Yesterday in Massachusetts the unthinkable happened; a Republican literally usurped the Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy. In a state considered to be about as blue (Democratic) as any other state in the Union (if not the bluest), an out-of-nowhere, unobtrusive, somewhat political novice state senator vanquished the Democratic favorite. At one point before Christmas, Martha Coakley, the Democratic Attorney General led her Republican foe Scott Brown by as much as twenty points. By the first week of January, the race became a dead-heat. Within the past two weeks, President Obama and the Democratic party fully behind Coakley, the race swung pro-Brown. And the rest now, is history.
So what happened? What is the take-away for Wisconsin politicians? The answer is simple: So endeth the Obama, liberal mandate, if one every really existed. One needs only to look at the issues that are squarely in the news each day and permeate the main street conversation. To summarize, people are concerned about jobs, health care, Washington spending, the economy, and to a far lesser extent, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. These concerns are real, palpable and not about to go away any time soon.
Senator Russ Feingold has been traversing the state for the past two weeks on his annual 'listening session' tour and I know he's heard the voices of concern. Maybe after yesterday he'll begin to listen or at least realize, those voices are warning him and every other politician in Wisconsin that remains pro-health care reform, pro Washington, and pro Obama that ignoring the constituent is the fastest route out of office. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is now out-and-about the state, meeting and supposedly, listening to potential voters about Wisconsin concerns. The Mayor, pushed and cajoled by the Obama administration and the President is running as the de facto Democratic nominee for governor. Hopefully, for his political sake, the Mayor is listening closely and studying carefully, the Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia results.
The road from Massachusetts to Wisconsin in this case is down-hill and thus, the momentum gained yesterday will assuredly increase as the election train moves into Wisconsin. For Wisconsin politicians, the message is to get off the present tracks laid by President Obama and the current leadership of the Democratic party for if not, the train that left Massachusetts yesterday will flatten your political careers.