The unlikely ascendancy of a former Cosmopolitan Magazine nude centerfold to
succeed Edward M. Kennedy as United States Senator from the State of
Massachusetts is being trumpeted as a triumph for the Republican Party, a rebuke
of Barack Obama's presidency, and the end of the line for health care reform. In
fact, it was the only chance the republicans had, and they capitalized on it.
Having been voted all but out of Washington entirely, the nearly all-white Republican Party saw this as a magic bullet against an overwhelming Democratic majority in both houses and the White House. For the Democrats, pride and tradition were at stake, for the Republicans, it was their very political survival. This round went to the Republicans.
Why the Republicans Are in the Minority
Scott Brown admonished Edward M. Kennedy's widow, Victoria
Reggie Kennedy, on whose Senate seat was at issue in the special election
saying, "it's the people's seat." True, is was the people's seat yesterday
morning, this morning however it's another seat for the health care industry.
Make no mistake about it; Mr. Senator Brown will sell his vote to the health care industry just as quickly as he sold his posterior to Cosmopolitan Magazine. That is how the Republican Party became the prohibitive minority to begin with.
The 60 Senate Vote Excuse
What are the Democrats to do now that they only have control of
both houses of Congress and the White House? That's quite a conundrum to be
sure. Quickly checking their records they might note that they were swept into
those landslide majorities with a mandate for change. A change and departure
from the draconian policies of the Bush years to be specific.
The mandate was for: demilitarization, reining in Wall Street, social justice and yes, you guessed it, reform of the for-profit health care industry. By ignoring, or reinterpreting that mandate into a philosophy of pleasing everyone, including the profiteers, the Obama administration and the Democrats left their base at home on the way to the party. And that's where their base stayed on election day in Massachusetts -- at home.
The "Mr. Brown goes to Washington so now nothing can get passed
because we don't have 60 votes in the Senate" excuse is as tired as it is
untrue. "51" votes are required to pass legislation in the Senate, not "60". Yes
the minority can filibuster/derail, but those tactics can be overcome by a
determined, significantly larger majority with the will to do so. It is in fact
the will to do so that is and has been lacking on the part of Senate Democrats.
The Republicans during the Bush years passed some of the most anti-American and socially destructive legislation in US history by simple majority. They had the will to do so, at one point even threatening to change Senate rules to eliminate filibustering entirely if they didn't get what they wanted " and it worked, it worked.
60 votes in the Senate are unrealistic, unnecessary and don't
even exist now. The current supposed 60 Democratic Senator voting bloc includes
Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson and others who demand that any legislation they vote
for meet the Republican, military, for-profit standard before they will support
There really aren't and never have been 60 Senators voting as a bloc, and certainly not with any respect for the will of the mandate produced during the 2008 election. So by all means pass the legislation that needs to be passed with a simple majority. Let those who want to oppose it do so - but not secretly or quietly, make sure their opposition is quite public - and let the chips fall where they may.
The Democrats are now proposing to abandon the public interest, abandon the mandate they have been charged with, in the hopes that they can save their jobs as servants of the same voters whose interests are at stake. That will not work.
The Time has come to show resolve, backbone. Mr. Senator Brown be damned.