Somewhere in heaven Ted Kennedy is weeping, while somewhere on Earth Rush Limbaugh is rejoicing. All the hard work that Kennedy put in to guaranteeing health care for all of America may soon be undone by a man whose greatest claim to fame until now was having a child who appeared on "American Idol." He's Mr.-Brown-You've-Got-a-Lovely-Daughter, and he's the new U.S. senator for Massachusetts. Lord, help us.

Somewhere in heaven Ted Kennedy is weeping, while somewhere on Earth Rush Limbaugh is rejoicing. All the hard work that Kennedy put in to guaranteeing health care for all of America may soon be undone by a man whose greatest claim to fame until now was having a child who appeared on "American Idol." He's Mr.-Brown-You've-Got-a-Lovely-Daughter, and he's the new U.S. senator for Massachusetts. Lord, help us.


Apparently, Bay State voters forgot how disastrous George Bush was because they just elected a Bush clone. Why would they do that? Theories abound. Scott Brown, the Republican state senator from Wrentham, ran a great campaign. Martha Coakley, his Democratic opponent, ran a lousy campaign. Voters wanted to derail President Barack Obama's health care plan. Voters wanted to vent their displeasure with Obama. Voters wanted to kick dirt on Kennedy's legacy. Voters were tired of seeing Democrats in the U.S. Senate. Brown is so doggone good-looking. All of the above.


Coakley can now add her name to the list of Massachusetts attorneys general who have failed running for higher office in recent years. Thomas Reilly lost the Democratic nomination for governor in 2006 to Deval Patrick, Shannon O'Brien lost to Mitt Romney in the 2002 gubernatorial race, Scott Harshbarger lost to Paul Cellucci in the 1998 gubernatorial race and Francis Bellotti lost gubernatorial attempts in 1964, 1970 and 1990. The last Mass. attorney general to succeed in a race for higher office may be Edward Brooke, who... irony alert... was the last Republican elected to represent the state in the U.S. Senate until Tuesday.


Brown, who ran on a platform of change - gee, didn't a Democrat just do that? - has a chance to prove the naysayers wrong by keeping his promise. And what politician has ever reneged on a promise? He can actually rescind his membership in the Bush League and be an independent, progressive voice for the state. He can actually work to help mold a more acceptable universal health care plan.


Or he can simply be a robotic obstructionist who votes against everything Democrats propose just because it comes from Democrats. Or he can pull a Romney and become a social regressive, saying his beliefs on gay marriage and abortion have "evolved," and that he now opposes both. "Shove those blasphemous homos back into the closet and give all those radical feminazis coathangers."


Considering how far right the Republican Party is leaning these days, such an approach would be in Brown's best interest as he contemplates furthering his political career. The term "moderate Republican" may become an oxymoron.


The potential for more irony exists here. If, at the end of his term, Brown has done absolutely nothing to work for universal health care and the deeply flawed system continues to bleed millions of dollars and millions of people continue to suffer from being uninsured, Brown's opponent may use health care against him to get elected.


Also, Massachusetts, criticized so long by the rest of country for being dark blue, may now be criticized for being bloody red, denying the rest of the nation the universal health care it approved for itself.


Democrats can take some solace in knowing that Brown does face some pressure. If he messes up, it may be another 30 years before Massachusetts elects another Republican to the U.S. Senate.


On the other hand, Brown's victory sends a loud message to state Democrats: no more guarantees. If I were Deval Patrick right now, I'd be very nervous.


Bob Tremblay can be reached at 508-626-4409 or robt@cnc.com.


The opinions expressed in this column are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the newspaper.