Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Teddy Kennedy Spins!!! Brown Wins!!!

Upon the news last night that Republican Scott Brown defeated Martha Coakley to capture the Senate seat long held by the late Senator Edward Kennedy, who served as a liberal standard bearer for decades, the Obama administration issued an order to exhume the body of the late senator and entomb him in the center of a generator with which the city of Boston will be powered, thus making it the first green-powered city.

Okay, I'm kidding there, obviously.  A little humor after the contest never hurt.  But the short-term ramifications are very simple: The election of Scott Brown leaves the Democrats one vote short of their Senate supermajority, which may threaten much of Obama's agenda that has yet to pass.

But first, let's get the woo-hoo moment out: Came across this video a couple days ago (nod to Mike's America), and it's so sweet to watch (Coakley supporters and liberals may want to skip it).

Okay, woo-hoo moment over, let's talk cold-assed reality:

There were several things that led to this game-changing vote.

First up, let's talk local politics.  I was trading emails with Shaw yesterday and today.  I contacted her specifically because, despite hitting Senator-Elect brown hard in the days leading up to the election, she also has the advantage of being in Massachusetts, and therefore could get a sense of what was happening.  One of the factors was that Martha Coakley was not a good candidate, kind of in the mold of a McCain.  She assumed it would be a coronation, and was surprised when the polls started tightening really fast.  Thankfully, she failed to step up and hold on to the victory, with a combination of bad decisions and stupid-assed gaffes.

The second one is simple political nature.  When people are pissed, they tend to look for change.  A little over a year ago Obama (and total control of Congress) was the "change we can believe in" *cough bullshit cough*.  A year later, new Republican governors Chris Christie of New Jersey and Robert McDonnell of Virginia are now taking over their states.  And even Massachusetts, long believed to be bluer than my ass during the recent cold snap, proved that they're not too liberal to change when they see the need.  Some of the focus groups I've heard bear the concept of forced bipartisanship to make Washington work better.

Third, and the biggest of all, this was repudiation of the Obama agenda, from the spend and spend (and spend and spend and spend, etc.) policies right down to the ramming through of a government health care plan so full of payoffs and deals and bullshit that even many Obama supporters don't like the piece of shit.  The sudden shift in the polls as the death of freedom bill piled on the cash compromises shows that voters were reacting extremely negatively to the plan. And the fact that Obama ran to Boston and Coakley still lost means that even those who are still pro-Obama weren't that motivated (no coattails makes it better for the GOP later this year).  One other note, Massachusetts already has government health care.  That's bad enough in my opinion, as it's a statewide monopoly.  But obviously, they like their current plan better than letting Washington get their hands on it.

Let's talk about the fate of the health scam bill for a minute.  Senator Brown (the good one) has pledged to vote against it.  Assuming the GOP remains united in opposition, that's 41 votes.  That means a filibuster.  That means that if the bill goes through conference, the Senate cannot pass it again.  Unfortunately, there is an option still available that won't lead to an insurrection.  The House could pass the bill that has already passed the Senate.  If they do so, the Senate bill then goes to Obama.  Then we're fucked.  Because even if the GOP scores big this year and gets control in 2012, they will not be able to repeal the health scare bill.  However, there are plenty of pissed-off Democrat representatives that don't want the Senate bill, so it's a slim chance.

Also, fuck off Scott Brown for thanking McCain in your acceptance speech.

Yeah, I'm still pissed that the default candidate and asshat hasn't gone away.  And here's why I started chanting "Fuck McCain!" when I heard him thanking the reason for Obama (thankfully, the kids were asleep).  The GOP has to realize that while Scott Brown ran a good campaign, it was primarily the failings and actions of Democrats that catapulted him from failed obscurity to a victory.  That pays off well when you're trying to get rid of unpopular Democrats.  But you have to stand for something clear, something that contrasts the party on the other side of the aisle, and then, when you are elected, YOU HAVE TO LIVE UP TO THOSE PRINCIPLES or expect to go from winning everything and then losing it all in eight years.

It was the GOP failing to hold to the principles of the Contract with America, and growing the government like the occupants of a gay bar when Scott Brown's Cosmo centerfold came out (yes I Googled, and if I was gay, yeah), and becoming hard to differentiate from their opponents that led to brutal defeats in 2006 and 2008.  And it was the selection of an idiot that wasn't that damned different than his opponent that led to the election of Obama.  And it was the failure to lead that led to the GOP's inability to articulate shit once they lost.

If the GOP candidates fail to learn this lesson, then the results of last night were pretty much a fluke.

Add to that the possibility that Scott Brown may drift too far from conservatism into either McCain, or even Snowe and Collins territory.  It is the Peoples Republic of Taxachusetts, after all.  (Come on, I say worse about California.)  That part of the country pops out all kinds of inconsistently annoying politicians (in addition to the Maine Senators, there's also the bane of Democrats, Joe Lieberman).

So in the end, while there is much to celebrate today, this is a small battle won in a big war.  And it may be a battle that means little in the end, if we fail to learn from it (for which the GOP is notorious).

Finally, I'd like to ask the state of Massachusetts to please trade Senator Browns with us here in Ohio.  We'll take Scott and you can have Sherrod "the color of shit" Brown.  Please.  He's more annoying than Kucinich (just not an alien).

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