recently wrote in The Wall Street Journal, quoting newly-minted U.S. Senator Scott Brown from Massachusetts:
The key to Mr. Brown's victory was politically independent voters in the Bay State, who favored him by 3-1. So how should other candidates court the independent vote, which in most parts of the country is growing faster than that of either major party?
"People out there are disgusted," he says, shaking his head. "Especially with any one party dominating government and talking down to them. They want straight talk, no BS. A focus on jobs and what really creates them. They want problem solvers in office, and it helped me that I was able to show I could work with Democrats in the legislature."
That last point has not gotten the attention it deserves. For all of the excitement Mr. Brown generated among conservatives, his actual legislative record reveals a man who rejects ideological rigidity on most issues. . .
I ask Mr. Brown at what point during the four hard months he spent campaigning he felt he was truly connecting with Massachusetts' voters. He instantly replies that it was the first TV ad he ran in late December, which began in black and white showing John F. Kennedy pushing for his 1962 across-the-board cut in tax rates. The screen then slowly morphed into an image of Mr. Brown as he calls for a new tax cut by finishing Kennedy's remarks: "Every dollar released from taxation that is spent or invested will help create a new job and a new salary.". . .
Mr. Brown says he designed his campaign to revolve around four issues: taxes, excessive spending, terrorism and health care. But it's clear that voter angst over ObamaCare was the rocket fuel propelling him to victory. "People got where I was," he says. He was often asked to sign his autograph with the number "41" next to it, meaning he was running to be the key vote to block health-care legislation from final passage. . .
Mr. Brown says it frustrates him that too many politicians still believe that people will be fooled by what they're proposing. "People aren't stupid, and leaders should figure out they're better informed now than ever." Perhaps that explains how Scott Brown was able to pull off his improbable Cinderella story.
Back in September, picking up on the rising tide of public anger over health reform, excessive spending, and one-party arrogance, he fashioned a simple, compelling narrative to deal with it: no to a rushed, confusing health-care bill, yes to a freeze on federal spending and to introducing some sunlight into government. Mr. Brown repeated it over and over with the inner confidence that his message would eventually resonate. It did.