On the rude arch that spanned the flood
In the April breeze their flag unfurled
Here the embattled farmer stood
And fired the shot heard round the world
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Scott Brown has won Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat, which means any Republican can win at any time in any place. Such are the fortunes to which the Democratic Party has fallen under the ministrations of President Barack Obama.
Will this latest defeat, coming on top of the loss of New Jersey and Virginia, reduce the conceit of this man? Will it cause him to second guess the course he has staked out for his party and our nation? Not bloody likely.
But what it will do is bring good Republican candidates out of the woodwork to challenge incumbent Democrats who hold seats once thought to be unassailable.
Throughout the nation, the same pattern repeats itself: Democratic incumbents running in districts they had assumed to be safe but which are safe no more. But, again and again, there is no viable Republican who has, as yet, stepped up to challenge them. You can't beat somebody with nobody. And the Republican Party has a candidate shortage.
As of this writing, there are no strong candidates to challenge Democratic Sens. Patty Murray (Washington), Ron Wyden (Oregon), Kirsten Gillibrand (New York), Evan Bayh (Indiana) and Russ Feingold (Wisconsin). Yet each of these senators is vulnerable. If Ted Kennedy's seat can go Republican, so can theirs.
Right now, the Republicans will likely hold all their open Senate seats. Of the six seats held by retiring Republicans, only Missouri, Ohio and New Hampshire are really in play -- and the GOP candidate in each of the three holds a strong lead.
Then there are five Democratic seats likely to fall to the Republicans.
-- The Delaware seat vacated by Vice President Biden will probably go to Mike Castle, the at-large congressman who has won 11 statewide races since 1980. Biden's son, Beau Biden, has made noises about running, but he will probably read the handwriting on the wall and stay home.
-- When Sen. Byron Dorgan dropped out, he basically conceded his North Dakota seat to Gov. John Hoeven, a highly popular Republican.