The best thing that could happen to President Obama tonight would be for Scott Brown to win the Massachusetts Senate seat. This may sound crazy, but hear me out. Americans had no idea when they elected Barack Obama that he would turn out to be not a leader but a shill for Nancy Pelosi’s and Harry Reid’s left-wing agenda. The president has let Pelosi-Reid dictate the terms of the economic stimulus package and health-care reform, and Americans aren’t happy with either. If Democrats lose their super-majority in the Senate, it will, at the very least, slow down the Pelosi-Reid legislative juggernaut and put Obama in a position to become more of the centrist many voters hoped he’d be when they cast their votes in ‘08.
It’s the model Bill Clinton adopted after the ’94 Republican rout. Health-care reform was almost Clinton’s undoing, as it is Obama’s now, but Obama and his advisers learned the wrong lesson from the failure of HillaryCare. It wasn’t the first lady’s (read White House’s) role that provoked the backlash from voters, but the government’s takeover of health care. Keeping Obama’s fingerprints off the bill isn’t enough to protect him from voters’ ire. Clinton had the right idea: abandon the Left. After the failure of health-care reform, Clinton made welfare reform and free trade his signature issues, with Republican help. If Obama loses that 60th vote in the Senate, he, too, will have to figure out an agenda that has more popular support — and that could redound to his benefit in 2012. A Republican victory tonight, along with big gains for the GOP in November, could end up saving Obama from himself.