Now, imagine we could have a Massachusetts-like victory in the race for U.S. Senate right here in Illinois. Got that thought? Feels good, don't it?
Now imagine that neither victory is reality. Imagine we're on our way to socialized medicine just like Obama, Pelosi and Reid wanted with a GOP loss in Massachusetts. Imagine we are swearing in Senator Alexi Giannoulias next January as the new Senator from Illinois.
It's not a pleasant set of thoughts, especially now that we've had a nice taste of victory.
But while the Brown victory has stopped the march of ObamaCare for now, the war is far from won. We need every Senate seat we can get, and that's where Illinois comes in. We have a great opportunity to elect someone who can appeal to independents and maybe even some Dems, just like Scott Brown did. His name is Congressman Mark Kirk, and he is simply the only one of the many GOP candidates who has a chance (dare I say, I great chance) to pull off a Republican win in a Democratic state, just like Brown did in Massachusetts.
However, some conservative members of the Republican party don't seem to get it. Somehow, they got the idea that the Brown victory in Massachusetts was a "conservative" victory and the harbinger of a right-wing wave that will overwhelm the country. (As the old saying goes, success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan).
I got involved in a chat on Facebook tonight with a fellow who is a self-proclaimed "ultra-conservative" who admitted that, even as conservatives seem to want to claim Brown's victory as their own, he would have voted against Brown in a primary if he had a more conservative challenger. This is in spite of what would appear to be a clear case that if a conservative candidate that could not appeal to independent voters in Massachusetts (which made up about half the electorate) was nominated, we'd be on our way to socialized medicine, because that conservative would have gotten creamed in the election.
Sadly, that revelation did not seem to make a difference to Mr. Ultra-Conservative. And he probably won't learn that lesson in time to have him make the right decision in the Illinois Senate race.
I suspect this won't be the last time I say this, but the Brown victory was a victory of moderate, common-sense, fiscal policy and a rejection of the socialization of healthcare as foisted on the American people, as Obama tried to do. It was not a right-wing affirmation. I suspect that, based on Scott Brown's speeches over the past 24 hours, he would be somewhat amused by the large number of conservatives who are trying to hijack his victory as a clarion call to flock to the conservative banner. Brown credited the 'independent majority' for his victory, and told supporters that he was not beholden to his party, and that he was going to Washington to be a new kind of Republican, a "Scott Brown" Republican.
How long will it be before conservative candidates like Pat Hughes decide that they ought to stop trying to adopt Scott Brown for risk of alienating their own conservative supporters, as Brown will likely continue to assert his independence as he goes forward to be seated in the Senate.
Folks, there's nothing wrong with supporting conservative candidates in my book, but you have to consider the electorate. Mark Kirk is the most conservative candidate that can get elected to the U.S. Senate in Illinois. And he's the most electable candidate from the standpoint of fundraising ability, name ID, etc. Kirk is the only Republican who can attract the independent voters that we need to win this race in November.
The key to winning the November election for both sides will be to win the independents -- for the GOP, to win back the independents who flocked to Obama. It's not a race to win over the hard right. Let's hope the GOP primary voters are smart enough to realize this and make the right choice, for Mark Kirk.