Friday, January 22, 2010

Stop the insanity! (Stop the insane Republican narrative about Obama and Massachusetts.)

Here's another example of the insane narrative emerging from Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts on Tuesday -- from a leading German publication, Der Spiegel:

US President Barack Obama suffered a painful defeat in Massachusetts on Tuesday. With mid-term elections looming, it means that Obama will have to fundamentally re-think his political course. German commentators say it is the end of hope.

US President Barack Obama has had a number of difficult weeks during his first year in the White House.

Please... Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

First, Obama didn't lose, Martha Coakley did. She was a horrible, gaffe-prone candidate who fell into the trap of invincible inevitability. And she lost to a right-wing Republican masquerading as an independent and moderate, a former nude model with an attractive family. When he said in his victory speech that he drives a truck, he was pretty much identifying his sole qualification for getting elected. That and the fact that he recites Republican propaganda without sneering too much. Republicans have tried to turn the "special election" into a national referendum on Obama, and on the Democratic legislative agenda in Congress, but the outcome of the election had more to do with the candidates themselves and with a general anti-incumbent (that is, anti-party-in-power) mood at a time of relatively high unemployment and widespread economic insecurity and fear than with, say, health-care reform, which remains hugely popular in Massachusetts. The state actually has a well-regarded system already in place, "Romneycare," named after former Republican Gov. (and presidential aspirant) Mitt Romney.) Republicans and their media mouthpieces refrain from mentioning this awkward fact when spinning Brown's win to fit their anti-Obama narrative.

(Isn't it amusing how Republicans are focusing on Massachusetts like it's the true national bellweather? It isn't, of course, and Republicans generally think of it as one of the most un-American states in the union. Their use and abuse of it now, as if the people of Massachusetts are all-wise, is dishonest and cynical.)

Second, Obama has actually had a fairly successful first year in office. I won't get into details here, but see my post responding to Jacob Weisberg's piece at Slate on "Obama's Brilliant First Year." Undeniably -- and by the president's own admission -- there have been some mistakes. And there have been some missteps, as well as some policies with which I disagree (the Afghan surge, Bush-like national security secrecy, economic policies, including the Wall Street bailout, devised by Wall Street insiders for the benefit of their pals on Wall Street). I have been sharply critical of the president, as have many others, including many of his supporters, but there is a certain revisionism going on now, and it's pretty much getting the past year wrong. Again, though, this is part of the Republican narrative: Obama has been a failure (except when he's done too much, been too successful, undermined America with his socialist/fascist ideology, etc.).

Enough already.

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  • "Isn't it amusing how Republicans are focusing on Massachusetts like it's the true national bellweather? It isn't, of course, and Republicans generally think of it as one of the most un-American states in the union. Their use and abuse of it now, as if the people of Massachusetts are all-wise, is dishonest and cynical."

    It's not a swing state, but it swung anyway. THAT'S the bellweather. And you know it, whatever comforting lies you tell yourself.

    By Anonymous Aaron, at 11:05 AM  

  • Stickings - stop the nonsense! Coakley ran a poor campaign, but she is generally well-liked in Massachusetts. She won as Middlesex County D.A. a few years ago. She EASILY won statewide as AG in 2006. She received over 40% of the vote in the Democratic primary for Senate that was a four way race. Obviously Obama did not "lose" in the sense that he was not on the ballot.

    But don't let your few years at Tufts delude you into thinking you know Massachusetts. I've lived here my whole life and I've got a few years on you. I grew up in a "lonely" Republican family. Massachusetts is "reflexively" Democratic. Weld and Romney were startling exceptions. And don't forget, Bill Weld, in 1990, ran to the LEFT of John Silber. But in the end, Massachusetts is not really all that liberal (except in Cambridge and Amherst), but Democratic, just like yahoo Red Sox fans, myself among them, always wanting the Yankees to "suck." I simply know far, far too many people who voted for Obama (and many of these same people also voted for Kerry and Gore) who voted for Brown, because they are not happy with Obama's spending and the proposed healthcare bill(s). That is simply the truth and you have to face up to it.

    Treating people like idiots who need to be told yet again why we need nationalized health care is insulting, but this is the classic mentality of true liberals who look down their noses at those among us who drive pick-up trucks. Years ago, it was the Republican party that seemed to be filled with the rich, stuck-up elitists. Now, too many Democrats are this way and people don't like it.

    And by the way, simply because you don't like Scott Brown's ideology, does not make him ANY less qualified to be a U.S. Senator than a certain former Illinois state senator was in 2004.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:15 PM  

  • Obama qualifications to reform health care:

    No birth certificate

    Can not stop smoking

    Difficulty telling the truth.

    Narcissistic personality disorder

    Therefore, I Igor produce Obama Birth Certificate at

    Compare Obama Care vs Igor Care at Igor Care vs Obama care

    By Blogger IgorMarxo, at 7:11 PM  

  • Aaron. It "swung" only because of the specifics of one specific race. It didn't swing because it's turning purple. Virginia it ain't.

    Igor -- whatever. Stop with the moronic right-wing bullshit.

    And Anonymous: I don't claim to "know" Massachusetts, and I am fully aware it isn't the progressive paradise some seem to think it is. Vermont it ain't. It's "old-school" Democratic, with voters who are traditional Democrats. You know that. I know that. It's full of the sort of Democrats who liked Reagan, and, in a time of economic uncertainty, it's hardly surprising that many, including independents, went with the out-of-power party.

    And yes, Coakley may be "generally well-liked," but it's pretty clear she ran a horrible campaign. And while you may know a lot of people who voted for both Obama and Brown, polls show that health-care reform is extremely popular there. And it's not nationalized health-care, it's a moderate reform package that was designed to appease moderates and even to appeal across the aisle (with features that many Republicans like).

    And, sorry, but Scott Brown is no Barack Obama. You may think that's just great, but we're only one year into Obama's presidency, he's had to put up with a divided Democratic Party and an obstructionist Republican Party, and I think he's done pretty well.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 11:36 PM  

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