1. Scott Brown has a compelling narrative. He is presidential material – he’s telegenic, smart, socially moderate, financially conservative. He’s strong on defense, and unlike many Republicans, he’s actually served. In some ways, he is like Obama – very himself, confident and clear. Furthermore, unlike many conservatives, doesn’t have the personal animosity towards Obama being fostered by plenty in the wingnut branch of the party. That suits him.
2. This MAY presage bad news for the Democrats. Yes, perhaps they were not responsible for the economic fiasco. But they were not able to provide a narrative about how we got here, in part because they, also, were complicit. They were still at the bank’s bidding. When the union party sells out the unions, a union man might just decide to vote Republican.
3. Obama has generally been reticent about playing the economic populist. He’s not an economic populist. He’s a centrist, a libertarian of the behavioralist school. In spite of the ridiculous assertions that he’s a closet Marxist, he actually believes that banks have a proper function in the economy. This means the Republicans, being the alternative party, are getting to play that role.
4. People don’t get Keynes. The stimulus may have prevented jobs from being lost, but people don’t quite understand that. They buy the easy (and possibly false) idea, that the deficit means something. People are aware that they are not getting much for their taxes. They don’t seem to understand that our taxes are helping our military, the Iraqis, the Afghanis, the Israelis, and the Pakistanis. Good causes, to be sure, but its expensive to help millions of people in the rest of the world, and our own military and not get a much else in return, especially when we can’t seem to police our own borders as well as we should (unionized, skilled TSA workers might help).
5. Scott Brown is more liberal than some southern Democrats. He’s unformed by focus groups, and may actually be an independent.
6. The national health care plan is basically Massachusetts but for the entire country.
7. Perhaps Obama will be forced to form a bipartisan committee with Republicans and challenge them when they oppose a minimum plan.
8. Obama should challenge those companies, including pharmaceutical companies, who oppose legitimate free-market principles. A national health exchange and allowing imports from Canada are popular, and legit to libertarians.
9. Obama mainly wants people to be kept on task. the task is to reform the system. He can still be an effective leader, but you start with the possible to get to the impossible.