Great Scott! Dems Should Worry
Wednesday - January 27, 2010
The homemade campaign poster stood out from the Boston crowd: “The SCOTT heard ‘round the world,” an obvious parody of Emerson’s phrase, “The shot heard round the world,” in his poem Concord Hymn about the first engagement of Red Coats and farmers-turned-rebels at the old North Bridge in Concord, Mass. - the first shot of the American Revolution.
The poster was in support of Scott Brown, the newly elected U.S. senator from Massachusetts, the first Republican elected there in more than three decades in an incredible upset victory over Democrat Martha Coakley. If his victory wasn’t literally heard ‘round the world, it was indeed heard ‘round the United States of America, and most acutely in the Oval Office in the country’s Capitol. And not just because of its own significance, but also because it is the third recent “surprise” victory of Republican over Democrat, following the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial elections.
Perhaps even more importantly, Brown’s victory was a dramatic derailment of the Obama-Reid-Pelosi healthcare juggernaut that has been consistently rejected by a majority of American voters in poll after poll - now by an average of about 48 percent “against” to 32 percent “for.” Until now, this majority has stood helpless and frustrated on the sidelines as their Democrat congressional delegations, with a bullet-proof 60-40 majority in the Senate, have simply turned a deaf ear to both their constituents and their Republican counterparts who have been consistently barred from the debate. With his promise to fight this convoluted, expensive, solve-nothing health-care plan, it’s no surprise that the Massachusetts state senator and National Guard lieutenant colonel drew broad-based national financial support as well as the electoral support of the state’s independents.
Brown, upon his election as the 41st Republican in the Senate, now gives his minority the power to at least filibuster (delay and perhaps kill) the vote to pass Democratic legislation. And this is not, as some believe, mindless obstructionism. Brown and many Republicans (and this columnist in a December column) believe reform must come, but have long advocated a more incremental approach. We would start with tort reform - making liability insurance more affordable for doctors, thus bringing down their and our costs; healthcare savings accounts structured like an IRA with no penalties for withdrawal for bonifide medical costs; allowing insurance companies to market and sell across state lines, thereby increasing competition but lowering prices; allowing employers to form insurance co-ops, thereby lowering the cost of employee health insurance - all rational and easy-to-understand solutions.
Besides promising his opposition to a healthcare plan that would comprise one-sixth of America’s economy and saddle our progeny with humongous debt for generations, Brown is quick with other common-sensisms such as, “I will advocate spending our dollars on weapons to kill terrorists, rather than on lawyers to defend them.” And, “I’m not running for Ted Kennedy’s seat. It isn’t Kennedy’s, nor Coakley’s nor Brown’s seat. It is the people’s seat. Always has been, and I will keep it that way!”
In any case, for those of us who have seen the Democrats’ healthcare plan as an absolute catastrophe but have felt helpless to stop it, the value of Brown’s victory far surpasses the value of the campaign contribution I sent him.
In an interview with a couple of Democrats who had voted for Obama in 2008 but voted for Brown last Tuesday, one said, “I’ve always voted Democrat before, but I’m just tired of the arrogance of the leadership, starting right at the top!” Maybe she means the kind of arrogance that leads one to believe he need only show up and that will bring about the desired results, like going to London and that will get the Olympics to Chicago, or going to Copenhagen and that will result in a climate agreement, or going to Massachusetts and that will get Coakley elected.
Could it be that “buyer’s remorse” is spreading among Obama voters?
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