Epic Facepalm

Posted: 20 January 2010 in indecision 2010, obamanation, politics, republicans

I know I haven’t updated here in a while, but not for lack of things to update about.  Things to write about assail me hourly, but I just haven’t had the time or the patience to write them down.  Chances are, this won’t change anytime soon, so YOU TAKE WHAT YOU CAN GET.

Anyway, Massachusetts.  This special election to put a warm body where Ted Kennedy used to sit (saying “fill his seat” is wrong – no one could do that) has been a clusterfuck of epic proportions for the “majority” party.  Someone call Mitch McConnell, he is apparently the majority leader now that the Republicans have that long-sought-after 41 seat edge in the Senate.

I keep hearing from political pundits both large and small, insane and level-headed, ridiculed and trusted that this was a national referendum on the Democratic leadership, President Obama, liberalism, and any number of other things.  While some of that might be partially true, they have all forgotten that All Politics Is Local.  The Democrats once again shat forth an unappealing candidate who ran hard to the center and lost the voters.  Of course, Martha Coakley was the mistress of unappealing.  I’m not going to get into reasons why people should or should not have voted for her, or what malfeasance her opponent was guilty of or why people should or should not have voted for him.  What is important here is that Coakley offended things people care about.  If you’re running for statewide office in Massachusetts and you don’t know that Curt Schilling is one of the Red Sox’ faithful cherished heroes, and you don’t know the difference between the Sox and the Yankees, don’t say anything about it (this is probably more important advice than don’t fuck hookers).  If you despise baseball fans and hate the cold, don’t mention that to the press during January right before baseball season starts.  If you are incapable of assembling a team that can spell the name of your state correctly, don’t run for office.

Now, both parties take their core constituencies for granted.  Democrats know that African Americans are going to vote for them.  Republicans know that Evangelicals are going to vote for them.  They pander to these crowds and do not a damn thing for them when elected.  The voters of Massachusetts were apparently fed up with being treated as one of these core constituencies.  Everyone knows that these people vote Democratic, but what no one in the Democratic party managed to realize was that these people actually vote Kennedy.  They vote for passionate, principled, flawed, human leaders who will take stands and look out for them.  Presented with a candidate who appeared to be none of that, they chose “guy in a truck who got naked in a magazine.”  Lesser of two evils?  They chose the lesser of two insults.

Now, there is this concept of national referendum.  Polls seem to suggest that every time Harry Reid opened his pie hole, Martha Coakley’s numbers dropped.  This probably has something to do with the perception among voters that Reid was going to be wearing Coakley on his hand like a sock puppet.  That’s not so much a rebuke of Reid as it is a rebuke of the candidate – they wanted someone who was going to look out for them, and they saw someone who was going to look out for everyone but them.  So, why not go with the guy who’s willing to show some skin?  At worst, they get to spend three years ogling him before they replace him with someone more appealing with Coakley.

That issue with Reid, however, is pretty appalling.  But I don’t drop the blame at his feet entirely.   There’s Hoyer, Pelosi and Obama to blame as well!  58 Democratic seats in the Senate and a majority in the house, and this is not enough?  Say what you will about George W. Bush, but he easily enacted a conservative agenda with only 48 Republicans in the Senate in his first year.  He started blowing the surplus like a drunken sailor within months of taking office.  Sure, he had some help turning the country into a war-besotted police state 9 months in, but he was already well underway.  What has Obama done?  Sure, there are some good pieces of legislation he signed (Lilly Ledbetter, Ryan White, etc…), but where are the big guns?  Where is healthcare?  He campaigned on this, and then ignored it.  “We need to get it done!  I want a bill to sign by August!  September!  October!  Christmas!  Next year!  Whenever you get around to it!”  Microsoft announced and released Windows 7 in less time, and when your legislative agenda is being compared to a Microsoft release schedule, you’re a moron.

Seriously, was this what we elected?  Did I expect Obama to fix the world in a year?  No.  Did I expect him to use the power that controlling both chambers provides?  YES YES YES.  Has he done that?  NOT EVEN CLOSE.  He hasn’t engaged in the healthcare debate.  He hasn’t thrown his weight around.  He had mountains of political capital and failed to realize that it doesn’t just sit there for eternity – spend it or lose it.  Bush knew what political capital meant.  He understood that he could literally steal an election, lose the popular vote, and still lead.  Egregious abuses of power could be spun for the good of the nation even if there was no threat.  Obama has failed to realize that, and in doing so, he’s condemned himself to being a half-assed president.  He will likely beat the piss out of whatever crap the Republicans send up in 2012, but it won’t be the flensing he handed McCain.   Chances are, his majorities in both chambers will be gone by then, and he’ll just sink into even more ineffective leadership.

We elected a guy who fired us up.  He has failed to keep the fire going, and when Team Blue dropped someone on Massachusetts who failed to fire the crowds up, they just wandered off.

All Politics Is Local.   But when everyone’s local looks bland, don’t expect bland from the top to help the situation.


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