We live in a center-right country, politically. It starts with the center, so when the voters perceived that the Bush administration and congressional Republicans went off too far to the right, they voted in the Democrats in 2006 and 2008.
The Democrats, being Democrats, took their election victories as an endorsement of their left-wing, liberal agenda. Of course, they were wrong on that score, and the political seesaw started moving in the other direction.
Today’s vote in Massachusetts is further evidence of that trend. It started in New York-23, where conservatives rejected the accommodationist agenda of a liberal Republican candidate. While Republicans lost that seat, it energized the right in ways that propelled the governors’ races in New Jersey and Virginia.
Scott Brown is hitting the wave at just the right moment. He has run an outsider campaign, and he has united Republicans, independent voters and Reagan Democrats. He has inspired the postal worker from “Cheers,” the former star quarterback from Boston College and the hero of the Red Sox’ recent World Series teams.
Martha Coakley has run an incumbent, insider campaign. She promises to vote just like Ted Kennedy, to support the president’s big-government agenda and to be the 60th vote for a healthcare bill that most of her constituents don’t really want, according to polls.
Is the vote today a vote against President Obama? Partially. But it is mostly a vote to restore balance to a political system that needs balance. The seesaw is now trending in the GOP’s direction, and that should carry through until next November.