Attorney Scott Brown said in his victory speech:
"Our tax dollars should go to weapons to defeat [terrorists] not lawyers to defend them."
"Raising taxes and giving new rights to terrorists is the wrong agenda for our country."
And his crowd is chanting "yes we can."
Scott Brown is trying to make believe he's a change agent, but really he's just another teabagger, as you can see. The Democratic firing squad is under way on the left, and what we're hearing is that it's either Coakley's fault or President Obama's fault or both for the clusterf&!k that led to Brown's victory, but pundits and readers are overlooking the role conservatives and their media infrastructure played in the process. To me, that's something that can't be ignored. I mean, Scott Brown did have help.
Dave Weigel followed the teabaggers in MA and explains that the right has something the left just doesn't have: An incredible media machine that is able to transmit their message faster and more powerfully than anything the Democrats have. Brown was able to turn to a bunch of conservative media outlets immediately, and ultimately that got his campaign off and running.
Brown’s short campaign–he announced for the seat on September 12, 2009, the very day that many Tea Party activists participated in a “taxpayer march on Washington”–masterfully wove together traditional campaign strategy and outreach to old and new conservative media. The arc of his victory demonstrated just how the modern conservative movement can boost a campaign without generating a backlash from voters. His online campaign strategist, Rob Willington, explained to TWI that Brown focused early on outreach to conservative media and built on that with technology that let local and out-of-state activists grab a piece of the campaign.
“I concentrated on specific conservative opinion leaders here in Massachusetts for the first part of the campaign,” said Willington. “Right around Christmas, I started targeting some national political leaders, using certain hashtags, and using video.”
In late December, not far under the radar, the Brown campaign was sold to influential and far-flung activists as a winnable race–a chance to stop complaining and actually break the back of the Obama administration. In a December 30 blog post titled “Fight Everywhere: Scott Brown for Massachusetts,” GOP strategist Patrick Ruffini–who launched RebuildtheParty.com with Willington after the 2008 elections, and who provided some software support for Brown, made what was, at the time, a dreamy-sounding argument that Brown could win. “Any chance we have to take out the Obamacare abomination,” he wrote, “however remote, is a fight worth fighting.”
Organizers for both the Brown and Coakley campaigns now know that the race was fairly close by the time that this outreach occurred. In mid-December the National Republican Senatorial conducted, and kept secret, a poll that showed Brown down by only 13 points. As the candidate out-hustled Coakley, he was made available to conservative opinion-leaders. “He did a wonderful job of going from conservative talk show to conservative talk show, getting his name out there,” said former state treasurer Joe Malone, a Republican, in an interview with local TV station WECN.
There was universal agreement among Brown supporters that the game-changing moment came from a source that Democrats mistrust almost as much as talk radio–pollster Scott Rasmussen. His January 5 poll showing Brown within 9 points of Coakley was immediately derided by Democrats. It didn’t matter.
“In terms of everyone becoming aware of it,” said Todd Feinburg, “that was the moment it broke through.”
From that point, Brown became a cause for the Tea Party movement and the people who’d backed Doug Hoffman. Where Coakley had been able to avoid national scrutiny, conservative blogs and media turned her stumbles into major stories. After the candidates debated on January 11, conservative medias promoted two storylines–that Coakley had erred in declaring that there were “no terrorists” in Afghanistan, and that Brown had a “Reagan moment” when he referred to the open Senate job as “the People’s seat.” It was a line he’d used in interviews before, to little attention. On video, it got a prominent link from the Drudge Report.
The heat poured on after that. On January 13 Coakley flew to Washington to raise money at a long-scheduled event with the Massachusetts delegation. Weekly Standard reporter John McCormack, who had shaken up the momentum of the NY-23 special election after Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava’s husband called the cops on him, chased Coakley to ask an Afghanistan question and was pushed aside by an aide. McCormack tumbled; the photo of him sprawling on the ground as Coakley, hands in pockets, looked on, made it into the Boston Herald.
Every negative Coakley storyline was amplified and made infamous by the same means. On January 14, the Wall Street Journal–owned, like The Weekly Standard and Fox News, by Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp–ran an op-ed on Coakley’s record as attorney general, putting the spotlight on a gruesome case of sexual abuse involving a curling iron. The story, aired out earlier by the Boston Globe but not yet known to activists, became infamous, as did Coakley’s verbal stumbles. At Brown rallies attended by TWI, there was universal awareness of Coakley’s gaffes and the curling iron case.
This is part of the story and should not be missed.
Digby has a great post that sums it up nicely. The teabaggers are creating their own "Obama," in Brown, a man who will bring change. Not that he has any specifics, but the hero worship is real.
The Democrats are all running around this morning looking panicked and freaked out which doesn't give anyone confidence. Everyone seems to forget that a year ago, Obama only had 58 votes in the Senate and everyone was in a state of near hysteria over his massive institutional power and soaring mandate. Now he has 59 and he's suddenly impotent. But this reaction was sadly predictable. And the message from the media and their centrist muses is also predictable --- move right immediately. SOS.
So it's hard to see today exactly where this is going, particularly on health care which many people are saying should be passed piecemeal --- "just the popular parts." I'll be looking forward to a bill which says that health insurance must cover everyone and can't cancel anyone but which has no cost controls. Somehow I don't think that's going to be popular for long. So, that's very much in flux as well.
Anyway, there are obviously many factors here, and frankly, because there were no exit polls done, we will probably never know exactly what combination of factors drove this race in Massachusetts. My personal opinion is that Scott Brown ran a vague campaign based upon personal charisma in the Barack Obama mode and became this year's vessel for protest against the status quo. The tea partiers are claiming him, as is the GOP establishment. And the media has declared him a maverick independent. Nobody knows who he *really* is, but in this era it seems that everybody's just looking for a young, handsome hero with a beautiful family to step in and save the day. (In fact, I think this particular paradigm was set by the special election of Arnold Schwarzenneger in California in 2003. As usual, as California goes ... oh lord.)
All the happy supporters at Scott Brown's victory party last night were shouting "yes we can."
It's fairly clear that this inchoate desire for "change" going forward is not going to benefit liberals much, and it's not just because they are erroneously perceived to be in charge in Washington. And that's because I think people are very much underestimating the conservative propaganda arm, and its creation, the teabaggers.
Chris Cillizza missed this point in his post about the winners and losers column. Not a mention about the right-wing noise machine -- which, to me, was the real game changer.