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The uniter: Scott Brown’s center-right-indie coalition

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By Michelle Malkin  •  January 18, 2010 06:13 AM


(Photo via R.S. McCain)


(Photo via Voting Female)


(Photo of Northeastern University rally sent in from reader Scott T.)

On Sunday night, Public Policy Polling (swing state specialists) released the latest stunning numbers in the Massachusetts Senate race. Martha Antoinette Coakley is hemorrhaging independents and the enthusiasm gap is widening as the Bay State heads into the January 19 special election.

Reports PPP:

Over the last week Brown has continued his dominance with independents and increased his ability to win over Obama voters as Coakley’s favorability numbers have declined into negative territory….

-Brown is up 64-32 with independents and is winning 20% of the vote from people who supported Barack Obama in 2008 while Coakley is getting just 4% of the McCain vote.

-Brown’s voters continue to be much more enthusiastic than Coakley’s. 80% of his say they’re ‘very excited’ about voting Tuesday while only 60% of hers express that sentiment. But the likely electorate now reports having voted for Barack Obama by 19 points, up from 16 a week ago, and a much smaller drop from his 26 point victory in the state than was seen in Virginia.

-Those planning to turn out continue to be skeptical of the Democratic health care plan, saying they oppose it by a 48/40 margin.

-Coakley’s favorability dropped from 50% to 44% after a week filled with perceived missteps. Brown’s negatives went up a lot but his positives only actually went from 57% to 56%, an indication that attacks against him may have been most effective with voters already planning to support Coakley but ambivalent toward Brown.

-56% of voters in the state think Brown has made a strong case for why he should be elected while just 41% say the same of Coakley. Even among Coakley’s supporters only 73% think she’s made the argument for herself, while 94% of Brown’s supporters think he has.

Those “missteps” aren’t merely “perceived.” They’re quite real, piling up, and epitomize the entitled, elitist mindset of Coakley and her party. As Boston Red Sox great Curt Schilling put it at a rally Sunday after endorsing Brown, Coakley’s clueless jab at him is “another sign of her aloofness, and just the fact that she’s very out of touch, I think, with the people.”

The Left’s tired, old “Blame Bush” bromides aren’t cutting it. Who’s Martha Coakley kidding? Her supporters accuse Brown — an Army National Guardsman from a middle-class-upbringing who has campaigned across the state in his truck — of being a “Bush crony” candidate while Coakley parties with Washington lobbyists and the Kennedy clan (at least one of whom reportedly can’t even get her name right).

She’s the proven voice of fatcats and corruptocrats.

He’s uniting Tea Party activists, rank-and-file union members, GOP party faithful, and independents.

How did he unite this coalition?

Some moderate Beltway Republicans think Brown’s center-right-indie coalition vindicates and validates their agenda to turn the GOP into Democratic Party Lite.

I know. The coffee spurted up my nose, too.

Tea Party-basher David Frum, for example, is using the Brown surge to praise himself — and to take another of his endless smacks at “talk radio conservatives:”

The Scott Brown who may rescue the country from Obamacare is not a talk radio conservative.

Strong on defense and school choice, opposed to the Obama administration’s signature initiatives, Brown voted in favor of Mitt Romney’s health plan in Massachusetts. He describes himself as pro-choice (subject to reasonable limitations), accepts gay marriage in Massachusetts as a settled fact, and told the Boston Herald editorial board he would have voted to confirm Sonia Sotomayor. He calls himself “fiscally conservative and socially conscious.” He’s got an environmental record too: In the state senate he voted in favor of a regional initiative to curb greenhouse gas initiatives.

Most important: Unlike his arrogant, brittle opponent, Brown has shown himself an open and accessible candidate, optimistic and without rancor. In short – he’s running exactly the kind of campaign that we alleged RINOs have been urging on the GOP for months now.

It would be a travesty if Brown’s victory is seized upon as a victory for anger, paranoia, and ideological extremism.

Maggie Gallagher politely corrects Frum on Brown’s gay marriage stance:

I love David Frum. But his account of the Brown/Coakley race fails to note that Scott Brown was one of a small band of state legislators who voted to let the people decide marriage — through a state marriage amendment defining marriage as the union of husband and wife — and that Martha Coakley, as attorney general, championed the current lawsuit aimed at overturning DOMA.

Being a gay-marriage champion (as Corzine and, most lately, Dodd have found) apparently doesn’t help you win many elections, even in the the liberal Northeast.

As for disparaging “talk radio conservatives,” every major local, state, and national “talk radio conservative” has thrown his/her voice and audience behind Brown. And it is thanks to the power of talk radio, Tea Party grass-roots, and conservative online activism — not through RINO armchair campaign managers — that Brown has been able to raise money and get his message out.

