Democrats in Massachusetts had known for quite some time that they would have to find a replacement for Ted Kennedy, quite possibly for a special election. What they couldn’t have fathomed was that the special election would draw nearly non-stop national attention. Or that it could be seen as a referendum on the president’s health care reform agenda—so much so that President Obama came to Massachusetts yesterday to campaign for Democrat.

That’s right. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) v. state Senator Scott Brown (R) has the nation’s attention. FOX News Channel will actually be live in Boston for some of their programming tomorrow. Sean Hannity can’t seem to spit out a sentence without “Brown” in it.

Indeed, the outcome of tomorrow’s election will have ripple effects, possibly for many years to come. One could say the Republican have already won—claiming victory if Brown even comes close. Polls show Brown has closed the 30-point lead Coakley enjoyed just a month ago. Republicans are spinning this as a reflection of the people’s view of the Health Care Reform bill—they hate it (or at least the way it was formed).

Coakley’s campaign in the Big Book of How to Run Campaign, will have its own chapter on how to NOT to run the stretch drive of your bid for office while enjoying a huge lead (Dick Blumenthal should go to school on this race).

But before everyone gets so excited about how one US Senate race can change the country, we should realize that this truly a traditional race. Martha Coakley is a typical Massachusetts liberal in the tradition of Ted Kennedy. Scott Brown is a typical, Newt Gingrich, right-wing conservative. The choice for Bay State voters is clear. The race is more than interesting in the bluest of blue states.
When it comes to statewide elections, it’s usually an unpopular policy position or (for incumbents) an unpopular vote that gives a candidate concern about his/her standing with the voters. In the case of Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, she never made it that far.

Bysiewicz is busy trying to explain why she switched from the race for governor, where she led in the polls, to attorney general where she has asked the current attorney general (Blumenthal) for an opinion on whether she is even qualified to serve in the position. Things are getting weirder by the day.
On the Republican side, former Congressman Larry DeNardis is interested in the governor’s race as are various mayors in the state.
When it comes to the choice between Leno and Conan, I’ll take Ricky Gervais. That guy is funny.

NOTE: Due to the need for some medical therapy work on my back, the Hanging Shad may not appear everyday…but as often as possible. Thanks for reading.