Moments ago, the U.S. Senate voted 51-48 to reject the crazy Blunt/Brown Amendment which would have allowed any employer or insurer to refuse to cover any medical service, as long as he, she, or it had a “moral” objection to that service. That could have included AIDS treatment, vaccinating children, maternity care for unwed women, and any number of other services to which one can imagine a “moral” objection. It’s terrible legislation that goes well beyond what was needed to protect religious liberty, and it died a well-deserved death.
Unfortunately for Scott Brown, he voted for it. He did so out of a misguided belief that he was simply protecting religious liberty by doing so, either because he did not read the bill or because he did not understand it. When that blew up in his face, he foolishly made matters much worse by claiming – incorrectly, as it turns out – that Ted Kennedy would have agreed with him. It was a stupid gambit, and it will haunt Brown through the general election.
There have been no polls taken in Massachusetts since this whole business flared up (the Mass. Insight poll announced yesterday was actually taken a month ago). It will be very interesting to see what impact Blunt/Brown has had on the Senate race.
UPDATE: As luck would have it, Rasmussen has just announced its first poll on the Senate race. This poll was taken yesterday, and has Brown up 49-44 over Warren (margin of error is +/- 4.5%). That’s actually good news for Warren, because Rasmussen has a well-documented recent history of skewing Republican by about 4 points (according to Nate Silver at 538, who does not make this kind of thing up, in the 2010 cycle “Rasmussen’s polls were quite biased, overestimating the standing of the Republican candidate by almost 4 points on average”). So when you factor that in, it actually appears that, over the last couple of weeks, Warren – or, more likely, Scott Brown himself – has pretty much erased what was a 9-10 point lead for Brown according to both Suffolk and Mass. Insight, and has returned the race to a dead heat.
Fasten your seatbelts, folks – this is going to be a long, rough ride.