VANDEN HEUVEL: I think it's a wake-up call. I know everyone says she's run a lackluster campaign. It's Massachusetts. But it's a wake-up call in the sense that Democrats cannot run as managerial -- as a managerial party moving forward. And I think that's part of what the campaign was, partly because Democrats haven't been challenged.
I think you do need to retrieve, if not populism, the passion. Part of what President Obama, I fear, did in the timid response to the unemployment situation, which is, by the way, a legacy -- if the Republicans were in power, we'd have a barter economy and 25 percent unemployment. But he opened the door to the tea bag intensity, which is -- which has real force, no question about it, and could undermine a generation of progressive work.
So I think Democrats need to retrieve that intensity and take back -- I hate to quote William Butler Yeats with George Will at the table, but the worst should not have the passionate conviction. The best must retrieve those convictions.
TAPPER: And Democrats are trying right now to -- to gain some steam in Massachusetts with this bank fee that President Obama has proposed on -- on going after bank bonuses, purportedly, with the new bank fee. Do you think that's going to have any traction?
CARLSON: This is late-stage alcoholism. This is denial, OK? This race is not about Martha Coakley. Sure, she's a bad candidate. John Kerry keeps getting re-elected from Massachusetts, so that's no barrier to getting elected in that state. It's not about Martha Coakley. It's about the president's policies.
His health care plan is polling at 36 percent in Massachusetts right now. Nationally, it's polling at 44 percent. It's lower in the most liberal state in the country, probably because they already have a species of it under Romneycare.
The point is, this is a referendum and it's explicit -- if you watch what Scott Brown is saying on the stump, it's an explicit referendum on Obama's policies, economic policies more broadly and health policy more specifically. That's all it's about. And Democrats need to figure that out and respond to it, or they're really going to get creamed in the midterms.
WILL: It's largely health care, but there's something else involved. Between Christmas and New Year's, the Scott Brown campaign took off with an ad by Jack Kennedy saying, "Cutting taxes is good for the economy and good for Democrats and good for Republicans." But on health care, Scott Brown says this is a referendum on the president's signature issue. Elect me, and I will be the 41st vote to stop this thing.
The fact that the president is flying to Massachusetts indicates this is, A, a referendum on him and, B, he's already lost the referendum, because he has to go up and...
BRAZILE: Scott Brown does not provide health care to his own employees. This is really a campaign that Scott Brown has largely defined in the last -- in the closing days of the election, because Martha Coakley did not really go out there and campaign. She really took time off, and that's -- you never do that. You give your opposition the ability to organize.
And he's basically campaigning as, I am running for Ted Kennedy's seat, but this is not Martha Coakley's seat.
VANDEN HEUVEL: And, also, Coakley is going to put Brown on the spot. It's late, maybe. But she's going to say, are you on the side of the people or the banks?