While I agree with the points made by my esteemed collegue from the west-north-west wing of the Castle, I do have a clarifying point to make to his conclusion. Specifically: conservatives should take the Brown win cautiously.
First, there was the Coakley vs. Brown campaigns. If we look at it from a proposal perspective, Coakley started with a relaxed approach with a dose of “incumbentitis”. That is, in this case, the people like democrats in the Bay State, they will just vote for the next democrat in line to represent them. In turn, her campaign had no clear win themes and no consistent, clear message that was communicated well. As the Czar points out earlier, Brown did. The memorable phrase, “It’s the people’s seat” was his core message that was well delivered with supporting themes and messages. He stuck to those messages (hoisting conservative principles and sticking to them throughout the campaign) and he won. So, yes, all of these points are accurate as well and the GOP should be mindful of them for the elections this fall.
Second, there is a pendulum swing in politics. The difference here is that it seems to be swinging back to the right more quickly than we’ve seen in the past. Possibly due to the aggressiveness of the current administration in partnership with the current democrat-led Congress in pushing liberal programs. Possibly due to this administration (and the Congress as well) failing to deliver and, in some cases, breaking campaign promises (no new taxes on 95% of working families, transparency, every bill reviewable by the public for some amount of time, “most open, honest, ethical congress ever”). But this pendulum might be swinging more quickly in part due to the rapid attention and disseminiation of information that can take place now with the internet, blogs, iPhones, etcetera. So the conservatives need to be mindful that this pendulum swing could reverse itself easily.
Third and last, politicians as a whole and liberal ones in particular in my opinion are chameleons. They will change their message and stance on policies and events quickly. We’re starting to see it already. The question for the conservatives in the fall really goes back to my first point: what’s your message? That message should include clearly defined and easily understood points about what their democrat opponents have done, have said and specifically have voted for. The democrats cannot run away from how the Stimulus and Healthcare legislation were ramroded through the legislative process. The democrats cannot runaway from the fact that Recovery.gov continues to report erroneous numbers after the administration has admitted twice to factual errors in the data. And much like the democrats tied their republican opponents to Bush in 2006 and made it a race against Bush, republicans can tie – read this carefully – their democrat opponents to Obama’s agenda, legislation and policies which are polling in an unfavorable trend.
Conservatives cannot, however, sit on their laurels with this Brown win. While I do believe that between the incompetence and arrogance of the democrat leadership on the Hill will probably give the conservatives a few more rounds of ammunition for the fall, the conservatives need to be demonstrating through action true leadership as best they can in a minority party role. Propose options, put forth amendments, fight poor legislation and let the people know what is happening and what your facing.