As for Brown’s vote for that greenhouse gas initiative, he admits he was “sold a bill of goods” and unlike, say, Barack Obama, he is incorporating the ClimateGate scandal’s new discoveries about data suppression and manipulation into his thinking.

Brown opposes adopting a federal cap-and-trade boondoggle scheme that would amount to a massive new energy tax on Americans. He has repeatedly emphasized a bread-and-butter economic platform contrasting Coakley tax-and-spend liberalism with his opposition to imposing new tax burdens on working Americans during a recession.

In contrast, Frum has pushed for Republicans to abandon the traditional, mainstream low-tax/less-government message in favor of things like a national carbon tax.

As for Frum taking credit for the “kind of campaign” Brown is running, don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back.

Brown may not be the most conservative Republican who walks the Earth (a fact I’ve readily pointed out many times over the past few weeks), but he is promising loudly, clearly, and proudly to stop the bribe-stuffed Demcare legislation and to reject business-as-usual backroom deals.

In contrast, Frum crusaded for Republicans to go along and negotiate on Obama’s big-ticket initiatives and bemoaned the “furious rejectionist frenzy of the past 12 months.” He accused the GOP of losing its mind and pouted that Republicans looked “clueless” and “silly” for standing against the stimulus boondoggle and Obama’s generational theft. Who looks silly now?

Frum and others are pointing to this analysis claiming that Brown is “a more liberal Republican than Dede Scozzafava.” Nonsense. On the core do-or-die issues for mainstream Republicans, Brown is on the Right side. Scozzafava was on the radical Leftist side. He’ll vote against the Dems’ new stimulus schemes. She supported them. He’ll vote against the Dems’ cap-and-tax legislation. She would have voted for it. He’s opposed by the teachers’ union hacks. She raked in campaign cash from the National Education Association and an entire alphabet soup of Big Labor groups.

On social issues, they wrongheadedly lump Brown and Scozzafava together as pro-choice Republicans of the same mold. Scozzafava rubbed the issue in the faces of her constituents with Planned Parenthood/NARAL endorsements and her glowing acceptance of an award named after notorious eugenicist Margaret Sanger. Brown, on the other hand, has not made abortion a focal point of the campaign and the Tea Party activists whom so many critics accuse of “purism” have been fine with that.

Instead, Brown has run on the core Tea Party issues of fiscal responsibility, limited government, and a strong national defense, while appealing to a broader swath of voters by emphasizing integrity, independence, and willingness to stand up to machine politics. After a year’s worth of Obama’s phony fruits and congressional foxes guarding the henhouse, voters have had enough of the enablers and water-carriers. Unlike Frum, Brown is channeling the energies of taxpayers of all stripes who are disgusted and angry — yes, ANGRY! – with the culture of corruption in Washington. That is how Brown has struck common ground with his insurgent center-right-indie coalition: By stepping up to oppose the Dems’ plans to rig the game and undermine representative government, instead of sneering at angry taxpayers’ “ideological extremism”/”paranoia” and instead of trashing the talk radio networks through which those angry taxpayers communicate, commiserate, and organize.

Reality check: With his small-town, anti-elitist appeal, Brown’s campaign has much more in common with Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber populism than it does with David Frum and Beltway GOP Re-Branding defeatism. Yes, we can all get along — except for those Washington worrywarts too busy pissing on the very same right-wing “rancor” that is fueling 2010’s GOP comeback.

***

What we are uniting against:

According to ad-buy information provided to the Fix, there are 13 — yes, 13 — groups paying for ads in the race’s final days, with Democratic groups outspending Republican-aligned by more than $1 million.

Coakley’s ad advantage comes from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which is set to spend $1.4 million on ads in the final week of the race — a staggering sum given the overwhelming Democratic tilt of the Bay State, and yet another sign of how worried the party is. (The National Republican Senatorial Committee is not running ads in the state.)

The other major Democratic groups in the mix are labor-affiliated. The Service Employees International Union is up with $549,000 in ads, and Citizens for Strength and Security, which is funded by unions, is spending $425,000 on ads.

And this:

Even if Democrats lose the Jan. 19 special election to pick a new Massachusetts senator, Congress may still pass a health-care overhaul by using a process called reconciliation, a top House Democrat said.

That procedure requires 51 votes rather than the 60 needed to prevent Republicans from blocking votes on President Barack Obama’s top legislative priorities. That supermajority is at risk as the Massachusetts race has tightened.

“Even before Massachusetts and that race was on the radar screen, we prepared for the process of using reconciliation,” said Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“Getting health-care reform passed is important,” Van Hollen said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend. “Reconciliation is an option.”

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