But try as I might I cannot ignore the pessimist side, such as illuminated by the king of rightweb pessimism, Allahpundit:
Don’t underestimate the machine, my friends.Sage advice. Newspapers, TV hacks, and pundits will be reminding voters about the health care ramifications nonstop until the polls close. Some may be swayed. Some GOP voters might think it's a done deal and stay home. If Brown ends up losing after this big build-up the Dem machine will be spinning like Iranian centrifuges, weaving a dramatic tale about how "the people" pulled hopenhealthcarechange out of the fire and what it means as far as a national mandate, etc, etc.
This is wrong. It's NOT the people's seat dammit, it's Kennedy's seat! Mass Dems outnumber conservs 3-1. This is David versus Goliath, no matter what the polls say!
Or to use a football metaphor, Brown right now is like Doug Flutie dropping back to pass. We will all watch tomorrow, transfixed, as time expires and the ball hurls towards the end zone, waiting to see if a miracle happens. It could happen. But if it doesn't they will always talk about the year that little ole Boston College almost beat the mighty New England Patriots, and what that says about the Patriots. Ah yes, much better.
As we await the exciting results it's prudent to keep in mind how we got here:
When Ted Kennedy died on August 25, 2009, Massachusetts law required the state to hold a special election to fill the opening he left in the US Senate. That law was put in place by the state legislature in 2004 when John Kerry ran for President, and it was championed by Ted Kennedy himself. Why? The governor at the time, Mitt Romney, was a Republican — and Kennedy didn’t want Romney appointing an interim replacement that wasn’t a Democrat.The Cap'n seems to have it nailed. Had they left the seat vacant over the holidays and not pushed a bill today's vote might have been seen as no big deal. Mass already has public health care and Coakley was up 20 points at the get-go. But after all the wheeling-dealing, the thousands of unread pages in the bill, and Obama's failure to put the debate on C-Span the current vote is more a referendum on broken promises and politics as usual, which was supposed to be change. That's why Obama whined about how slow and frustrating the pace of change has been during his speech supporting Marcia.
Fast forward five years, to when Kennedy was days away from death. The Kennedy family released a letter written by the Senator demanding that the law he pushed in 2004 get repealed in 2009 in order to allow Governor Deval Patrick to appoint his successor. Why? Patrick is a Democrat and a reliable liberal who would select someone in Kennedy’s mold. The state legislature responded by acceding to Kennedy’s dying wish and Patrick appointed Paul Kirk to fill Kennedy’s seat temporarily, until the special election could be held.
Meanwhile another Mass pol, Barney Frank, is out lamenting the unfair filibuster rules in the Senate, providing a perfect example of how some Democrats view societal rules in general--as mere hindrances to outcome. Well, their desired outcome. Playing fast and loose with the rules explains why conservatives are upset with this bunch, such as the Louisiana Purchase and other deals along with liberal views on illegal immigration, but it's likely also a part of the reason why so many independents are upset about today's political situation. We'll soon see how many expressed themselves at the polls today.