Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What Does the Brown Victory Really Mean?

What does it mean? Does it signal a tidal wave for Republicans? Possibly. But that’s the shallow view. The truth is a bit deeper.

In 2006 and 2008, Republicans lost in a large part because they’d lost touch with the American people. This led to big majorities in Congress for Democrats and a Democrat in the White House.

People were claiming that the GOP was dead, or a best, a “regional party”.

But the GOP has won 3 big elections recently. Rasmussen has the GOP up by 8 on the generic Congressional ballot. And the GOP usually overperforms the generic ballot.

Has the tide really shifted so suddenly to the GOP?

In a word, no.

What the last year has taught us, more than anything else, is that the Democrats on Capitol Hill are even more out of touch with the American people than their Republican counterparts.

This is the reason for the success of the Tea Party folks. This is the reason Democrats have lost, not the reason Republicans have won.

What Democrats and Republicans should be learning from the events of the last few months is this:

We’re watching you.

We’ll elect you if we think you’re right for us, but if you don’t represent us, we’ll replace you. And we don’t care how long you’ve been around. In fact, how long you’ve been around may actually be a detriment to you. And a lot of us don’t care what letter you have after your name. We just want you to represent US, and not yourself. We don’t want your corrupt, politics-as-usual power grabs. We don’t want any hint of you thinking that you’re better than we are. And if we think that’s what we’re getting, we will send you packing so fast it will make your head swim.

Happy Anniversary Mr. President

Happy anniversary, Mr. President. One year ago today, you took the Oath of Office.

It’s been a harder first year than you could’ve possibly imagined.

The economy’s still in the tank.

Everyone hates your health care plan.

Your “green initiative” was run by an avowed Communist who was forced to resign and is based upon junk science.

After campaigning on fiscal responsibility, you’ve run up the debt to staggering, never before seen numbers.

You’ve suffered humiliating losses in statewide elections in NJ, VA, and MA.

You’re facing a Bill Clinton (D-USA) moment. This is the moment when “triangulation” was formed. For those that don’t know, “triangulation” is a term coined by Dick Morris in 1994, when he was advising Bill Clinton. It means when facing a difficult situation, pivot your position to what is passable and what the American people want, and then pretend that was your position from the very beginning.

It saved Bill Clinton’s political career and gave him a second term.

Mr. President, will you follow Bill Clinton’s example, or will you continue to run blindly in the opposite direction of the country?

The choice is yours.

What Can Brown Do For You?

The whole country is buzzing about the historic victory of Senator-elect Scott Brown (R-MA) in Massachusetts last night. Some people are already thinking about getting him to run for President in 2012. He’s run a great campaign, is fantastic with throw away one liners, is very telegenic and charismatic.

And he can do a lot of things. He can kill Obamacare. He will likely kill Cap and Trade (if it wasn’t already dead). In fact, his presence makes all of Obama’s big ticket items risky. Not because he gives Republicans the 41st vote, but because he shows every single Blue Dog Democrat what it’s all about. He’s a constant reminder that anyone can be defeated.

But…

He’s still a Massachusetts Republican. He’s going to be another Olympia Snowe (R-ME) in many cases. He’s going to be one of the Republicans Democrats approach when they want bipartisan support. And he’s going to give it to them in some cases. He’s a better looking and better speaking George W. Bush (R-USA) with even less experience. He’s John McCain (R-AZ) with hair and youth.

Is that who you want for your nominee?

I don’t.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Brown and wish him all the best. And I hope he surprises me and tilts farther right than I expect. Some of his campaign speeches give me some hope in that regard, but I keep looking at that MA next to his name. To be re-elected to the Senate in 2012, he’s going to have to remember who he represents, and his constituents are going to expect him to be a centrist, at the very least. If he doesn’t he’s going to have a very short career in the U.S. Senate.

Which will likely be the case in any event.

So, what can he do? He can stop the Obama agenda in its tracks in 2010. He can work with the President to get some things passed in 2011 and 2012. And he can go back home at the end of 2012.

That is the likely outcome. I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade. Today’s a great day to be happy if you’re a conservative. But don’t start believing that Brown is the answer to everything. He’s not. In a few years, if he’s still around, many will be complaining about what a RINO he is. Well, guess what? If you want a Republican elected in MA, or ME, or NY, s/he’s probably going to be a RINO. Even Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) qualifies at least on social issues.

Oh, and congrats to Scott Brown (R-MA), my new favorite New England politician.

Democrats, take solace in the fact that the senior Senator from MA is still JFK, and that 2012 is just around the corner.

The American President

For the last 24 hours or so, I’ve been increasingly thinking about the movie The American President. Some of my right-wing friends loathe this movie for all the left-wing politics in it. Yes, that’s in there, but that’s not what the movie is really about. And it’s a nice little movie if you ignore that part.

So, why do I bring this up?

In the end, President Andrew Shepherd (D, played by Michael Douglas) is setting up for a State of the Union Address. He faces some challenges in doing so. His once sky-high popularity has plummeted. His major legislative agenda item (gun control) has been ruined by Congress and doesn’t really do what he wants anymore. He’s had to resort to every trick and twist every arm to get people on board with it, and it still may not pass. He’s planning on giving the address to “rally the troops”, and finally get this albatross over the finish line.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

What does President Shepherd do? He changes his mind. He does a whole new SOTU and tells Congress to throw out the gun control bill and start over. And this time to do it right.

This is what President Barack Obama (D-USA) should do next week at his own SOTU. Tell Congress and America that the current health care bill is garbage. It is. Democrats and Republicans know it’s garbage. It doesn’t bend the cost curve down, and doesn’t really do much to get insurance to those that don’t have it. And direct Congress to start over and to get it right this time.

Some options that are probably passable and with decent bipartisan support (not saying I support these):

  • Allow health insurance to be sold across state lines. This restriction is ridiculous
  • Put a very limited public option that would only be available to low/no income individuals and only for a limited time.

That’s it. One of the many problems with the piece of garbage we have now is that it is too big and does too much.

But Chris, you hate the public option.

Yes, I do. And I’d hate this bill and would never vote for it. But I’m not in Congress. This bill would do nothing (or at least very little) about the cost curve, but would make more insurance options available for more people. Liberals would be happy, and and conservatives would at least get a bone thrown to them regarding the state line issue. No one would be ecstatic, but Obama would get to sign his legacy piece of legislation and Democrats would be able to go back to their constituents with some hope of being re-elected.

If I were advising the President, this would be my advice.

Fortunately, he won’t do this. And anything he will do will likely make incumbent Democrats even more vulnerable, not less.

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