Monday, January 18, 2010

Memo to Massachusetts

To all my good friends in Massachusetts:

You may have found the last year to be, politically, somewhat disappointing. You were probably happy to see Bush leave office. Now we have President Obama and very substantial Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate. And yet it seems like not much has changed. However lofty the goals of the Obama administration, however high our hopes for hope and change, the results have been... what... uninspiring?

Part of the problem is that governing, and trying to solve big problems, involves lots of compromise, horse-trading, and some raw politics. Necessary, but uninspiring stuff. But there's more at work here.

In the aftermath of the Bush era, the GOP had employed a very deliberate, simple, and systematic strategy.

In the media, and especially on right-wing radio and TV, the GOP has relentlessly hammered Obama and the Democrats without much regard for the actual truth of their allegations or the actual source of our woes. They are much more interested in demonizing Democrats than solving our problems. They are very good at it.

Meanwhile, in the United States Senate it is easy to for the minority to keep the majority from getting anything done. By refusing the play ball, not allowing votes to proceed, and vilifying everything that comes before them, the Senate GOP has quite successfully gummed up the works. In order to do anything at all, each and every Democratic Senator and both independent Senators (one of whom is Joe Lieberman) must agree to it. Forging this kind of consensus has been ugly business.

It's something of a historical fluke that it's even possible for one party to be able to scrape together 60 senate votes on its own. Margins like that don't happen often.

If the voters of Massachusetts, if you, elect Scott Brown it will be impossible for the US Senate to do anything at all without Republican votes. The Republicans, including Scott Brown, have promised that they will not get those votes.

This will be the ultimate vindication of the GOP strategy of paralysis, paranoia, foot-dragging and vilification.

I'm not very familiar with the politics or history of Martha Coakley. My sense is she is something of a machine-candidate mediocrity. You probably deserve better.

Will Scott Brown be better?


  1. You are probably right that Scott brown would hinder progress in the Senate. But you have resorted to the GOP's favorite weapon yourself: fear.

    If I don't agree with Coakley's politics but I vote for her anyway, does the end justify the means? Should I vote for the candidate I feel would represent my views the best or simply vote for the candidate who might win and be the lesser of two evils? Evil lite as it were....

  2. Keith, if you really are a Libertarian, then you probably don't care about health care reform, financial regulation, federal economic stimulus or the rest of the Obama agenda. If you do care about that stuff, vote Coakley.

    Are you a Libertarian? Man. We need to hang out more. See you next weekend.

  3. Being afraid that someone will vote against the things you support and for the things you oppose is a perfectly good reason to be afraid of voting for them.