seat of the late Ted Kennedy will be felt for a while. Here is a list of some of the winners and losers from last night.
- Scott Brown: This one's self-explanatory. Brown ran a stellar campaign, appealing to the spirit of the age with his common man approach and promise to vote against the ObamaCare bill still in Congress.
- The TEA Party movement: The victory that didn't come in NY-23 came in Massachusetts. No matter how much the Left ridicules the TEA Party movement, it's clear from post-election interviews that there are more TEA Party people than the Left cares to admit. That should tell them that Brown's victory is a validation of the TEA Party.
- Conservative House Democrats: It's unusual to think of a Republican winning helping Democrats, but in this case it works. With Brown's potential vote against ObamaCare, conservative Democrats in the House can make the argument that ObamaCare won't be able to pass by traditional means. That means they could vote their conscience with the House version instead of voting with their party in the hopes of being reelected.
- Martha Coakley: Although she was hand-picked by the Kennedy family to take Ted's seat, Coakley ran a laughable campaign. Hard to believe that she was up by 30 points at one time. Her campaign's meltdown will be the source of much discussion within Leftist circles, mainly to protect President Obama from the fall-out.
- Barack Obama: In the short term, Brown's election means health care reform and other Obama initiatives are threatened. In the long term, Obama's inability to deliver victory in three high profile races (New Jersey, Virginia, and now Massachusetts) will be a reflection on his bank-ability as a Campaigner-In-Chief. If the 2010 midterm elections become a referendum on Obama, more and more Democrats will distance themselves from the President, making him seem more and more like a lame duck.
- Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid: Brown's election throws a spotlight on Pelosi and Reid's failure to deliver a workable health care reform bill last year. In their attempts to bribe and bully their respective houses of Congress into voting for ObamaCare, they "forgot" the art of diplomacy and preferred to hammer through a fundamentally flawed bill with the promise that it could be "fixed" later. Here's a tip: if you know it's a bad bill, pushing it through won't make it any better.
- the Kennedy family: There was once a time when a Kennedy supporting someone in Massachusetts meant a guaranteed victory. With the Kennedy family's support of Coakley, though, no victory was to be had. This is a sign that the Kennedy name is no longer a force in Massachusetts politics, possibly even national politics. And the sad thing: it is a self-inflicted wound.
Take 'Em and Pick 'Em
- the Republican Party: At this point, I'm not sure how the Republican Party will react to the Brown victory after the euphoria of the victory wears off. If they look solely at the Senate makeup and don't consider how Brown won, their chances in the midterm elections will be negatively impacted. Brown's victory can be used as a blueprint for other Republican victories, but only if the party leadership recognizes it.
- the Democrat Party: Brown's victory should be a wake-up call to the party. The tactics they used served not to discourage support for Brown, but discourage support for Coakley. They simply can't rely on attacking an opponent as a "teabagger" because there are a number of people who actually agree with the TEA Party movement from all walks of life. With a growing number of Independents willing to vote for a Republican or a conservative, the Democrat brand may not be as strong as it was back in 2006 and 2008.
- third parties: With the rise of the TEA Party movement, there has been a lot of talk about the possibility of third parties rising in popularity and what it means to the two major parties. Brown's victory may give third parties reason to pause. After all, if they can find a Republican, conservative, or Independent candidate that can support and be satisfied, there may not need to be such a powerful move towards third parties. Then again, it may be just the motivation they need to step up and make a better argument for their causes.