I see the news back home is still about health care and this special Senate election in Massachusetts to elect the “permanent” replacement for the late Senator Edward Kennedy.
The stakes, as they are, is that the seat is currently being held by a Democrat, Paul Kirk if I have the name right (excuse my laziness at not looking it up). Kirk’s holding the seat, combined with the Independent/Socialist (yes there is one) Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and the much-maligned Independent/Really Independent Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, give the Democrats 60 votes in the Senate.
Fifty is a majority in the U.S. senate, but 60 is needed to shut off debate. So the Republicans have been forcing the Democrats to hold the line with all 60 of their coalition of sorts, on every vote that comes along. It is just one of their stall-and-delay, slash-and-burn tactics that they have been using ever since Barack Obama stood on the dais and took the Oath of Office one year ago this week.
Commentators in the Republican orbit are talking up the possibility that the Democratic candidate, Martha Coakley, is going to lose to the Republican Scott Brown. Brown is a liberal Republican Senator, I have read, who recently started making all the noises that Teabaggers, Screamers and the other assorted elements of contemporary Republican politics do. Commentators on both sides (or from different angles) are saying that Coakley is caught in a tight race in a very Democratic state because she had been running a weak campaign.
But you know what this is also being twisted into? You guessed it: a political attack on Barack Obama.
Now, how is this? Well, they say that if the people of Massachusetts don’t vote in Coakley, and instead choose Brown, it is a “referendum” on the President, Congress’ health care bills that they’re working on merging, the fact there’s still 10% unemployment from the bad economy, and the host of ills that George W. Bush left behind.
But to me, it simply looks like a seat that was for 47 years in the hands of one party, via Ted Kennedy, is going to switch to the other party because a liberal of that other party ran a good campaign. Plus Martha Coakley looks a little like Geraldine Ferraro.
It’s nice that the President took a trip to Massachusetts to support Martha Coakley But practically, I don’t think the President has the power to wave a magic wand and change the spirits of the moment that are present in Massachusetts. To me, it looks like “find away to kick Barack Obama”.
This, coming from a party that as far as I can tell, has been doing nothing but a lot of screwing up since the 21st century began.
President Obama takes the job and the many problems America faces seriously (more so than his predecessor Bush, who wasted our resources on misguided “defensive” wars). And now, any little state election becomes a “referendum on Obama!”
I would like to see the Democrats keep the 60 (how did majority rule get be 60%—I though it was 50% plus one?), because fact is, if Coakley loses it looks like we all lose. The Senate will drop to 59 Democrats, and the Republicans will keep on attacking everything Barack Obama tries to do, and threaten filibuster in the Senate at every turn. What a mess that will be!
You don’t kick people while they are working hard to straighten things out. It’s no class. The Republican Party used to have class, even 30 years ago. Not now.