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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Feeling blue

There's no question yesterday felt like a bad dream for someone who claims the name of Massachusetts Liberal. Scott Brown's victory was a sobering event.

And there is also no question that the results reflect a number of factors -- from a bad effort by Martha Coakley to concerns about health care reform and yes, even the bubbling up of the Tea Party movement in the state from where they take their grandiose name.

But there are plenty of flashing yellow lights ahead -- for the left, the right and the media. Failing to pay attention can be hazardous.

Let's start with the most ridiculous first -- the national story out there asking if Brown will follow in the footsteps of an obscure Illinois state senator and run for president in 2012. Get a grip folks -- he has to run for election to a full six-year term in 2012 and you can rest assured there will be a lot of Democrats not named Coakley lining up for the challenge.

It's the same sort of parachute journalism that failed to take into account the situation on the ground in Massachusetts -- unpopular incumbents, rising taxes and shrinking services. And oh yeah, corruption.

And while the results surely served as a warning shot across the bow of Democrats on Beacon Hill and Capitol Hill, it should not be taken as a sign that the Republican "can't do" strategy is the key to victory in November.

There's a reason that the symbol of the Democratic Party is the donkey. They can be stubborn and mule-headed. But like the old line goes, it's nothing that can't be cured by a quick smack from a two-by-four across the butt.

Massachusetts voters delivered that smack. And because one of the principal complaints about Barack Obama is that he is too cerebral, Obama and his team have more than ample time to recalibrate and expect them to do so quickly.

For the outliers on the right and left, the messages are equally clear: cool off.

The Tea Party crowd claims to be about stopping "socialism," hyperbole of the maximum order. And that doesn't even get into the birthers and other racist-driven drivel.

Some of my friends on the left accuse Obama of being a sell-out because he hasn't closed Gitmo, turned the economy around on a dime, produced a perfect health care bill in lobbyist-infested congressional waters and hasn't prevented earthquakes. In a year.

As I said frequently in the past few months -- back off. The results on Tuesday are a clear sign people are tired of extremes on either side of the partisan divide. Barack Obama was not the perfect champion of all that he surveyed nor is he the total bum he's being made out to be today.

There is something to be said for compromise and for pragmatism. Whether we get that is an open question in a 24-7-365, 140-character media environment. But it's worth trying.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Let's start with the most ridiculous first -- the national story out there asking if Brown will follow in the footsteps of an obscure Illinois state senator and run for president in 2012. Get a grip folks -- he has to run for election to a full six-year term in 2012..."

So by this logic, should the Junior Senator from Illinois ran for another term before aspiring to fill the oval office?

Obama was a Senator for 3 years, half of which was spent running for President.

I agree that Brown should not consider a run in 2012, but again, perhaps Obama was not ready either.

January 21, 2010 3:46 PM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Anon, I think the No. 1 priority on Brown's plate politically should be election to a full-term in 2012. If he opts for the presidency in 2012 I personally would be delighted,. Not so sure Mitt would be.

January 21, 2010 5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that, politically, things change far too quickly to make any assumptions about 2012.

The point was, perhaps Obama should not have run in 2008. He was nearly as green (inexperienced) as Brown, wouldn't you agree?

January 21, 2010 9:41 PM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

I don't have the same qualms about Obama as you do Anon.

But you are totally missing my point. I find it ludicrous the media even asked that question of Brown in the first place. Hasn't even been swon in and the question of his next political step is asked. Horse race journalism is a major part of what is wrong today.

January 22, 2010 4:42 AM  

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