Massachusetts State Senator Scott Brown garnered more than a million votes in a surprise victory for the Republican candidate in a special election to fill the remaining 34 months of Ted Kennedy's US Senate term. Brown was among the first national Republican candidates to advance an Obama-style abortion reduction strategy, one which was ignored by Massachusetts Citizens for Life and other conservative abortion groups that had previously condemned such an approach.
Brown's candidacy was fueled with out-of-state contributions, but there was a tangible enthusiasm across the state that grew over the last two weeks of the campaign. His platform was essentially one of pledging to stop the Obama agenda of providing healthcare for all, holding the financial services industry accountable for the abuses that led to the profound worldwide recession of 2009, and applauding the Bush/Cheney approach to national security.
The willingness of the conservative abortion groups to set aside their core principals to elect a Roe-v-Wade-supporting Republican could be interpreted two ways. One might hope that it signaled a new receptivity to finding common ground on the abortion issue. But it seemed more likely that this was a clarion reminder that conservatives have for years simply been playing the abortion card as a way to exploit Catholics and other people with deep convictions about abortion, while lacking any particular concern about the wellbeing of the unborn or any specific intention to solve the problem.