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October 10, 2013 3:43 PM Lonegan Designates Himself the Next Scott Brown

By Ed Kilgore

An amusing sideshow to the fiscal circus in Washington is developing in New Jersey, where Republican Senate candidate Steven Lonegan is trying to bootstrap himself into a national celebrity by predicting he’ll win in next Wednesday’s special election, which in turn will force Barack Obama to cave to Republican fiscal demands. TPM’s Hunter Walker quotes from the wacky candidate’s statement:

“My victory in this election on Wednesday will send a message to Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi that the American people want an end to Obamacare and the rest of the President’s radical agenda,” said Lonegan. “Republicans need to hold firm because seven days from today when Bob Menendez escorts me down the Senate aisle for my swearing in, the message about what our party should do will be clear for all.”

Gee: a special-election victory in one state will convince Obama, Reid and Pelosi to, if I understand it correctly, just throw in the towel and let conservatives run the country. That there is some hubris, eh? Lonegan is clearly evoking memories of Scott Brown, whose special election win in Massachusetts in 2010 was hailed by Republicans at the time as a sort of national wake-up call, and which did force Democrats to utilize reconciliation to enact the final version of the Affordable Care Act since Brown cost them their 60th seat.

As in 2010, you have to wonder why anybody takes seriously the idea that random low-turnout special elections somehow matter more than, say, the election of the president of the United States less than a year ago, in indicating what “the American people” want. As it happens, despite a lackluster campaign Corey Booker is going to beat Lonergan, so we won’t get to find out what kind of “message” his election might have sent.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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