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.