Thursday, January 21, 2010

The real meaning of the Democrats' loss of their 60th Senate seat


What is the real meaning of the Democrats' loss of their 60th Senate seat this week, with Republican Scott Brown winning the Massachusetts seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy?

It is yet another item in the “charge sheet” against the American way of politics and policy-making. Consider that in the Obama Administration we have a government that, along with its legislative majorities, was endorsed by substantial majorities of the electorate just over a year ago. Yet it now seems likely that its entire agenda has pivoted from marginally probable to be implemented to virtually vetoed. On the outcome of a special election for one seat in one house in one state just one year into its tenure.

It is worth noting that the current government is the first government in the USA to have popular majorities backing both it and its legislative majorities in quite some time (since 1976; no Republican Senate majority in at least five decades has been backed by a popular majority and Clinton never won over 50% of the vote). But that does not matter. One might think that elections should matter -- that is, national elections -- and that governments endorsed by majorities might be generally able to implement their programs. Well, at least that is what one might think if one were a committed small-d democrat. Or a committed progressive.

I wonder when -- if -- progressives will ever come to the recognition that a progressive agenda is simply doomed if we do not break free of the straitjacket of our 18th century political institutions.

It's not the economy. It's not health care. It's not even the global climate. It's political reform, stupid!

More at the "American Political Reform" block at Fruits & Votes, and at my home blog's Mission Statement.

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  • Oh, poor baby - Constitution got you down! Massachusetts independents not behaving. Maybe Obama should make himself Prez for life and suspens the legislature -- what a bothersome group.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:47 PM  

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