The race to fill the Senate seat in Massachusetts left vacant by the death of Ted Kennedy is getting interesting. Polls are all over the place; Rasmussen, which tends to lean to the Republicans, is showing it as very close between Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) and State Rep. Scott Brown (R) while the Boston Globe poll has Coakley up by 15 points. Mr. Kennedy’s widow Vicki put out an e-mail plea to supporters and pulled in $350,000 for a last-minute ad run. And as is usually the case in a close race like this, the outsiders are providing more antics and theatrics than the actual issues.
There will be no sugar-coating this election if the Republicans win; it will mean the Democratic number in the Senate will be 59, which, in any other sane world, would mean that they are still comfortably in the majority. However, the Republicans have basically said that they will filibuster anything from healthcare to a biffy call that the Democrats try to pass, so nothing can get done without a supermajority. It will also give the GOP a leg up on their bamboozlement campaign to convince America that the Socialist Marxist Fascist Radical Muslim Who Has Yet To Show Us His Birth Certificate And Who Hates America And Is Far, Far Left* Obama is doomed to failure because he only achieved 97% of what he tried to get through Congress in his first year and therefore they should run the country again. That’s just one of the reasons why this race matters outside of the Bay State.
There’s also no doubt that the Democrats seemed to take it for granted that they would win the election; after all, it was Teddy’s seat. That kind of hubris is just asking for them to get their head handed to them. And while I really would rather not have that happen — Mr. Brown has pledged to join the filibuster against the healthcare bill — it would be a rude awakening for them and a damned hard lesson for them to learn. To be sure, Mr. Brown has some self-inflicted problems of his own, including his attempt to distance himself from the tea-baggers and his Cosmo centerfold (back when he was young and foolish), but the race is Ms. Coakley’s to lose.