Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Reaction to Mass. Senate election

The fact is that the Democratic party just lost a seat to the GOP that had been held by a Democrat in a liberal state for basically all of history and which previously belonged to THE Democratic Senator, Ted Kennedy, champion of the very concept behind the bill that may have died with him (health care reform). The reactions from the right are predictable. The claims that this is a referendum on the Obama administration were being made before the votes even started coming in. Fox News, bastion of the idiot right, has all but popped the corks on champagne bottles on live TV. The Democrats are, understandably, sheepish. The level of fuck-up demonstrated by this loss can only be described as colossal; ever seen a kicker miss a chip shot FG in a football game? (Charges fans are nodding their heads). Well, this is the political equivalent.

Before the left goes thermonuclear and the right allows their orgy to spill out onto the streets, I think its important to consider what this result actually means right now and what it will mean in the near future.

First, why did Coakley lose? Was it because Massachusetts voters decided that the best way to send a message to Obama was to vote for a Republican Senator? Unlikely. To use a crude analogy, would you vote for Satan over Jesus if Jesus was running for the same party as a President you didn't like? That's absurd.

Was the vote simply an indication of a conservative shift in the politics of Mass. voters? Perhaps slightly, but besides his views on the health insurance bill, Brown is pretty liberal. He's pro-choice, socially moderate, in favor of a Palestinian state (Republicans: say WHAT), and has signaled that he would work with efforts for bi-partisan health legislation down the road. He just doesn't like this particular bill, and frankly a lot of Democrats don't like it either.

The simple fact is that Brown was a pretty decent candidate. And Coakley was not. Despite the fact that she was leading by a huge margin in a state that polls heavily in favor of Obama, she committed gaffe after gaffe in the weeks leading up to the election and ran one of the poorest campaigns in history. Independents sided with Brown and that's all she wrote.

Sorry, GOP, but when the facts are examined, your claims that this is a message to Obama don't ring true and are insulting to the intelligence of Mass. voters, who know better than to waste a Senatorial vote on sending a message. Massachusetts elected Brown because he was the better candidate.

So what does this mean long term? Well, if more Republicans win elections this year, then the GOP and their mouthpiece, Fox News will claim that this was the start, but trying to link political change at the national level with the results of state elections is tenuous at best. In other words, the results of other state elections will not be any different just because Brown won this one and not Coakley. The GOP is a little delusional when it comes to trying to bolster support for itself. In reality, any Democrats that lose elections this year will have done so not because of a public political shift back to "Republican values," but because Congressional Democrats have completely dropped the ball this last year. Say what you will about the Republicans, but they know how to wield a majority the right way. The Democrats wield it like a ten year old kid with a lighter in an oil refinery.

The Democrats losing their majority in Congress may be the best thing that could possibly happen to this administration. I expect the result of that change would light a fire under the asses of the remaining Democrats to stop dicking around and actually get things done. Its not like legislation has never passed before unless there has been a 60 plus majority in one house. Bills can be passed with less than 60 votes, and in spite of the GOP's current plan of "block everything until the black guy is gone." The GOP still remains unpopular among the voting population as a whole, and they aren't going to change that by continuing to act like babies. Sooner or later, moderate Republicans are going to come around and make smart decisions because they want to be reelected. That means health insurance legislation, immigration reform, and LGBT rights bills are not off the table. Not by any means. And yes, moderate Republicans exist. Brown is one of them.

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MJ said...

I think a lot of people feel the same way. This is actually a good thing because the Democrats no longer have the super-majority albatross hanging around their necks. Time to move on with the president's agenda and let the Republicans filibuster for the next nine months as unemployment hovers at 10 percent.

Cylinsier said...

Exactly. As much as it will hurt, I think it might be time to let health care reform go for now and get other things done. When the next round of elections hit, the Dems have to let the Reps have it with both barrels, pointing out how every single piece of legislation and executive appointment was blocked by them and how that has invariably harmed the country.

ERP Software said...

That great stuff ...and people think a lot in same direction