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January 19, 2010

GOP Takes Ted Kennedy's Senate Seat


The Republican candidate in Massachusetts has taken Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in an surprise victory today. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Republican Scott Brown had 52 percent of the vote to Martha Coakley’s 47 percent.

Brown's victory strips the Democrats' 60-seat Senate supermajority needed to overcome Republican filibusters. Senate Democrats used all 60 votes in their caucus to pass the health care bill, and Democratic leadership was scrambling today to save health care reform, The Hill reports.

Democratic aides say that senior White House officials would prefer the House pass the Senate healthcare bill without changes, which would obviate the need for a second Senate vote on the legislation.

The problem is that many liberal lawmakers in the House don’t like the Senate bill.

To compensate for this opposition, there is a proposal that the House would then pass a second measure making changes to the Senate bill. That measure could then pass through the upper chamber at a later date under special budgetary rules known as reconciliation, which allow legislation to pass with a simple majority.

Although Brown is pro-choice, abortion became a point of attack between the two candidates. Brown is a member of the Christian Reformed Church of America, The Boston Globe reported in a story in November.

The family worships at New England Chapel in Franklin, a member of the Christian Reformed Church of America, a Protestant denomination, but has developed a special relationship with an order of Cistercian Catholic nuns at Mt. St. Mary’s Abbey in Wrentham.

Many of the 48 nuns are from other countries, and Brown’s first contact was in response to their request for help on an immigration matter.

“It has turned into a beautiful friendship,’’ said Sister Katie McNamara, the monastery’s nurse.

Brown raised money to buy a special golf cart to transport elderly sisters, and, with his wife, has assisted efforts to raise $5.5 million needed to replace the order’s 50-year-old candy factory with an environmentally friendly plant, complete with solar panels and a wind turbine. The order is self-sustaining through sale of its candies and fudges.


Funny, I thought the seat belonged to the citizens of Massachusetts.

Yes, there is a God! And the first democrat to speak after Coakley was John Kerry. How metaphorical: he slowly walked up the steps to the stage limping and with crutches. Hopefully it is prophetic, too!

Ditto what Jerry said, it's the people's seat. While this is a victory for the GOP, it's more a victory for Brown personally and Independents generally who want to balance out the system.
Listen carefully to Brown's campaign and victory speech: he never once says "Republican," but says "Independent" an awful lot. Considering only 12% of Massachusetts residents are registered Republicans, the vast majority of his votes cames from Independents and even some Democrats.
So Republicans, beware: this is not a victory for Republicans so much as a victory of Independents against one-party Democrat rule. Just like Gingrich won in 1994 by blatantly appealing to Ross Perot Independent voters, so the GOP (and Dems) would do well to act a little less red and a little more purple this year. even if the policies don't change all that much, the rhetoric should.

I heard the other day that 51% of Mass. voters are independent. GOP = 12% The rest are democrats of all stripes. This is truly a win for the independent voter.

Newt Gingrich and the Republican Party won in 1994 by articulating a traditional Conservative message that had nothing to do with Ross Perot's own message. This election highlights the opportunity the Republicans have to replicate that win by adopting the same sort of message which Brown ran on in Massachusettes.

"Glad to see the Christian Right sticking to its principles, which for them apparently means compromise is permissble to PREVENT millions of families from having access to affordable health care, but a compromise of even an angstrom in order ALLOW millions of families access to affordable health care is a grave moral evil."

Those danged right wingers! (Curses!) When will they just quit insisting on having a say in our government? Oooo, they just make me sooo mad!

Oh wait.

The dems had a supermajority in the Senate and a sizable majority in the house for months and still could not pass the health care reform bill.

Why didn't the dems pass health care reform when they had a chance?
They sure didn't need the repubs.

And with BOH as our leader...well, it should have been a cakewalk.

But noooooooo! Scott Brown had to stick his snooty repub. nose in the health care soup and spoil everything. (I think I mixed a metaphor in there somewhere.)

And I notice there is no outpouring of public rage, either, over the health care reform bill not being passed.

Sigh. I guess the great unwashed got it wrong again. They obviously need closer supervision and re-education. I wonder if China has any re-education camps they are not using at the moment?

Note to self: Call Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi on Monday and ask them if they could give Hu Jintao (president of China) a call ASAP and check on any available re-education camps. We're going to need a lot, though. And while I'm at it, I think I will send a gift subscription of The Daily Kos to every repub. (better make that to the dems to, cus I think some of them are straying off the farm, if you know what I mean.)

John, re your comment that: "Newt Gingrich and the Republican Party won in 1994 by articulating a traditional Conservative message that had nothing to do with Ross Perot's own message."

I didn't make this up; I got it from top-notch political scientists' research on Perot voters. Gingrich joined Perot's United We Stand America advocacy group before '94; the proportion of '92 Perot voters in a given district directly correlated with the probability of a Republican unseating a Democrat in '94; anti-government sentiment raised by Perot helped the GOP in '94; etc., etc.

I agree with your point that Republicans can win by duplicating Brown's tactic. However, the decisive factor in Brown's election, as in the Contract, was not just rehashing old Republican ideas, but re-branding to appeal to independents (e.g., using populism). The evidence for this in both cases is overwhelming.

