Scott Brown’s victory provides clear lessons for both Democratic Party and Republican Party operatives. The question: whether these operatives will read the tea leaves correctly or incorrectly and, therefore, what measures they will take walking away from the situation.
Briefly, for the Republican Party, the message is clear: essentially every single seat is up for grabs in this fall’s elections if (a) they have a photogenic candidate, (b) maintain message discipline with truthiness-laden attacks on all policies, (c) avoid mentioning “Bush” (and invoke “Reagan”), and (d) if the Democratic Party “establishment” fails to heed the lessons of Massachusetts.
Now, as in New Jersey and Virginia, much of the Democratic Party knashing of teeth will resolve around Martha Coakley’s failures as a candidate (from failure to take the election seriously to, in the debate, stating that this was “Ted Kennedy’s seat to …). There is (substantial) truth to these complaints, but this was not the core of what went on in Massachusetts (although, a more robust / stronger campaign and a Brown surge wouldn’t have seriously threatened Coakley).
From this election, many will propagate a message that “Obama is too left” and that “voters think he’s trying to do too much”. This, however, simply flies in the face of both polling and on-the-ground reality.