The thought of a Republican replacing the late Ted Kennedy in the United States Senate would be laughable if it weren’t so scary. Massachusetts is perhaps the most liberal state in America. Only some 15 percent of the state’s population admit to being Republican.
The last Republican senator from Massachusetts was Edward Brooke, who served two terms before being defeated in 1978. Democrats hold all 10 of the state’s U.S. House seats. Republicans didn’t field candidates for six 2008 House races and, in four contested districts, their nominees lost by at least 40 points.
So you would think that Democratic attorney general Martha Coakley would be a shoo-in for Tuesday’s special election to fill Ted Kennedy’s seat. But somehow she has managed to let Republican candidate Scott Brown, a Massachusetts state senator, take the lead in the latest poll.
That’s the same Scott Brown who posed naked for Cosmopolitan Magazine back in 1982 (photo at right). How’s that for a true-blue conservative with solid family values?
The pundits are blaming Coakley’s lackluster campaign for this astounding turn of events. They also note that there’s an “anti-incumbent” mood in America. No kidding.
I would put it a lot more forcefully. People are mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it any more. Americans are tired of being punked, as the kids would say.
One reason for the fury is that their elected representatives have given the key to the national treasury to a gang of crooks posing as financial experts, and trillions of dollars are missing.
You know the story. The smart guys at AIG, Goldman Sachs, Citibank, etc. got hundreds of billions of tax dollars to repay investors who bought securities based on worthless mortgages. Nobody knows just where the tax money went but the financial institutions ended up making record profits and handing out multimillion-dollar bonuses to their executives. A bemused Congress is finally holding hearings and the Justice Department is finally investigating whether there was some hanky-panky going on.
Then there was the health care “reform” mess, which revealed how much influence the insurance industry has bought in Congress. You would have to be hiding in a cave not to realize by now that most elected representatives in America – Democrats as well as Republicans – vote according to the will of their major campaign contributors. The public is so turned off by the wheeling and dealing in Congress that support for health care reform – once quite popular – has all but evaporated.
If Brown wins, Democrats would lose the 60-vote Senate majority needed to finally pass the health-care bill. But the people of Massachusetts don’t seem to care about that. The state has its own health insurance program, for one thing. For another, people are sick of the endless squabbling over “reform.” They’re ready to turn off the whole ugly “debate.”
Of course, voters know that the way things work in Washington is not new. They know Barack Obama and the Democrats didn’t introduce the rampant flimflammery spotlighted by the health care row. That’s the way it was under Bush and the Republicans. Indeed, it has been that way for a very long time.
But the election of a Democratic president and a huge majority in the House and Senate hasn’t changed things that much, either. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner acts a lot like his predecessor Hank Paulson, and a lot of the Bush and Clinton insiders have turned up in Obama’s administration.
Voters are asking what happened to the “change we can believe in” that Obama promised. And it looks as if they’re ready to take matters into their own hands.
If Coakley survives the scare in Massachusetts, the Democrats would be wise to get the message, anyway. American voters have had it with “business as usual” in Washington. They’ re sick to death of elected representatives selling their votes and lobbyists writing legislation. They’re ready to kick everybody out and start over.