Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What Brown won't do for you

For the first time since 1972, the state of Massachusetts has elected a Republican Senator. Why did this happen ?

Some say it's because people are upset that the administration and Congress are moving too fast on health care reform (well, really the Democrats, the Republicans have made it clear from day one that they didn't intend to go along with health care reform, no matter how many concessions were made to them in the bill). This is something that Presidents have been trying to do off and on since Truman was in office. The only people who think we're rushing are the Republicans who have always tried to block any real health care reform. They did it with the introduction of Medicare, they're doing it now.

A lot of people are saying it's because they are dissatisfied with the performance of Obama and the Democratic majority Congress in general. What amazes me about this are the people in this category who are mad because they don't think Obama has made enough of an effort (or, with some issues, any effort) to advance the progressive agenda he campaigned on. I can't argue with this. I'm disappointed in him too, but how in the hell is electing someone who you know is totally against that agenda, someone who has implied that Obama was born out of wedlock (the latest twist in the "birther" conspiracy), supposed to help things ? How stupid are these people ?

Of course, now that the Democrats no longer have a filibuster-proof majority, the argument has been made that the health care bill is dead. Unfortunately, I don't think it would have mattered even if Coakley had won. The fact of the matter is that this bill has been dying a slow death anyway. Oh, I think something will pass. And, yes, having the insurance companies not being able to deny someone coverage because of a pre-existing condition and not being allowed to set limits on how much they'll pay out in a year or a lifetime are great reforms, but the bill would also require everyone to buy insurance or pay a fine. So, the insurance companies get a whole bunch of new customers and since there will be no government option, the insurance companies will be free to jack up their rates, knowing that people won't have any choice about buying their product.

So, in the end, Brown's election won't make that much of a difference. Still, I'm really disappointed in the voters in Massachusetts. Giving the seat once held by the "Liberal Lion" to Brown is something you should all be ashamed of.

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