Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Coakley/Brown: Holding my nose and voting

Scott Brown supporters have taken over the local news forums in the last week, outnumbering Coakley supporters, who I can only hope are saving their breath for getting their less politically active friends committed to voting.  I'll be walking around the corner later this morning and voting-- for Coakley.

I don't blame the majority of Brown voters for feeling unrepresented and as if their core concerns are being ignored by the majority political party.  That's the way Democrats felt for the eight years of George Bush!  Of course, Republicans would benefit from health care reform, stronger environmental laws and other Democratic agenda items, whereas, as a Democrat, I can't think of a single way I benefited from Bush's presidency.  He left us with wars, economic collapse and a near total neglect of the environment. It's always amazed me how short people's memory can be.

My disappointment with Obama and many of the Democrats is not what they have done, but what they haven't done.  On Sunday, NYTimes columnist Paul Krugman captured my feelings pretty well.
The Obama administration’s troubles are the result not of excessive ambition, but of policy and political misjudgments. The stimulus was too small; policy toward the banks wasn’t tough enough; and Mr. Obama didn’t do what Ronald Reagan, who also faced a poor economy early in his administration, did — namely, shelter himself from criticism with a narrative that placed the blame on previous administrations.
 For me, Obama hasn't been radical enough.  Krugman suspects that Obama really did have a belief that such as thing as bipartisanship could still exist in Washington, D.C., and that he wanted to make it possible for Republicans to support health care reform.  But let's face it-- no plan Obama comes up with is going to win Republican support, because they're more interested in seeing Obama fail than in assuring U.S. citizens have health care.  If you want some sense of how impossible bipartisan support has become, check out  Thomas Geoghegan's column on the filibuster.

Here in Massachusetts, where we already have health care, maybe it's easy for the state's Republicans to forget.  I have been and will continue to be a critic of our commonwealth's system.  Yet, in spite of the cost, I've had health care when I most needed it.

What I don't have, however, is a job.  I'm more than half-way through my unemployment benefits and getting a little scared.  And as an opponent of a biomass incinerator in Springfield, I'm unhappy that the Obama administration is so gung-ho for biomass.   But I do believe that the administration is open to the truth-- something I never felt under Bush.  And with the impossibility of bipartisanship, a vote for Scott Brown, who proudly proclaims himself as a spoiler, we can forget about health care.

I'm not a fan of Martha Coakley.  But I'm voting for her.  I have no alternative.

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