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News A Great Day for Hope in America

  1. Jan 19, 2010 #1

    russ_watters

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    The AP is projecting (via Fox TV) that Republican Scott Brown has won "The Kennedy Senate seat" in Massachusetts by a vote of 53% to 46% with 72% of precincts reporting and Democrat Coakley conceding.

    Though some people have called the election of a black President one of the profound milestone victories in American history, the idea of a Republican winning the Kennedy seat is a milestone of truly unfathomable magnitude. If someone wakes up from a 20 year coma tomorrow and you tell them we have a black President, you're likely to get little more than a shrug - but tell him that a Republican holds the Kennedy seat and you're likely to get laughed at! Consider some numbers: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-01-18-senate-massachusetts-brown-coakley_N.htm
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-01-17-coakley-obama-massachusetts-senate_N.htm

    -Mass has a votor registration of 37.1% Dem, 11.4% Rep and 51.2% Independents.
    -Obama won the popular vote in Mass by 62% to 36%, compared with 53% to 46% nationally. It was somewhere around 4th biggest state margin (tied with several others).
    -All of Mass's senators and representatives and the governor are Democrats.
    -The last time the state elected a Republican senator was 1972 and The Kennedy Seat has been in the family since 1953.
    -The state legislature is 85% Democrat, 15% Republican.
    -Coakley (the Democratic candidate and state attorney general) won a decisive victory in the primary - Brown has never run a state level race.

    The national implications of this state senate election are clear. National healthcare was Kennedy's baby and Mass votors knew the filibuster proof majority of the Dems was at stake. Brown campaigned on being That Guy who would break the supermajority. In other words, Brown made sure this election was a referrendum on Obama and the Dems' overall national policies.

    In my opinion, this tells us clearly that Obama's and the Democrats' vision for the country has already been flatly rejected. With the trajectory the economy was on in October of 2008, a massive victory by the Dems, including a victory by Obama was a near certainty. Today, one of Obama's centerpiece platform issues has a high risk of failing to be passed altogether (it isn't over yet, but I'll get to that...) and barring a huge drop in unemployment, a sweeping victory for Republicans in the mid-term elections appears likely - they may even gain a majority in the Senate, forcing bipartisanship if anything is to get passed.

    Obama's approval rating according to USA Today is now 50% positive to 45% negative, the worst of any President after one year with the exception of Reagan since WWII. ( http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-01-18-obama-types_N.htm ). How did we get here, after his inauguration day approval rating of 67% to 14%? Obamamania wore off: The country is now his. The wars are his, the economy is his, the health care situation is his. When the determination on the recession is made, it is likely to be judged to have ended in Q4 of 2009, but just like Bush with Clinton's recession, Obama is likely to have to deal with an extended "jobless recovery" from Bush's recession. That hurt Bush and the Republicans a lot and it is going to hurt Obama and the Dems a lot. It is much too early to project where we'll be politically in 3 years and I still believe that the economy is likely to recover enough for Obama to use it as a centerpiece of his campaign. But for this year, with unemployment likely to still be above 9%, a strong Republican comeback is very likely.

    And interestingly, CNN is covering the Hati quake right now while Fox is interviewing a focus group to discuss why they voted how they did. In any case, the votors for Brown mostly confirmed what I said above - that it is a national issue referrendum (and I'm sure we'll get exit poll stats on that).

    "Hope" is easy to generate when all you have to be is Not Bush and a good speach maker, but now that he's in office, his policies matter. During the campaign, people either believed his deceptions about how liberal he was or just plain didn't care as long as he was Not Bush. It's probably a little of both, but with the country now his, being Not Bush isn't enough to sustain him and the people are waking up to see just how liberal he is and just how much they don't want liberals running the country. I have Hope today because this affirms my belief that the US is a center-right country at heart. It really does want small government and personal freedom. And more importantly, without the filibuster proof majority, I'm hopeful that the damage of a long-term rule of democrats and democratic policies will be mitigated.
     
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  3. Jan 19, 2010 #2

    russ_watters

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    Separate post for broader policy implications. Will the Democrats "double down" and force through whatever they can before Brown is seated (including healthcare) and before the midterm elections in November or will fear of losing their seats force the Democrats to moderate? What may happen is that the Congress moderates while Obama - who faces no re-election for 3 years - will fight to push through his adjenda. Such infighting could make things even worse for the Dems.

    For healthcare itself, they could try to slam it through before Brown is seated and I think the additional backlash of that would be truly disastrous for Dems in November.
     
