Monday, January 18, 2010

Scott Brown = Doug Hoffman?

I can't help but get a strange feeling of deja vu looking at the Massachusetts senate race. I feel like we've all of these elements before: a special election, a national conservative base fired up over a candidate they had never heard of three weeks earlier and favorable late polling ... and last time it didn't really work out well for the GOP.

This time, however, there are enough substantial differences to give Republicans reason for hope. Brown is more polished than Hoffman, there is no third candidate wild card and Coakley is doing everything possible to hang herself. Seriously, the Curt Shilling comment makes John Kerry's "Lambert Field" flub look like the goddamn Landing at Inchon by comparison.

Regardless of what happens tomorrow, it would be ridiculous to say that the election has any significant meaning outside of Massachusetts. If Coakley' loses -- as is likely -- conservatives will no doubt call it a harbinger of things to come in 2010 and 2012, instead of blaming the loss on a bad candidate running a bad campaign. They will point out that Massachusetts is one of the most liberal states in the union and for the Bay State to be sending a Republican to Washington is extraordinary. They'll be right, but that doesn't turn Massachusetts or any other state from blue to red (or make Brown's chances for re-election any easier in 2012).

Brown has played his hand smartly. He's kept the national party at a distance, concentrated on local issues and hasn't made any unforced errors -- all of which plagued Hoffman in the last days of that wild congressional race last fall. Brown looks like he's going to pull this one out, but to draw the conclusion that Democrats everywhere are going to be running scared is foolish.

1 comment:

Ron said...

FYI, there is a third candidate in this race, an Independent named Kennedy.