Saturday, January 23, 2010

Scott Brown: Sweeping change or no change at all?

It’s been entertaining to watch the pundits, pollsters and politicians (the three P’s) analyze what happened last Tuesday with the election in Massachusetts of Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate.

Does it mark a sweeping change in the political landscape, as suggested by a number of the three P’s?

I would argue against that assessment. Yes, the technical game changed in a big way when Scott Brown became the 41st Republican senator, barring the “jam it down your throat” approach that Harry Reid has been enjoying for a year. But, other than that, has anything really changed?

For months, pollsters have consistently shown that the health care reform proposals lack favor among voters; that Congress’ negatives exceed their positives; that the president’s favorability is evaporating.

Were any of these indicators significantly different a week ago? A month ago? Last August?

Not at all.

This health care reform legislation was moving forward, not because the American people wanted it, but because our elitist legislators could get away with it. They were saying things like ‘once the people understand how it benefits them, they will embrace it like they embraced Social Security and Medicare.’

In a horrid example of “the ends justify the means,” backroom deals were made that would result in bribery convictions if any of us had pulled the same stunts out here in the real world. But in Washington, that’s how the sausage is made.

Nebraskans, to their credit, screamed foul at Ben Nelson’s bald-faced vote trading in spite of the deal benefiting their state. Louisianans, not so much. And the unions… Well, what do you expect?

On the question of last Tuesday’s election, I posit that nothing has changed. The American people did not shift their position on the national agenda as a result of Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts. We simply could not get the attention of our legislators through polling, holding tea parties, writing letters and emails, and attending the August recess “town hall meetings.”

An armed robber feels pretty empowered until the store owner wrestles the gun away from him.

Copyright 2010 Randy Hunt


  1. Just the mere fact the the Brown election has been a "momentum killer" for this health care bill is change enough for many Americans. Now Dodd- D has recommended taking a month off from moving forward with this.............thing. The democrat party has been rocked to the core with this one seat held by a democrat for 47+ years. Losing this seat has been said to carry the weight of losing three to four seats and with the mid-term elections just around the corner many dems are in serious danger of being ousted. Harry Reid from Nevada being on the hottest hot seat. Brown has only been in Washington a few days and has done nothing except being elected to this point. Only one of your thre "P's" matters, the politicians and the democrat fear is palpable. When Keith Olbermann has three nights in a row of namecalling there has been a nerve struck. Not at all? The groundswell of enthusiasm disagrees with you.

  2. A recent study, compiled by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, indicates that: “Suburbs gained more than 2.5 million poor individuals, accounting for almost half of the total increase in the nation’s poor population since 2000.”

    If Washington needs clues as to why voters are unhappy - BOTH Democrats and Republican office holders should take a look at the report.

    In 2008, a startling 91.6 million people — more than 30 percent of the entire U.S. population (THIRTY percent) — fell below 200 percent of the federal poverty line, which is a meager $21,834 for a family of four.

    ANGRY? Damn right the nations voters are angry.

  3. Voter turnout on Tuesday was an anomaly with 60+ percent in some precints. That is undheard of. The normal voter apathy tide , at least in this election, was turned. If voter turnout even approaches these percentages throughout the country politicians will be told under no uncertain terms the way they have completely disregarded the peoples desires is no longer a way to do business. The Brown election is a two year test run, the rest of these midterm seats are the full six year terms. The importance of those seats can not be overstated. If 30% of the population is below the poverty mark they need a votng 30% or that number will be rendered just another statistic. Bringing home the bacon had been a priority for too long. The simple effective cast vote trumped any agenda this past week.

  4. Completely changed the tone of the State of the Union speech also..............all because the election of one person.

  5. With all due respect sir:
    I do not think it responsible to refer to the majority party in Congress as "armed robbers" and the minority party as the "store owner." You're clearly very educated. Why then would you make such an outrageous analogy? This type of rhetoric is the language of division, the old "us against them" tactic. I believe that we need to embrace our differences, be eager to compromise, and not be so cynical. This is after all, the UNITED States of America. Please do not pretend that the last administration was completely innocent of the "ram it down your throat" approach. But, it is our ability to compromise that makes us great - not the agenda of either party. We should be less partisan and more open-minded to each other's ideas. I think we would both agree that the country works best when both parties work together.

  6. Hi, Anthony. In my analogy, the super-majority is the gun. There was no such super-majority during the 6-year run of Republican domination under Bush. However, I contend that full control over the presidency and Congress by one party is not productive and leads to abuses.

    I hope that both parties will start talking now that they must start talking in order to pass legislation.

    I believe you and I agree on the overriding point here: Fair and open debate and honest compromise in the best interest of the people of the United States.

  7. Very good sir. Keep in mind that the super-majority was the people's choice (in 2008), though it probably is a good thing that it was short-lived. Hopefully they can pass some meaningful legislation this session. Anyways, thanks for the reply!


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