The AP is projecting (via Fox TV) that Republican Scott Brown has won "The Kennedy Senate seat" in Massachusetts by a vote of 53% to 46% with 72% of precincts reporting and Democrat Coakley conceding. Though some people have called the election of a black President one of the profound milestone victories in American history, the idea of a Republican winning the Kennedy seat is a milestone of truly unfathomable magnitude. If someone wakes up from a 20 year coma tomorrow and you tell them we have a black President, you're likely to get little more than a shrug - but tell him that a Republican holds the Kennedy seat and you're likely to get laughed at! Consider some numbers: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-01-18-senate-massachusetts-brown-coakley_N.htm http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-01-17-coakley-obama-massachusetts-senate_N.htm -Mass has a votor registration of 37.1% Dem, 11.4% Rep and 51.2% Independents. -Obama won the popular vote in Mass by 62% to 36%, compared with 53% to 46% nationally. It was somewhere around 4th biggest state margin (tied with several others). -All of Mass's senators and representatives and the governor are Democrats. -The last time the state elected a Republican senator was 1972 and The Kennedy Seat has been in the family since 1953. -The state legislature is 85% Democrat, 15% Republican. -Coakley (the Democratic candidate and state attorney general) won a decisive victory in the primary - Brown has never run a state level race. The national implications of this state senate election are clear. National healthcare was Kennedy's baby and Mass votors knew the filibuster proof majority of the Dems was at stake. Brown campaigned on being That Guy who would break the supermajority. In other words, Brown made sure this election was a referrendum on Obama and the Dems' overall national policies. In my opinion, this tells us clearly that Obama's and the Democrats' vision for the country has already been flatly rejected. With the trajectory the economy was on in October of 2008, a massive victory by the Dems, including a victory by Obama was a near certainty. Today, one of Obama's centerpiece platform issues has a high risk of failing to be passed altogether (it isn't over yet, but I'll get to that...) and barring a huge drop in unemployment, a sweeping victory for Republicans in the mid-term elections appears likely - they may even gain a majority in the Senate, forcing bipartisanship if anything is to get passed. Obama's approval rating according to USA Today is now 50% positive to 45% negative, the worst of any President after one year with the exception of Reagan since WWII. ( http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-01-18-obama-types_N.htm ). How did we get here, after his inauguration day approval rating of 67% to 14%? Obamamania wore off: The country is now his. The wars are his, the economy is his, the health care situation is his. When the determination on the recession is made, it is likely to be judged to have ended in Q4 of 2009, but just like Bush with Clinton's recession, Obama is likely to have to deal with an extended "jobless recovery" from Bush's recession. That hurt Bush and the Republicans a lot and it is going to hurt Obama and the Dems a lot. It is much too early to project where we'll be politically in 3 years and I still believe that the economy is likely to recover enough for Obama to use it as a centerpiece of his campaign. But for this year, with unemployment likely to still be above 9%, a strong Republican comeback is very likely. And interestingly, CNN is covering the Hati quake right now while Fox is interviewing a focus group to discuss why they voted how they did. In any case, the votors for Brown mostly confirmed what I said above - that it is a national issue referrendum (and I'm sure we'll get exit poll stats on that). "Hope" is easy to generate when all you have to be is Not Bush and a good speach maker, but now that he's in office, his policies matter. During the campaign, people either believed his deceptions about how liberal he was or just plain didn't care as long as he was Not Bush. It's probably a little of both, but with the country now his, being Not Bush isn't enough to sustain him and the people are waking up to see just how liberal he is and just how much they don't want liberals running the country. I have Hope today because this affirms my belief that the US is a center-right country at heart. It really does want small government and personal freedom. And more importantly, without the filibuster proof majority, I'm hopeful that the damage of a long-term rule of democrats and democratic policies will be mitigated.