  4. Jan 19, 2010 #3
    Is he better than Palin ?
     
  5. Jan 19, 2010 #4

    Astronuc

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    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_massachusetts_senate [Broken]

    Voters are not pleased about the direction in Washington. Without 60 votes, they'll have to 'compromise' in the senate.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Jan 19, 2010 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    Eh, the Dems had a dud candidate and they got lazy, so they will have to rush through the health care bill.

    Obama is taking on the hard problems. This sort of thing is to be expected in the short term, esp thanks to propoganda services like Fox.

    Obama is currently following the same path [in terms of popularity, and for similar reasons] that Reagan followed.
     
  7. Jan 19, 2010 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34894130/ns/meet_the_press/page/4/

    That pretty much sums it up for me. Employment is a lagging indicator, so we wouldn't expect more recovery there than we have seen as yet, given the depth of the economic crisis. People are scared and angry. That is understandable. The Republicans left quite a disaster after controlling the reins. But that really has nothing to say about Obama's success or failure. It is far too early to make that call. I can say that from my pov, Obama has been doing mostly the right things, or at least he is acting rationally, which is a huge improvememt over the previous eight years. But it will take time before this will translate back into popularity.

    Consider for example that when you ask people who oppose the health plan if they would support various concepts that are key elements of the plan, they do in fact want what it does [or at least tries to do]. So the fact is that people don't have any factual basis for an opinion yet. They are reacting to the media hype.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  8. Jan 19, 2010 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    I think that's extremely unlikely. The spectacle of Harry Reid blocking a duly elected senator from taking his seat before an important vote would be political suicide. Especially since last year they had no trouble seating Senator Burris as soon as the check cleared, and the year before that, Niki Tsongas was seated almost instantaneously - just in time for a major vote.
     
  9. Jan 19, 2010 #8
    Well Reagan got lucky in that he had a highly-taxed, over-regulated economy that he got to cut taxes and deregulate, and it roared back to recovery. Bill Clinton tried governing as a Leftist, but then in 1994 the Congress went Republican, so then Clinton governed center to center-right economically (the establishment Democrats really disliked him for this too) and he also had the Dot Com bubble.

    I feel that if Barack Obama loses much of the Congress later this year, and then begins to govern from the center, and the economy turns around because things like carbon regulations are not implemented, Obama will likely be re-elected.

    He is lucky in that his recession is occurring early on in his term, so hopefully it will be recovered by the end of his term.

    If any heavy regulations are passed or if the economy is truly in a liquidity trap, this might not happen, but hopefully it will.
     
  10. Jan 19, 2010 #9
    One thing is, are the Democrats so bent on passing this bill, that they are willing to sacrifice themselves politically, at least for now, in the belief that the bill will improve healthcare and when people see this, they will get re-elected in the future...?

    Or while some may be like this, are most standard Washingtonians who will not stand in the line of fire?
     
  11. Jan 19, 2010 #10
    I'm just happy that when I call my Senator, he'll actually listen now.

    Coakley just constantly talked outta her arse. MA is a wreck and alot of people are sick of it.
    Businesses have been evacuating the state in droves, I'll take a pic of the entirely vacant main street in my town if you want proof.
     
  12. Jan 19, 2010 #11
    I await to learn whether Brown accepts responsibility for his influence in the coming years.
     
  13. Jan 19, 2010 #12
    Wow, they must really hate universal healthcare.
     
  14. Jan 19, 2010 #13

    russ_watters

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    You seem to be implying that you think the answer to that question is "no". Would you like to elaborate? Frankly, I don't know all that much about him, but the fact that he was a model when he was in college doesn't say anything at all about his character or qualifications.

    Honestly, humanio, that's a really pathetic attempt at character assassination and completely irrelevant to the thread.
     
  15. Jan 19, 2010 #14

    russ_watters

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    That is certainly a large part of what happened, but the focus group I saw being interviewed was pretty clear that there was more to it than that - that it was a referrendum on what's going on with Dems in Washinton.
    Do you think they (and/or Obama) will/should? Given the motivation of the votors here, it would be very risky. Already, at least one Democratic Senator is saying they should slow down:
    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/

    Since Obama doesn't have an election to win and he's losing his supermajority anyway, he may not see much of a downside to pushing through healthcare before Brown is seated, but I don't think the Senate dems will agree.
    You expected his popularity would plunge so quickly? Really? I didn't.

