Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Brown But Not Out

Having stayed away from politics for a while, I was going to do a major post about the whole Harry Reid brouhaha, thinking the story still had legs. Well, after what happened yesterday in Massachusetts, those legs may now be stumps. I may still do the Reid post, since I've got the whole thing mapped out in my brain. We'll see. I hate throwing out a map just because it's a bit dated.

A Republican was elected Senator in Massachusetts! A state synonymous with liberalism. At least it is among the talking heads on TV last night. Maybe cliche should be synonymous with cable news. Well, that's kind of harsh. They may have good reason for such generalizing. The state's nickname, at least among outsiders leaning to the right, is Taxachusetts. And, of course, the Kennedys are from there.

Still, there may have been a conservative, even reactionary, undercurrent that went unnoticed. In 1975, an episode of Welcome Back, Kotter was banned in Boston because the general manager of the local ABC affiliate thought the show had something to do with desegregation, which was a hot topic in the city that year due to court-ordered busing. The general manager evidently thought viewers might freak out and turn violent if they saw Arnold Horshack and Freddie "Boom-Boom" Washington sharing the same classroom. That same decade also saw the banning of The Jackson Five and Marvin Gaye. In fact, until about 1980, the phrase, or cliche, "banned in Boston" was synonymous with censorship. I'm not suggesting any direct line between Welcome Back, Kotter and Scott Brown's win, only that Massachusetts may be more complex than it's been characterized. And remember, it's had a couple of Republican governors in recent years, including Mitt Romney.

As I don't live there, I don't know exactly where the Democratic Party went wrong in Massachusetts. I do have an idea where it went wrong, or is going wrong, in the nation as a whole, and I'll likely share that in some future post.

To use another cliche, this all could be a blessing in disguise. The burden of the 60-vote majority has been lifted from the Democrats shoulders. The Senate can now pass legislation with a simple majority. If the Republicans threaten to filibuster, let them. Maybe we can make then stay up all night, like back in the old days. C-SPAN for insomniacs.

But that's not the best reason to be rid of the 60-vote majority. Without the 60-vote majority, Joe Lieberman is no longer the most powerful man in the Senate.

Gee, I'm feeling better all ready.

10 comments:

  1. I thought this was to be an expose of the California energy crisis.

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  2. I'd wager there are a boatload of Kennedys spinning in their graves. Check the shift of gears in the headlines ALREADY about the healthcare reform bill! I'm leaving. I don't want to be here any more. I'm tired of every bit of it.

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  3. @Tag--Sorry. The lights are on where I am.

    @Limes--Well, let's see: single-payer was off the table from the very beginning; the public option was dropped; triggers that could lead to a public option were dropped; expansion of Medicare or Medicaid was dropped; this was all BEFORE the vote in Mass. if they shift gears any more the clutch will crack from overuse. I think the problems the Dems are having may be bigger than how the folks voted in one state. I'm hoping to see more exit polling data from Mass to see what exactly went on.

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  4. @Tag--By the way, Tag, Brown in my title refers to Scott Brown, the playgirl model-turned-politician who jus won Ted Kennedy's old seat. I hear his daughters are availiable.

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  5. I'll be looking forward to your spin on that information!

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  6. @Tag--OK, I just re-read my comment, and it sounds like I'm suggesting you ask one of Brown's daughters out for a date. Clumsy writing on my part. I was just making fun of something Brown said in his victory speech.

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  7. I believe Mrs Brown has got a lovely daughter. My first comment was a play on the rolling brown outs in CA several years back during their energy problems. I'm am aware of the election in Massachusetts and was not particularly surprised by the outcome. I believe the answer to MA senate vote lies in the personalities of the candidates. Coakley had a comfortable lead just two weeks ago. Apparently she wasn't too keen on getting out and mingling with the Main St voters in the state. Mr Brown however has a sort of George Clooney appeal and was accessible to the public.

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  8. @Tag--I figured that's what you meant, I just wasn't sure. You may be right about why Coakley was elected. Apparently policy differences don't make a...difference.

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  9. The Democratic Party went wrong long ago, when it sold out to corporate America. They're just closet Republicans, only they don't have the spine to say anything concrete. Where's Trotsky when we need him?

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  10. Assassinated in Mexico City by one Stalin's agents. But I think Stalin may have been a closet fascist.

    All the Democratic Party has to do is just be a tiny bit better than the Republicans, and most liberal-minded people will vote for them. What other choice do they have. We really have to change the nature of the two-party system, especially now that Supreme Court has ruled that corporations can put their thumb on the electoral scale.

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