By virtue of the fact that State Sen. and military JAG Scott Brown had Attorney General Martha Coakley on defense all night, on Obama's core issues, Republicans have already won the debate in Massachusetts and are poised to stay up late when the votes are counted Jan. 19th, when voters cast ballots in the special election to fill the late Senator Ted Kennedy's seat.
Mind you, this race is not about Ted Kennedy, and there is no way he is resting in peace.
This is about how in one year, the day before Obama's first inaugural anniversary, Democrats have gone from Superpower status to beating back anything moderate or Republican in philosophy.
Even when Coakley had a chance to talk about the case to pull troops out of the Middle East, a position she goes abruptly against the President on, she bungled it.
No more troops to Afghanistan is a popular idea in Massachusetts. So how did she fail to deliver that message?
Coakley spent more time commending her opponent's military and judicial experience than explaining what an exit strategy would look like.
Make no mistake about it, this Special Election is about, as Scott Brown put it, whether voters want to give Democrat Martha Coakley the 60th vote in the Senate. He wants to be the 41st vote for "the people. For you."
At a time when jobs are scarce, terror is back at orange, and heating oil is expensive, not to mention the rent, guess what: after one year, Coakley and the Democrats can give up talking about Bush-Cheney-McCain. They need to develop and focus on a clear consistent message that comes from the leadership and transparency voters mandated a year ago. Change can mean anything. But voters did not mean more of the same.
It happens to be a lousy week for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to be under attack for word choices and imperfect vote counting. It could just lead to a filibuster hungry GOP. And not because they picked up a message. Just because they stepped back to watch Democrats try to find their way in a time that is perhaps the most challenging to govern in eighty years.