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Obama’s big job -- jobs

By electing Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown to the US Senate, voters show Obama that the economy comes first.

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Democrats are sifting through the rubble that once was their “supermajority” in the US Senate, looking for portents and implications.

The stunning victory by conservative Republican Scott Brown in a special election for the Massachusetts US Senate seat held by Edward Kennedy should push the White House to rethink the Obama agenda.

If “All politics is local,” as another Bay State politician, former Speaker of the US House Thomas P. (Tip) O’Neill Jr. famously put it, then it would be wrong to discount entirely the local factors in the race. Did Democratic candidate Martha Coakley run too bland and passive a campaign, lack a clear message, and allow her opponent to define her? Even a last-minute visit from the president failed to ignite any passion for Ms. Coakley’s candidacy.

In strong contrast, Mr. Brown found a resonant local message in railing against the Democratic “machine” that has dominated the commonwealth’s politics for decades. Just last year the speaker of the Massachusetts House, a Democrat, resigned amid allegations that he misused his office to favor friends and relatives. The two previous House speakers, also Democrats, resigned under the same cloud of ethics investigations.

Brown also follows in a well-worn tradition of success by other affable and telegenic Massachusetts Republicans, such as William Weld and Mitt Romney, both of whom were elected governor to ride herd on the heavily Democratic legislature.

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