Scott Brown won. The “filibuster-proof” Democratic majority is over. As hard as it has been for Democrats to get key, divisive issues through, the battle will be even tougher now. So goes. That’s what happens when you focus more on getting things done than on communicating what you’re actually doing.
Martha Coakley seems to have lost because of a lack of a common touch. In my comments to my prior post, I state that I think Gore and Kerry lost for the same reason. Not everyone is an intellectual. Some people just want to live their lives and deal with politics every 2 or 4 years, focusing on the issues that matter most to them. For whatever reason, Americans want someone they can have a beer with in the White House, more than someone with a long list of political or policy experience.
Jobs and employment are important. I know many people that are currently suffering. Every day, I see Facebook posts of friends talking about difficulty looking for a job. The White House has not successfully communicated what they are doing/have done. And despite the numbers, there doesn’t seem to be a feeling of economic momentum. Perhaps it’s good for Obama to feel the need to communicate more with the American people on what has been going on. Maybe the lessons of Brown/Coakley will help strengthen the Democrats for the real fight later this year.
What depresses me most is all the Massachusetts special election has done is give both sides reason to become even more separated. Obama came into office with the goal of changing the dynamics in Washington. There was a strong point on bipartisanship. In the end, with health care, that never became an option. The Republicans banded together to oppose any success on the part of the Democrats. I have not seen any evidence of viable alternative proposals.
Democrats and Republicans are just going to try even harder to knock the other down over the coming months.
I honestly do not believe the Republicans want anything to pass now (including and beyond health care), barring the unblinkingly obvious. I think the strategy is to stonewall and make the Democrats look like they aren’t accomplishing anything, with the hopes of regaining control of Congress in 2010 (or at least major gains), and then the White House in 2012 (which would take a lot more missteps by the Democrats, as well as more cohesion between the splintering factions in the Republicans).
All-in-all, everyone should be frustrated with what’s going on with health care. I find it ridiculous that they cannot pass it piece by piece. There are facets that both Democrats and Republicans agree on. I do not, for the life of me, understand why they cannot put those on the books and then work on the parts that are not agreed upon, with the majority pushing things through as they see fit. Take other sides into account, but when they aren’t participating in the discussion, perhaps the process should just move along.
As you probably know, I travel the world. I have been to places where there is rampant corruption. I am on a political podcast with guys from Chicago. The Windy City has corruption problems, as well. And you know what? In Indonesia (for example) and Chicago, the people I see and talk to seem to accept it. Politics reflects populace. If we want our politicians to be less divisive, it’s time to stop being so ourselves. Don’t expect anything more from them until you expect more from yourself and those around you.
Update: It seems that perhaps they are doing exactly what I wished they had done before: starting with the easy stuff, then moving on to the more difficult. Once again, I wish this was the approach from the beginning. http://bit.ly/7Jcjyn