Scott Brown’s election victory last Tuesday night was that very rarest of occurrences—the triumph of substance over style.
Unlike most political contests where the attention-challenged electorate makes their decisions based on amorphous soundbites and half-truths delivered in slickly-produced television spots, Scott Brown took the real issues head-on—National Healthcare, taxes, National Security—and confidently staked out well-articulated, unambiguous, unequivocal stances on all of them. People were free to agree or disagree with his positions, but no one could accuse Brown of trying to play both sides of the fence and be all things to all people.

How refreshing. A political candidate with the courage of his convictions. None of that “I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it” stuff. And people instinctively responded.

It’s interesting—the 2006 mid-term elections turned mostly on that artificial “culture of corruption” blather whipped up by Pelosi and the LEM (Liberal Elite Media) in the aftermath of FL Rep Mark Foley’s dalliances with an underage page. Here was no actual “there” there. The Dems just decided that they’d had enough of being in the minority and they fabricated a storyline to achieve their goals. No one can even remember or recount the Dems’ overriding message to the American people as to why they should have been elected, because none was given. There was no 2006 equivalent to 1994’s “Contract with America,” nothing of substance for the electorate to hang their hat on. And no, the economy wasn’t an issue yet—it was doing fine at that time.

In 2008, people responded in a major fashion to Obama’s personal style and oratory skill, his cool, suave demeanor, his being the ‘anti-Bush’ and the non- “short, ugly, old” McCain. Instead Obama was the One who would speak in mellifluous tones to the world and make us “proud.” That he was short on specifics, that his few policy proposals were anti-capitalist, socialist, and based on the principle of wealth-redistribution mattered little to his supporters, who by then were hungry—no desperate— for his style and had had enough of President Bush’s cowboy approach and lack of personal “refinement.”

But here we are in early 2010 and much of the bloom is off Obama’s rose, so to speak. Difficult international situations and a troublesome, complex domestic economy have proved vexing indeed, even for so smooth an orator as our President.

It is in this atmosphere—the awakening to reality by a star-struck electorate—that makes Scott Brown’s victory in bluer-than-blue Massachusetts so intriguing. He strikes people as authentic, as a politician who takes common-sense positions, who understands what can and can’t—and most importantly, what should—be done. Being a Massachusetts resident, it was really quite stunning for me to witness first-hand the utter seriousness with which the voters received Brown’s message. It’s as if they knew that this election was different, that the stakes were very important this time, that it shouldn’t be just an automatic replacement of Ted Kennedy’s seat. There was one line in his victory speech that seemed to sum up what kind of politician he is, and how he seems to have that intangible sense of being in tune with the guy on the street, the average “Joe”:

“In dealing with terrorists, our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them, not lawyers to defend them.”

No doubt, he will be pulled in many directions once he’s down in DC, and the expectation that he’ll have a major immediate impact on every issue is misplaced. But there is no question that his victory in Massachusetts over the clueless, self-delusional Martha Coakley could well presage a new political reality, one that marks the end of blind voter loyalty to arbitrary party positions.