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Massachusetts A Harbinger of Things to Come?

The Republicans can't yet declare victory in the race for Ted Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts. But they have already won a moral victory there.

Martha Coakley, the Democrat, is in a statistical "dead heat" with a no-name Republican, Scott Brown. And Brown is running on, or rather against, the Democrats' signature issue, health care.

This was not supposed to happen. But there is now a real chance of an upset. And even if the Democrats somehow pull it off in a "squeaker," they are looking vulnerable all over the country. Senator Harry Reid, the architect of the health care program, is in the fight of his life in Nevada.

President Obama is trying to step into the breach in the Bay State. But if the Republicans win in this rock-ribbed Democratic state, the home of the Kennedys, it could be HIS breach in 2012.

Democratic Presidential candidates don't do well when Massachusetts is "in play." In 1972, George McGovern won only Massachusetts and lost every other state, including his home state of South Dakota. In 1984, Walter Mondale lost even Massachusetts, and barely won his home state of Minnesota, alone among the 50 states. In 1980, Jimmy Carter lost Massachusetts, but won Rhode Island, and Maryland, and West Virginia, plus his and his running mates' home states of Georgia and Minnesota, and no other states.

Enough said.