In any case, I doubt the Tea Party voters will be so enthusiastic in November if the GOP's favorites win the primaries.

Brenden, I would like to see a link to that study, especially where it states that NG joined Perot's "United We Stand." I simply am incredulous about that claim. Perot's economic policies were a form of leftist protectionism that would have placed tarrifs on imports. He opposed NAFTA, stating that it would sent American jobs down to Mexico. His famous phrase describing jobs moving South was "that giant sucking sound." NG's economics was the exact opposite of Perot's; he wouldn't be caught dead advocating Perotonomics. As for moral issues, Perot was in lockstep with the Democratic party, agreeing with them on abortion and publically insulting Conservative Christians involved in the process. I have been a political junkie all my life and have a very long memory.If Perot voters were the ones who voted in the Republicans in 1994, then Perot would have been elected in 1992. Brown did not mention the Republican party because he is in a state where that party is in the minority. The Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell of KY, does the same when he runs for reelection. Perot's message was not a smaller role for the Federal government (the Conservative message Brown ran on) but "Let me look under the hood and see what needs fixing."

NG paying $15 to join United We Stand does not negate my point that the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress was made possible by running on principle exactly the opposite of Perot's. The Republicans were for lower tax rates while Perot wanted them increased; the Republicans were for Nafta while Perot was not; Perot was a very strong advocate for liberal abortion laws.

CL, Thanks for the link concerning Gingrich and Perot correcting my inaccuracy from an earlier comment. Having read the link about the Republicans, it was a very balanced article. The article in its entirety gives the GOP reasons to hope as well as to be concerned. As it points out, the GOP has had a very difficult time getting its message out, which I would point out, happens to be along the lines of what Brown campaigned on in MA. However Brown acts in the future does not change that. That is the message that wins elections. As for Brown's past, those who voted for him simply saw him as the lesser of two evils. Were you ever incensed that voters in MA continued to vote for a man who posed as a champion of womans' rights yet let a woman drown?

If the woman could have been rescued? It was determined that she had lived six hours in an air pocket.
How exactly did he atone for this? He used his influence to keep himself out of jail. He retained his Senate seat which he in a panic feared he would lose if he didn't attempt to cover up the whole affair, which caused him to fail to seek help for a rescue. When he thought the voters did not care about the incident, he ran for President. He also enjoyed telling Kennedy/Chappaquitic(spelling?)jokes. He continued his heavy drinking which led to the woman's death until his drunkeness could no longer be hidden. And he continued his womanizing. That was some atonement!

"Suffice it to say we have a different definition of "atonement." Excuse me, but what is my definition of atonement? What is yours? Where do you get the notion that it is part of Evangelical Conservatives' credo that anyone who has sinned in the past is disqualified from serving in public office. "Party Boy George" gave up his alcohol and wild ways many years before he ran for President. I know little of Brown but "Cosmo Boy" posed in college. Kennedy had a continuing lifestyle that belied any atonement on his part. Evangelicals would have forgiven Newt G. for one divorce, but two was too much for them, as well as his totally abominable conduct in breaking off from his first wife. That is why there is little support for a NG Presidential run among Evangelicals. Your argument is based on stereotyping and nothing more.

Just read yesterday that Scott Brown would not object if his daughters posed nude. He said posing nude years ago helped him. Can't believe a dad would condone this. Who'd a thunk?!! (So, Mr. Brown, I retract my support. I know you are probably devastated. And I call for a recount!)

What does any of this have to do with "Christianity today?" Scott Brown never talked about his faith during what was essentially a two-week campaign (I know, because I searched all over the place to find out where he went to church, and NOTHING came up --despite the Globe article quoted here). All we know is that he and his wife liked to take their clothes off in front of cameras 20 years ago (that you can find very easily on a search), he sold people that he was an "independent" (despite his campaign being run by Romney's best people and we'll see if it's true when he votes) and his daughter made it to the finals of American Idol. Not sure why Christianity Today is covering this unless it's because they are excited by a stealth Rebuplican victory. I only wish they would cover all Democratic upsets the same way, and I hope there are no criticisms in the comments when the elected officals are not very publically and actively engaged in a church. So much hypocrisy around this site.

First, the official name of our denomination is the Christian Reformed Church in North America. (Sarah, try to get that right next time, please; you're confusing us with our cousins, the Reformed Church in America).

Second, it should be noted that if Scott Brown does in fact support abortion on demand, his views are in conflict with the stance of the church. And that of the nuns, too, for that matter.

Third, if the comment about his daughters posing nude is in fact accurate,that statement would also stand in stark contrast to the moral teachings of the Christian Reformed Church, and would be considered reprehensible by most of its members. And probably most nuns.

Fourth, the denominational office has not yet confirmed that the Senator is in fact a member of the church. New England Chapel appears to be a church plant of the Emergent variety, in which membership is often not stressed very strongly, and denominational connections are often downplayed to the extreme. The Boston Globe reports that he "worships" there; not that he's a member; and even that is in disupte. In one news story a member of the church claimed never to have seen Mr. Brown there.

So, as far as his church connections are concerned, the facts are still murky. As are the senator's political and religious views.

Dr. Raymond (Randy) Blacketer
Neerlandia Christian Reformed Church, Alberta Canada