Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A loss for Dems in Massachusetts... will they get the actual message?

So democrats lost a Senate seat last night as Scott Brown won the special election for Ted Kennedy's vacant seat... a seat he held for 47 years.  More importantly, dems lost the filibuster-proof 60 seats in the Senate, making pretty much any legislation they'd like to pass a virtual impossibility now that the party of "no" can continue being just that and do so with actual teeth.

But let's be honest, here... it's not as if the friggin democrats were actually taking advantage of the super-majority they held.  So in the end what's really different?  What's changed?  Ultimately nothing.

Look, the big foofooraw from the left is that this will mean the end of healthcare reform.  Whatever... that ship sailed, frankly, when the senate neutered it to the point of being useless several weeks ago.  No useful bill that included anything the American people actually need regarding healthcare was going to come out of the senate anyhow.  The house bill was weak but still WORLDS better than the senate bill.  Frankly speaking, I think that health-care reform in its current presentation is dead, and I have to say I'm not going to mourn its loss.  There is a growing sentiment that to save face the dems should just send the senate bill, as is, to the president to be signed.  This would be a HUGE mistake as I think most Americans don't LIKE this bill, and if it is passed you can guarantee a huge swing to the republicans in the mid-term elections.  Besides, are the dems interested in just saving face, or actually passing a friggin bill that helps US citizens?

Of course republicans will try to spin this the completely wrong way... they will say that this is clear indication that the people don't want healthcare reform.  You wait... that's what they will say.  And of course, only a moron with limited mental capacity would ever be stupid enough to make that claim... but that's what will happen.

No, the message here is NOT that the people don't want healthcare... it's pretty clear to me, anyhow, that the message is that people are fed up with the pandering, slow moving, deal-making, capitulating methods that the dems have taken regarding health care.  Every poll taken shows that a major majority of american citizens want a STRONG health care plan with a PUBLIC OPTION. That's what we want, but we sat back and watched as democrat after democrat caved in to the republicans and the health care lobby, at the one time they didn't have to.  With 60 dems in the senate, all they had to do was listen to the will of the american people, craft a solid, comprehensive plan that gave every US citizen the right to affordable health care and then just send the goddam thing up for vote, where it would easily pass.  But instead they decided to kowtow to a party that was never going to vote for ANY plan, no matter how much the dems gave up.  They were never going to put a single vote in... but for some stupid reason the dems wasted everyones time and taxpayer money on countless hours of negotiations to please republicans who would never be pleased, not to mention battling the creeps in their own party (I'm looking at you, Lieberman, you vile excuse for a senator) trying to make sure they kept the health care lobby happy.  It's been a farce, to say the least.

The people want healthcare reform... the people want a public option... this should be enough to make it happen... but US politics has become so overrun with lobby interests and the money that comes with it that the idea that legislation has anything to do with what the people want is a punchline. This, more than anything else, is what needs to change.  The only way to really fix what is wrong with our political system is to get rid of the lobbyists altogether.  Make corporate donations to public official's campaigns illegal.  However, the reality is that such reform would take the members of the House and Senate voting as a majority against their own greedy, pocket-lining interests... and that's less likely than the US getting a universal, single payer health-care system.  Such is the tragedy... it's a built-in flaw of the system that legislators are allowed to vote on their own self-interests... I believe there should be special conference that convenes to vote on issues regarding such matters, such as pay raises for legislators or legality of Lobbyist money being given to campaigns... but I'm dreaming, really... so I'll move on.

Ultimately, what I think is the message that is being sent with yesterday's election is this:  While the democrats may have good ideas, the party is slow, soft, and frankly incompetent.  That is the perception.  You can't just be a party of "ideas" and expect to be able to affect change.  We have to be a party of action. We have a majority.  The majority of the US is democratic, if not outright progressive, in philosophy.  BUT... in difficult times, people want leadership, and they want action.  We are in difficult times.  People in the US are impatient and reactionary even in the best of times... you can't expect them to sit back and wait while the democratic party continues to fumble around clumsily looking for the best way to please everyone.  It's time for the dems to stop fucking around and actually DO SOMETHING.

THAT is the message, democrats.  Ignore it at your own peril.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dammit, get over it already and get out and VOTE, Massachusetts

It's an important day in my former home state, and the republican strategy for regaining seats in the senate is looking to pay dividends already...

I've long understood the republican strategy since Obama took office and the democrats took control of the senate... and it is brilliant in its simplicity. They understood that the whole "change" movement was a sweeping success and ushered Obama into office. They also know that the American public is fickle and impatient, and that while everyone on the left was caught up in this "change has come" movement and hoping for, nay expecting this wholesale rapid turnaround and these sweeping social policies to just come pouring out of the president's office, the pace of government is trudgingly slow and the president himself has little to no effect on procedure and pace. So, knowing the short attention span and lack of patience of the american people, republicans knew that all they would need to do is simply stand in the way and gum up the works long enough and eventually liberals would become dissatisfied. They can do the math that dissatisfied voters don't turn out, and now you can introduce weak opponents and pour money into their campaigns in otherwise solid democratic areas, get an already energized republican base to show up at the polls while grumpy, impatient and unrealistic democrats sit at home and pout.

It's a strategy that has worked in MA and I fear might carry over into the mid-terms. Wake up, dems... you really think allowing a republican like Brown to take this seat is the better option than the dissatisfaction you might feel over what Obama hasn't delivered on yet? Ridiculous. Get over it, get out and vote before we return to the dimly lit slide into the abyss of the prior 8 years.