The moronic statements from the left and the right over the Republican winning the special election in Massachusetts to take the seat held by the late Senator Ted Kennedy is already becoming too much to take. People on both sides really need to get a grip.
Only about 40% of Massachusetts voters could even be bothered to vote. That means that a majority of a minority of voters actually supported the Republican. When the final figures are in, maybe 20 – 25% of Massachusetts voters will turn out to have voted for the Republican. That’s not much of a victory.
So, Republicans: Yeah, you won—this time. Don’t take that as any kind of omen and don’t assume you’ll hold the seat in the election in only two years because your percentage of the electorate is way too small for that. Massachusetts hasn’t suddenly gone red; instead, for many stupid reasons, Democrats couldn’t be bothered to vote. Your side won an election that was always yours to lose. Enjoy your brief success, because it means nothing.
Democrats: Stop making the loss more than it is. You had a 60-seat majority in the US Senate and you still couldn’t pass a progressive healthcare bill. What good is a super-majority if you won’t/can’t use it? So a very conservative Republican, the darling of the teabaggers, has been elected to a two-year term—so what? The right wing had a majority in the US Senate before today and it still will after this temporary Senator is sworn in.
And to Blue Dog/Conservadems: Don’t dare try to spin this election as an indication that there should more Dems like you. The Massachusetts results are far too low to draw that conclusion. Personally, I think that if we had more liberal Dems—what I’d call real Democrats—we wouldn’t be in this situation.
The media will play this in the Republicans’ favour and won’t get any of the factors that make this disappointing, but not a disaster. The 2010 elections are still more than ten months away and this particular result isn’t an indicator of what will or won’t happen then. Journalists should do their jobs and stop repeating Republican spin as if it’s fact.
And on the subject of spin, the teabaggers have had a collective orgasm, but they’re deluded if they think it has any relevance to the re-election chances of Senator John Kerry in four years; their boy has to win re-election in the 2012 elections first, and that’s a very tall order. They also can’t assume that the behaviour of a tiny percentage of Massachusetts voters tells us anything about national trends.
So, while the results in Massachusetts are disappointing, and it’s sad that a tool of corporate America will sully the seat long held by Ted Kennedy, it’s far from the end of the world. That’s what the Republicans and teabaggers want you to think, but it doesn’t make it true.