Republican Senate victory a blow for Obama

Republican Scott Brown won a bitter US Senate race in Massachusetts on Tuesday, a victory that analysts called a heavy blow to President Barack Obama's legislative agenda, especially healthcare reform.

Brown defeated Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley, robbing Obama's party of the crucial 60th Senate vote it needs to overcome Republican procedural hurdles and sent shudders of fear through Democrats facing tough races in November's congressional elections.

Jeffrey Berry, Professor of Political Science, Tufts University described the result as “catastrophic for the president”.

"This is catastrophic for the president. The next year is going to be one of gridlock in Congress ... There is nothing in bipartisanship for Republicans but virtue. They profit if Obama fails," he said.

"What Massachusetts is reflecting is that there are a lot of people out there, nationwide, that are hurting. The electorate is frustrated, and they want something different."

David Schaefer, Professor of Political Science at Holy Cross College said the vote was a referendum on the Congress.

"It's a referendum on the Democratic-controlled Congress and specifically disdain with the healthcare reform plan ... The Tea Party movement was unexpectedly big here, and congressmen who came home for their holiday breaks heard a lot of opposition to healthcare reform."

"Coakley's campaign was terrible ... she showed an actual disdain for the people."

One example was her failure to appear at a well attended outdoor January 1 professional hockey game at Boston's Fenway Park stadium, while her rival Brown aggressively campaigned outside, Schaefer said.

 

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