Yes, Scott Brown’s stunning victory in Tuesday’s special Senate election in Massachusetts ought to stop the Democrats’ health agenda in its tracks. Yes, his 5-percentage-point win in that bluest of states sends a clear message about voter dissatisfaction with Washington.
All of that is important. Very important.
But that’s not where the meaning of Tuesday’s election ends. There is also this message: Every elected office, everywhere, is up for grabs now.
A Republican state senator in Massachusetts of all places just made up almost 20 points in 20 days against a Democratic attorney general who, for all the talk about her inadequacy, won 73 percent of the statewide vote in 2006.
Two months ago in New Jersey, another state long hostile to GOP candidates, sitting Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine spent more than $25 million of his own money on his campaign, doubling his Republican opponent’s entire war chest. He lost. Virginia, which swung dramatically to Barack Obama and the Democrats in 2008, swung just as dramatically back to the GOP in November.
All of this, within 364 days of Obama’s inauguration.
This is the change that the president has brought about. For the foreseeable future, there are no more gimmes.