Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Game Over in Massachusetts

Yesterday we published a piece called "Game On in Massachusetts". Well, as you can see from the headline above, the game is over in Massachusetts and we lost. Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley lost by about 2% of the vote. So now the junior Senator from Massachusetts is a Scott Brown who is determined to take America back to the Bush-Cheney years.

Now, part of the blame can be laid on Coakley herself. According to an online article, while Brown conducted 66 campaign events between the primary and election day, she only held 19. She came across as elitist and out of touch. Combine her campaign style with a bad economy, and it is easy to see why she lost.

Part of the problem is the way the Democrats handled health care. The Senate took way too long to pass the legislation; the need to get all 60 Senators who caucus with the Democrats to vote in favor of cutting off debate meant that conservative Dems like Nelson, Landrieu, and Lieberman had an enormous influence on the final product. This led to a dropping of the public option and pork-barrel politics that wasn't pretty to watch.

So was the refusal of the Obama administration to put the argument for the health-care reform issue in moral terms. For some reason, