In Massachusetts last night, Scott Brown (R) beat Martha Coakley (D), the lackluster candidate with the poorly-run campaign, to win the Senate seat held for almost a half century by Ted Kennedy (D). It was predicted to happen for more than a week before the election. And I'm almost glad it did.
This was not about health care; Massachusetts already has a more liberal health care program than is being considered in Congress. Almost 99% of Massachusetts residents are already covered! It was not about wanting a Republican; Brown never identified with the Republican party, but rather with independents, who cast the overwhelming deciding vote. And Brown is, in some respects, rather liberal: he's in favor of gay rights and in favor of a woman's right to choose!
It was mainly about voters being disgusted with the status quo: not enough of the change that was promised. Yes, President Obama inherited the biggest mess of any president of our lifetime. But the fact that the economy is mending so slowly, and unemployment remains a problem added to the voters' frustration. Even though the exorbitant bailouts began during the Bush administration, people seeing arrogant Wall Street failures receiving millions in bonuses leaves voters justifiably angry.
Is it better to lose one Senate seat now than dozens in both Houses in November? Of course, if something is learned from the experience and changes are made. Congress and the President must work together to accomplish some form of health care, and get the economy back on track. Fight against the banks and their obscene bonuses and fight for jobs. Let Americans know that the Democrats are really on their side and not fighting for multi-billion dollar corporations as the Republicans are. Vote together to accomplish goals. Forget working with Republicans. They won't go along with anything. Their only goal is to make the Democrats fail and regain the majority.
One thing Republicans are good at is sticking together. No matter how ridiculous their ideas were, no matter how low Bush and Cheney's approval ratings were (28% and 17% respectively), they marched in lockstep.
Is it fair to expect a complete turnaround in President Obama's first year after 8 years of neglect and destructive policies? Of course not, but that's where we are right now.
In November, a continued anti-incumbent mood could spell disaster for hundreds of Republicans as well as Democrats in the House and Senate.