Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Massachusetts Sends A Message

Yesterday the voters of the most liberal state in the country sent the president, the congress and the rest of the nation a very clear message: STOP! Slow down. Let's take a better look at this thing. And the 'thing' they're talking about is the issue of health care reform. Now the democrats no longer have the 60 vote majority they need to stop filibusters. Granted, Brown won by only 5% of the vote but when one considers the fact that it was Sen. Kennedy's seat in the Senate that was up for grabs and in Massachusetts of all places, then Brown's victory becomes even more meaningful. There's no question that Martha Coakley ran a terrible campaign by being too casual, over confident and just plain unprepared. But that's not the chief reason why she lost. The people of Massachusetts and indeed the nation are not prepared to accept the current rendition of what is being passed off as health care reform. In spite of what we're being told, it is very likely going to be an extremely expensive piece of legislation at what is currently the worst possible time. On top of that, there are precious few people who actually know what the bill says. People want the president and congress to slow down and exercise a little more care getting this done. The interesting part of all of this is going to be how the president handles it. He can do one of two things. The first thing he could do is become strident and petulant and insist things get done his way come hell or high water. Or, second, he could withdraw, regroup, concede he under estimated public sentiment on this issue and start over. What ever you may think of Barack Obama, you have to admit he is not stupid. He will no doubt take the second route and by doing so ultimately salvage his plan-although slightly different than he first envisioned. But that's what the system of checks and balances is all about. Point, counter point and eventually compromise. The next few weeks in American politics will be quite interesting (well, to me anyway). Let's see what happens.