Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mass Reax.

Last night in Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley to win the special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat most recently held by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy(D-MA). I feel obligated to share some of my thoughts about this development.

1. Congratulations are in order to Senator-elect Brown. He ran the better campaign; he diagnosed the mood of the electorate better, he ran a more disciplined campaign, and he was quick to pounce on Coakley's many gaffes. Sometimes in politics the person who does a better job is rewarded.

2. This is a setback for President Obama and the Democrat's agenda but it is only any insurmountable obstacle if Obama and the Congressional leaders allow it it to be one. I have long thought that Obama spent most of his political capital cleaning up the mess the Bush administration left. However, I thought there was still enough capital to pass the healthcare bill. All the the other major agenda items are probably of the table; except for economic and job issues that can be addressed through the budget and reconciliation process. Still with helathcare added to the mix this would be a substantive first Congressional session for Obama.

3. There is a Senate helathcare bill that the House can pass tomorrow if it wants to and there is still an empty healthcare reconciliation bill that can also be used. The House needs to pass that bill and then come back and use the reconciliation bill to pass the compromises the White House and Congress are currently negotiating. Morally this has to happen because people need to have access to healthcare and they need to know they will always be able to have health insurance. Politically, this bill has to pass because Congressional Democrats and President Obama cannot afford to not have this bill pass. If this bill fails then it will be the end of Democratic power in Washington for a long time. Also Democrats need to change the narrative. Right now the narrative is that the Democrats are in disarray and their agenda is possible. If healthcare passes then the narrative changes to Democrats fight and overcome setback to pass healthcare bill.

I have been watching Democrats for too long to think they will choose the obvious path. However, I hope they soon see that this is only real path they have.

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