Thursday, January 21, 2010

Aftershocks from the Massachusetts Earthquake

The Democrats in the White House say that Martha Coakley's political mistakes were the prime factors in her impossible defeat. There is some truth in that - but not a lot.

The Democrats in Massachusetts say that the Obama administration’s political mistakes were the prime factors in Coakley's impossible defeat. There is some truth in that - probably a lot. Scott Brown's prime issue was Obama’s health care reform bill.

During the campaign, Scott Brown said repeatedly that he approved and advocated water boarding of prisoners, a technique of torture that was dropped by the Bush administration after it was used for years. Neither the Boston Globe nor Martha Coakley passed this important information on to the voters.

Many Americans express their regret that there are so few women in the U.S. Senate. This was an issue in the Democratic Senate Primary but disappeared in the January 19 election.

Another disappearance was the viability of Ted Kennedy's legacy. He surely would have campaigned and voted for Coakley as his widow Vicki pointed out repeatedly. Yet the Kennedy endorsement was virtually ignored by the voters. Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.

Obama, Bush and Clinton all promised to end hyper partisanship but the votes on health-care reform show that Obama is the latest president to fail to achieve reconciliation. American government is dysfunctional even when a party has a strong majority.

The US war in Afghanistan was not an important factor in the Massachusetts election although Brown supported the invasion and Coakley opposed it. When there is no draft or a tax to pay for the war, there is a tendency to pretend that we are not at war at all.

President Obama's approval rating is down to 46% but the White House has an idea to get it back up again. Just bring back Bush and Cheney for a week.


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