Conor J Rogers, Editor
Republican | Washington, DC
The ‘Era of Obama’ is over.
Now, with healthcare stalled, cap-and-trade completely out of the question and an ineffective stimulus package, the punditry is abuzz: did the Obama’s ‘era’ ever exist at all, save for a few feel-good weeks in January?
Exactly one year after Barack Obama stepped into the Oval Office, America’s most liberal state has elected a Republican – and a somewhat conservative one at that.
As Senator-Elect Scott Brown took to the stage in Boston, Obama’s healthcare restructuring efforts took its final breath. The White House is now thrice electorally embarrassed and congressional Democrats are in full retreat. Already, Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) has said he won’t vote on healthcare until Brown is seated – effectively killing the bill.
Twelve months ago, Obama and the Democrats swept into Washington, DC with sky-high approval ratings and an ambitious agenda centered on economic restructuring, nationalizing healthcare and sweeping changes in climate policy.
Now, Democrats have lost the very senate seat that incubated healthcare over the past 30 years – and with it, any hope for any and all major policy changes. The Republicans can now block any piece of the agenda they want – and as approval for Obama’s handling of the economy, healthcare and cap-and-trade all drop below 50% nationally, they aren’t going to face any consequences in doing so.
The ‘anti-change’ GOP is out – and ‘We can do better’ is in.
Virginia may have been returning to its red state roots. New Jersey – perhaps a rejection of Corzine. But Massachusetts? Sure, Martha Coakley didn’t campaign in earnest until this past week – but even a lackluster Democrat should be able to get elected with double digit margins in the Bay State (Sen. Kerry is not exactly hair-raising)
Democrats Have Noone To Blame But Themselves
Scott Brown’s shocking win is not the sole cause of the now paralyzed situation Washington Democrats find themselves in. As their agenda crumbles, DC Democrats have no one to blame but themselves.
They ignored the tea parties, turned a blind eye to the town halls, wrote off elections in New Jersey and Virginia, and arm-twisted their most moderate members, despite the alarms sounding back home in red states. As they pushed their moderate members to the brink, they began to stand down for re-election – faced with an angry electorate back home. As a result, Democratic majorities were in further 2010 danger and Democrats pushed healthcare even faster – after all, they only had a few months left. That’s when the Democrats blew it once and for all. In a vicious cycle, the harder Democrats pushed for a healthcare bill, the more endangered their Senators and Congressmen became.
Scott Brown is the very product of the dysfunctional Democratic healthcare reforms he will end.
By closing the doors on healthcare negotiations, and ram-rodding an unpopular plan through the Senate, national Democrats stoked populist ire in even their most loyal state. In essence, because the Democrats tried to force the cards on healthcare, they’ve lost any real chance they had on ever passing it.
Brown didn’t get elected because the Democrats are in trouble – the Democrats are in trouble because he got elected. Any attempt to re-work the healthcare bill into something that the American people will actually want and accept can now be credited to Republican pressure – and the GOP can steal the mantle of reform from Obama – setting up GOP rising stars McDonnell and Brown as political golden boys.
Scott Brown is not an aberration. The soon to be Senator from Massachusetts is an equal and opposite reaction to a healthcare plan that no matter how the Democrats spin it, and no matter how badly they want it, remains unpopular with the public, and toxic to the touch for any aspiring candidate. No one can successfully campaign on it, Democrats must campaign around it, and Republicans are now three-for-three when campaigning against it.
The people, as they should be, are reacting against a government pushing a plan that is simply against popular will – and the people are now headed straight down I-95 for Washington, in Scott Brown’s beat-up old pickup truck.