    The difference I see between Obama and Reagan's situations is that the biggest thing hurting Obama right now, isn't the recession, it is healthcare which while an important issue isn't an immediate issue. It isn't related to the recession and he didn't need to do it this year. In fact, I think people are perceiving that he and the Dems are spending too much time on healthcare and not enough dealing with the economy.
    Though I don't want this to turn into a healthcare debate, you're really wrong about that: you have it exactly backwards. People want health care reform, but the healthcare plan the Dems are pushing is deeply flawed. Some components of it are generating real anger, including:
    -Buying of votes by selective taxation (lower/no taxes for unions and Nebraska). This is almost certainly illegal.
    -The complete lack of attention to malpractice insurance and lawsuits.
    -Failure to repeal the deal Bush's administration struck that essentially has the government colluding with drug companies for price fixing.
    -Making no attempt to control spiraling costs (related to the above items).
    -Numerous really bad special interest provisions, such as anti-abortion provisions.
    -Taxing people who have insurance to pay to provide healthcare for people who don't.


    Simply put it doesn't address the true problems in the system: rising costs and inconsistent care and coverage.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2010
  16. Jan 20, 2010 #15

    russ_watters

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    I agree when it comes to the Congress, but what about Obama? Is he going to try to push the House/Senate to make a fast deal? I guess we'll see - it's going to be an interesting state of the union speech next week!
     
  17. Jan 20, 2010 #16

    russ_watters

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    Though I disliked Clinton as a person, your assessment is spot-on. He really did start out with a pretty far-left adjenda and did end up moderating when he had to. But for Obama, you said "if"...and I don't think he will. For better or worse, Slick Willy was far too unprincipled to be a true ideologue and he ran his administration based on public opinion polls. I don't think Obama is that type of person. He's a True Believer in his cause and I think he'd going to push his far left adjenda even if it gets him kicked out of office in 3 years.
    I still believe that the recession is Obama's ace in the hole. I think it would be very unlikely for the economy to not recover enough in 3 years for it to be a positive for him come election time. But just how positive is a big question and if his policies are unpopular, it may not be enough. We'll just have to wait and see, though.
     
  18. Jan 20, 2010 #17

    russ_watters

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    Interesting perspective. If someone really believes in this bill - believes it is good and believes it is desperately needed - then the bill should be more important than re-election. But how many politicians like that really exist? This puts them in a damned if they do/damned if they don't situation.
     
  19. Jan 20, 2010 #18
    Yes that was pretty pathetic, yet it actually made me laugh so much, I wanted to share it for those (like me) who did not know anything about him before. By the way, I am just echoing a significant amount of media coverage.

    That just made the reform significantly more complicated, yet I would not be especially proud of this election if I lived in Mass.
     
  20. Jan 20, 2010 #19

    You're talking about a party that for 2 months couldn't get their own health care reform bill out of their own Senate Finance Committee despite having a supermajority. Whether or not they have the supermajority doesn't really matter, they are still going to mess things up anyway. These guys can't sell space heaters to eskimos.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  21. Jan 20, 2010 #20

    D H

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    I'll agree with you there. “As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park? In the cold? Shaking hands?” No, dumb idea. Take a vacation right before the election instead.

    That is bass ackwards -- or Mass backwards, to quote Jon Stewart's characterization of this election. Doing so would be political suicide for the Democrats. Even if they do ram things through in two weeks (highly unlikely), it would be Pyrrhic victory. The 2010 Republican landslide that would ensue from that level of political chicanery would result in the bill being overturned or unfunded a year from now.

    The Democrats now have to learn to dance. However, if the Republicans play the obstructionist card too often that will give the Democrats a leg up for those mid-term elections.
     
  22. Jan 20, 2010 #21

    cristo

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    Are you really knocking the fact that one of your news channels is focussing on an international emergency?
     
  23. Jan 20, 2010 #22
    Fox news is hardly far and balanced, they are one of the mouthpieces of the republican party.
     
  24. Jan 20, 2010 #23
    Indeed, Haiti's quakes is really of historical proportions.
     
  25. Jan 20, 2010 #24

    Ivan Seeking

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    I get such a kick out of Fox and their hallucinations. The fact is that rather than an indictment of Obama's policies, Coakley lost the election because she got her sports teams mixed up. She was leading in the polls by 30 points until she stuck her foot in her mouth.

    http://thefastertimes.com/mlb/2010/01/19/martha-coakley-curt-schilling-and-why-baseball-matters-in-politics/ [Broken]

    But, I guess that to a man dying of thirst, even a thimble full of Massachusetts water seems like a lot. The Dems will regroup and get their vote.

    Yes folks, the American voter is really that fickle, esp in difficult times.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  26. Jan 20, 2010 #25
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