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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Don't blame me, I'm from Massachusetts

Move over Lazarus and make room for Deval, whose amazing survival after being left for politically dead a year ago should bring hope and a road map to his friend and soul mate Barack Obama.

The solid wall of blue that remains in place in Massachusetts today is a tale that Obama and House Democrats should take to heart in showing that you either work together or sink separately when impatient voters come looking for instant answers to complex problems.

Patrick, despite nearly lethal disapproval ratings, somehow managed to lead wire-to-wire against Charlie Baker, who may well have been the best and brightest of the GOP governors and wanna-bes of the last two decades.

The Chicago native accomplished the seemingly impossible, a second term with 49 percent of the vote in a four-way race. That passes for a mandate in these times. The results came about by talking about his successes and working with instead of fighting other Democrats to generate massive turnout among their supporters.

The lessons should not be lost on the adopted son of Chicago, who saw his working majority shattered in the House and weakened in the Senate -- in large part because of his failure to trumpet the clear successes achieved in two years in the face of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Now faced with Republicans emboldened by the rush of a Tea Party caffeine high, Obama must deal with an assault on his signal accomplishments in health care and financial reform and preventing a further economic collapse. And those same Republicans will provide him the tools.

Speaker-elect John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have clearly stated their goals are not to finish the job of digging out of the Great Recession. Rather than have made making Obama a one-term president Job One.

They will be aided by what will likely be continued ideological excess of the Red Queen, Sarah Palin and her Tea Party courtiers, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. The next two years will be about tearing down and gridlock even worse than we have already seen, tactics likely to make the angry voter apoplectic.

Start with the fact Republicans still can't muster a majority on the Senate, let alone a two-thirds majority in the House required to override presidential vetoes. So repealing health care, their No. 1 priority, is dead on arrival.

Option No. 2, defunding the law, means gumming up the fiscal works. There's already talk about a government shutdown next spring. We all know how well that worked for Newt Gingrich.

Let's not even dwell on the expected investigations into non-existent scandals.There's even mumbling about impeaching the Kenyan-born impostor.

For Democrats, the challenge is to overcome the self-inflicted wounds of failing to take credit for what they accomplished. And they also need to sit back and watch as a highly divided and divisive party feuds with itself.

Left to its own devices, the economy will continue to struggle, although it will likely be better two years from now when Obama stands on his own.

Which brings us back to Deval, who numbers were far worse and who faced voters unaware of his own successes in education, ethics, pension and transportation reform, yet still managed to win a second term by appealing to our better selves.

It's said Democrats campaign in poetry and govern in prose. Republicans campaign and govern with brass knuckles. It's time for Democrats to find some brass of their own -- and work rings around their opposition while appealing to our better selves.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just hope they all watch their own commercials over the next couple of years, they were all going to go to Washington (Beacon Hill) and end the corruption and influence of special interests. In two years we'll see the same rhetoric, and realize we were suckers again.

November 03, 2010 5:29 AM  
Blogger Nat Blair said...

I thought Patrick's speech last night was great. A nice end to a great campaign.

If nothing else, his win helps Obama by preventing the lazy press meme of "look what happened to Deval in Massachusetts"

By the way, the phrase "...rush of a Tea Party caffeine high" is excellent.

November 03, 2010 9:39 AM  
Anonymous Basic Black said...

Interested in discussing the results? Watch Basic Black tonight at 7:30pm on channel 2 in Boston for a live discussion of the results of gubernatorial elections. You can also watch at www.basicblack.org beginning at 7:20pm, where you can join in on the live online chat! See you there!

November 04, 2010 4:55 PM  

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