So what does Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts Senate race mean?
This morning at Starbucks, my pal Jack Mason who’s lived on this earth for almost as many years as have I, opined that Brown’s election “saved our country.”
NPR’s Michael Feldman, who hosts the popular show “Wait, wait…don’t tell me!” took a different tack, noting that “Now we’ll find out whether the (Senate) democrats can be as ineffectual with 59 votes as they were with 60!”
Democrats are trying to spin Brown’s win as an anomaly, not a stunning repudiation of the President, democrats, healthcare reform and uppity liberals everywhere.
And Republicans, given up for dead a year ago, have risen up joyfully, ready to retake Congress this year, and the presidency come 2012.
We’ll see. My guess is that the Dems are a little too pessimistic, and the GOPsters are celebrating a little too soon.
We all know why Brown won, don’t we? People hated Obamacare, the voters were outraged at the administration’s coziness with the bailed-out fat cats of Wall Street, his opponent didn’t bother to campaign, and even Massachusetts lib’ruls can see the light eventually!
All true – and it comes down to Obama’s inability and/or unwillingness to move quickly and decisively, or to understand that a country in recession is in no mood to have a thousand-page healthcare reform bill shoved down its throat.
Do I support healthcare reform? Sure. Do I support the president’s bill? Beats me-I don’t know whether it would benefit me or not. I’d guess that most of us looked upon its (no longer impending) passage as we would look upon the approach of a major winter storm – disruptive, inconvenient and inevitable. Some good would come of it (reservoirs full! plains farmers expect bumper crops of winter wheat!), but it wouldn’t help us much (schools close! travelers stranded in Limon! City says snow removal budget exhausted, side streets to remain buried!).
And as for those smooth-talking, obscenely rich Wall Street scam artists, couldn’t Obama at least raise his voice, and make it clear that he understands just how much many of his fellow citizens hate the SOB’s?
But the real problem for the Dems lies in their own weakness of character. You’d think that a simple majority would be enough to pass a bill, even one as significant as healthcare reform.
In the Senate, thanks to its own cozily arcane rules of procedure, it takes 60 votes to end debate, proceed to a vote. Now that Republicans have 41 votes, they can mount a filibuster, and just keep talking until the Dems give up, and abandon the fight.
Filibusters are inconvenient for both sides, and the lazy, self-important, silver-haired old men who occupy the Democratic side of the aisle aren’t willing to engage in a good old-fashioned knock-down, drag out fight. There are 59 Dems, and 41 Repubs-so if the Dems had any conviction and determination, they could grind down their opponents, and keep debating until they collapsed.
But that’d mean hard work, fiercely principled beliefs,and a fighter’s willingness to go all the way and find the strength to drop your opponent in the 15th round. The present Senate majority, to quote Yogi Berra, “doesn’t have the necessities.”
The Dems may have the numbers, but it appears that the Gopsters have the heart.
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