Everybody is talking about what Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts means for 2010 and 2012. Will the recent spectacular and surprising GOP victories be short-lived phenomena or a major revolution? Clearly, Democrats should be worried — attractive candidates with appealing narratives and authentic messages are winning even in the most unlikely of circumstances.
Combined with the GOP victories in Virginia and New Jersey, it is easy to argue that Americans are disillusioned with President Obama’s ambitious attempts to “transform” our country — through government takeover of health care, his far left appointees, a massive liberal/socialist agenda and, especially, his plan to make taxpayers pay for abortions. Pundits are calling the win “a massive victory,” “a shocking turn-about” “a tsunami,” “a devastating loss for the Democrats,” “a game changer,” “a shot across the bow for the arrogant House and Senate leaders,” “a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process,” “the biggest political upset in our lifetime,” and “a stunning victory in favor of governmental transparency.”
While the GOP, and many Independents and Democrats, believe that Coakley’s resounding defeat sends important messages to the President and to Capitol Hill, the presidential modus operandi remained unchanged — Obama blamed Bush. Illogically, he argued that the same frustrations that caused people to vote for him are still around after eight years and that’s what drew angry voters to Brown.
Sorry, that argument won’t fly; we now know that Brown won even in Hyannisport and in Barney Frank’s district. To help the President grasp the ramifications of Brown’s victory, here are three important messages that he needs to understand.
Message #1: Authenticity trumps rhetoric any time, especially now. While the Democrats are “talking the talk” and passing out a billion here and billion there like it is paper money, the public is forced to live the “walking the walk” part — seeing real dollars thrown away and crushing deficits piling up. Brown drove a beat-up truck around Massachusetts (authentic); Obama’s most memorable lines in his last-minute campaign speech for Coakley were making fun of that truck (rhetoric). Now, even the ever-present teleprompter communicates a jarring disconnect between Obama’s words and his indecipherable meanings.