WASHINGTON — Voters in Massachusetts sent a signal to Washington this week about the scope of the federal government and what the agenda here should be, Oklahoma lawmakers said Wednesday.
"You’ve never seen a time in our country where one election totally turns everything on its ear — one election, not a presidential election — flips things,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee. "To me, the buzz up here is all about: What does it mean? The thing that it really means is America’s awake, they have an opportunity to downsize the government, to make it more responsive, to lessen the amount of money it spends, to take off some of the debt their kids are going to inherit.” The surprise victory of Republican Scott Brown in a special election to fill the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s seat sent Democratic leaders scrambling to figure out whether health care reform and other legislation is now politically feasible. Brown’s victory means Senate Democrats no longer have a filibuster-proof majority. Moreover, Brown’s upset win could make many Democrats back off their support for President Barack Obama’s legislative agenda. Rep. Dan Boren, D-Muskogee, the only Democrat in Oklahoma’s congressional delegation, called the race a "wake-up call” and said Democrats need to move to the center, work with Republicans and make "putting people back to work the number one goal.” Boren said he didn’t know what his party’s leaders would do about health care legislation.