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Yesterday, the voters of Massachusetts chose to fill Senator Ted Kennedy's old seat with a Tea Party Republican, Scott Brown.
Digby posted a part of Scott Brown's victory speech...
"Our tax dollars should go to weapons to defeat [terrorists] not lawyers to defend them."
"Raising taxes and giving new rights to terrorists is the wrong agenda for our country."
With wingnut boilerplate like that, there's not much doubt about what kind of senator Mr. Scott Brown will become. Brown campaigned bragging about how he, personally, would kill the health care reform legislation.
Because our system of government gives more power to the minority in one chamber of Congress, Scott Brown will now be able to cast the 41st "just say no" vote to stop health care reform from moving forward.
59 senators can vote "yes"....but if 41 say "no"....the minority rules.
Just how it is.
When a Democrat is president, Republicans only need 41 senators to stop just about anything from being accomplished. When a Republican is president, Republicans only need 34 senators to stop a Congressional override of a Republican president's veto. In either situation, the minority rules. Republicans, though mostly in the minority in modern times, have been able to stop most progressive legislation by gaming the system.
Without any moderate Republicans left in Congress, and with Republicans gaining the 41st "just say no" vote last night.......the best President Obama will be able to accomplish moving forward will be Republican-lite intitiatives. The Tea Partiers, incoherent in their protest parties, irrational and hypocritical in their deficit bashing......the Tea Partiers, with celebrity speaker/leaders like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann.....now run the country.
I wished I could think of something, you know, positive to say about our national political situation, especially in light of the news out of Massachusetts last night....but I can't.
Why would Massachusetts voters place a "just say no to Democratic legislation", Tea Partier in a senate seat held for over 4 decades by the Senate's "liberal lion?" The only reasonable answer I can come up with is Scott Brown's promise to stop national health care reform legislation from being enacted.
I am informed that Massachusetts has more registered independent voters than either Republican or Democrat. Massachusetts independents, apparently hopeful that Brown would prevent national health reform from being enacted, were most responsible yesterday for filling Teddy's old seat with a Tea Partier Republican.
Here's the health care those Massachusetts citizens now enjoy....
April 4, 2006.....
The Massachusetts legislature approved a bill Tuesday that would require all residents to purchase health insurance or face legal penalties, which would make this the first state to tackle the problem of incomplete medical coverage by treating patients the same way it does cars.
Gov. Mitt Romney (R) supports the proposal, which would require all uninsured adults in the state to purchase some kind of insurance policy by July 1, 2007, or face a fine. Their choices would be expanded to include a range of new and inexpensive policies -- ranging from about $250 per month to nearly free -- from private insurers subsidized by the state.
Massachusetts Republicans and independents already have health care for their state's citizens handled.....curiously, with a plan that resembles the one Obama and the Democrats have proposed for the entire country. Is what happened last night in Massachusetts simply a case of "we have ours, so to hell with the rest of ya'?"
How is it that a Republican Tea Party senatorial candidate could win in a former blue state, by running on a campaign to defeat a national version of what Massachusetts has already passed into law less than 4 years ago? Doesn't make much sense.
Tea Partiers will insist that Brown won because of deficits, or government spending, or that Democrats can't keep us safe, or socialism....or something....or anything.
However, I have my own take....
In the same way that conservative celebrity Sarah Palin is popular with Tea Party types and independents, simply because she is an attractive teevee celebrity...so too Scott Brown.
That's why this 1982 photo was circulated in a timely manner....
Couple that lowest-common-denominator photo "bait" with this....
Until recently, he was probably the third most famous person in his family. His wife, Gail Huff, is a Boston TV news reporter, while one of his two daughters was an American Idol contestant.
...and it appears that Massachusetts independent voters went to the polls yesterday to vote for their own "American Idol" reality-teevee-family candidate.
This is America, and Massachusetts voters have every right. Whether Scott Brown is a nut who thinks Barack Obama's parents were not married doesn't factor in to the equation. Whether Scott Brown will be a reliable "just say no" senator to everything except what enriches the already rich doesn't enter the minds of Massachusetts voters.
What Massachusetts voters know is that they now will be sending one of their own "American Idol-Politics" contestants to the U.S. Senate.