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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The lowdown on Brown

Those who view Scott Brown’s victory in this week’s special election for a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts as a sign of Republican resurgence haven’t been paying much attention to recent history.

Brown’s upset win over Democrat Martha Coakley in the race for the late Ted Kennedy’s former seat wasn’t a repudiation of Democrats. Rather, it was a repudiation of the current majority party in Washington — which, admittedly, happens to be the Democrats.

For the last four years, the people of this country have gone to the polls with a “throw the bums out” mentality. In November 2006, voters handed both houses of Congress to the Democrats after years of Republican rule. In November 2008, they replaced a Republican president with a Democrat. In November 2009, they elected Republicans to the governorships of New Jersey and Virginia, which had been held by Democrats; and elected a Democrat in New York’s 23rd Congressional District, which had been represented by Republicans for 150 years. And now, in January 2010, the Massachusetts Senate seat that Democrat Kennedy occupied for more than 40 years has been handed to Republican Brown.

And I have no doubt the trend will continue. Clearly possible are a Republican takeover of Congress in this fall’s so-called “midterm” elections, a Republican beating President Barack Obama in 2012, Democrats regaining control of Congress in the 2014 midterms, a Democrat winning back the White House in 2016, and so on.

We’ve reached a juncture in American history where voters elect members of one party or the other with high hopes of change, become disappointed when that change doesn’t materialize, and then elect members of the other party out of anger.

I’ve seen it happen far too many times in recent years to believe that Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts was the result of anything else.



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