Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Get a grip

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.


Roger Owen Green said...

Not end o' world, but pretty damn disappointing, not that Scott Brown is a Republican but that he's going to be a repugnant Republican, I'm guessing.

epilonious said...

His name is Scott Brown. That's the name of the non-democrat who got Ted Kennedy's Seat. Just thought I'd mention it since you couldn't be bothered to refer to him as more than "The Republican" (or more inaccurately, "tool of corporate America" and "very conservative Republican").

Really, if anything, he's a moderate, libertarian Republican. He doesn't believe in federally forcing anything like gay marriage (either way, he thinks DOMA is dumb too) to reproductive rights, and while I can see that pissing off the lefty-est of the left, I'm surprised to see you pigeonholing him when I actually think that if any Republican were to be elected, He would be the kind you can stomach.

As for being a corporate tool, Well, I'd like for you to point out the Democrat that isn't one. Or were you just branding Brown to be insulting and not contrasting?

I suggest reading this post. I feel like a lot more Scott Brown type people are going to get elected to various offices in the future, and maybe even the presidency. And if you're getting this frothed over one senate seat... Hey, you're the one who titled your post "get a grip" ;).

Arthur Schenck said...

Roger: Yep, my assessment, too.

Epilonious: Actually, the real reason I didn't mention him (or the defeated Democrat, for that matter) is that I knew there'd be a lot of Google searches on his name and I didn't want that post in the mix because that could lead to the frothing teabaggers descending on the site and I just didn't feel like dealing with that around my birthday. But your explanation is easier, so maybe I should just go with that!

Seriously, a couple weeks ago I read an analysis over at FiveThirtyEight.com where the author of the post (not Nate) was saying that an analysis of Brown's voting record indicated that he was to the left of Dede Scozzafava, the Republican that the teabaggers drove out of the special election in New York State. One argument was that in the most liberal state there is, even a Republican can't be conservative.

I don't think that's relevant, and I don't believe he's really a moderate—or, at least, I think he'll happily vote to support the entire Republican agenda in the Senate, no matter how far right it may be.

He ran as the teabagger's candidate, and that makes him suspect. Those folks now claim to BE the "conservative movement". Though they had their roots in "libertarian" politics, they're now faux libertarians who happily drive on taxpayer-funded, government-built roads using vehicles that are safe because of taxpayer-funded government rules, eat government-inspected foods, as they rally against the "evils" of taxes and government. They are rabidly anti-gay and pro-gun, refusing to acknowledge that conservatives can have any difference of opinion on such matters. Any candidate that embraces the far right so gladly and fully is unlikely to be a true moderate—maybe an opportunist more than a real conservative, but no true moderate, either.

I don't care if he "doesn't believe in federally forcing anything like gay marriage", though I welcome anyone who opposes a constitutional amendment to forbid it. The problem with DOMA isn't just that it's dumb—though of course it is—but that it's blatantly unconstitutional. As for reproductive rights, I predict he'll be a solid anti-choice vote, as the Republican caucus will dictate, because the Republicans, allied with conservative Democrats, are in favour of restricting abortion (and birth control too, for that matter).

The point is that I fully expect Brown will vote in lock-step with the Republican caucus—as every one of the other 40 Republicans do. His voting record on every important issue will be as conservative as the most rightwing Republican Senator.

As such, he will be a tool of the corporate elites, as all the other Republicans are. The Blue Dogs/Conservadems are, too, of course, and so are many other Members of Congress. However, there are several Democrats who do not put corporate interests ahead of their constituents, though I won't list them here (a topic in itself, perhaps).

I hope that Brown isn't a prototype, because I don't support his apparent politics. But the point of this post is that Brown and his election are unimportant and signify nothing. I don't care about him any more than I care about any of the sitting Republican Senators (or many Democrats, for that matter). He's irrelevant at this point and will become so only if he manages re-election in two years.

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