Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blow for Barack Obama as Republicans win key Senate seat in Massachusetts.

I am sure that American readers will have a better handle on what the Hell happened here than I do.

Republican Scott Brown has captured the US Senate seat held by liberal champion Edward Kennedy for nearly a half century, leaving President Barack Obama's health care overhaul in doubt and marring the end of his first year in office.

Brown's defeat of once-favored Martha Coakley for the Massachusetts seat is an embarrassment for the White House after Obama went to Boston on Sunday to try to save her candidacy. Her defeat signaled big political problems for the president's party in November when House, Senate and gubernatorial candidates are on the ballot.

More immediately, Brown will become the 41st Republican in the 100-member Senate, which could allow the Republicans to block the president's health care legislation and the rest of Obama's agenda. Democrats needed Coakley to win for a 60th vote to thwart Republican procedural maneuvers to block votes on legislation.

Brown led by 52% to 47% with all but 3% of precincts counted.

Massachusetts has gone Republican? I really don't get that.

I dread to think what this means for healthcare, as it was bad enough when Obama had to deal with the Blue Dog Democrats, it will simply be impossible now that he lacks the sixty votes needed to avoid a Republican filibuster.
One day shy of the first anniversary of Obama's swearing-in, it played out amid a backdrop of animosity and resentment from voters over persistently high unemployment, industry bailouts, exploding federal budget deficits and partisan wrangling over health care.
With the exception of healthcare, I am unsure which of the above can be fairly left at Obama's doorstep. All of these problems were inherited, and why one would wish to elect a Republican in order to show one's displeasure at unemployment, industry bailouts or budget deficits is quite beyond me.

And, from what I am reading, Massachusetts is one of the few states where healthcare is not an issue:

Although the race has riveted the nation largely because it was seen as contributing to the success or defeat of the health care bill, the potency of the issue for voters here was difficult to gauge. That is because Massachusetts already has near-universal health coverage, thanks to a law passed when Mitt Romney, a Republican, was governor.

Thus Massachusetts is one of the few states where the benefits promised by the national bill were expected to have little effect on how many of its residents got coverage, making it an unlikely place for a referendum on the health care bill.

So what the Hell just happened here?


I like Dean's theory, that the Republicans are much better at messaging in opposition than the Democrats, but their problem is that they can't govern when they win.

And Dean, here, gives a swipe at centrists who always seek to make every solution to every problem "bipartisan". Bipartisanship in American politics, as far as I can see from sitting over here, seems to be when the Democrats do what the Republicans want, whether they are in power or not.


Grayson argues that the Republicans could give tax cuts to the rich with only 51 votes, so why do the Democrats need 60 votes to pass healthcare?


As election returns came in Tuesday night, Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) said it's clear that voters wanted “a whipping boy” for all the lost jobs and foreclosed homes.

“It’s like in Roman times, they’d be trotted out to the coliseum and the lions would be brought out,” Kennedy told reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday night. “I mean, they’re wanting blood and they’re not getting it so they want to protest, and, you know, you can’t blame them. But frankly, the fact is we inherited this mess and it’s becoming ours.”

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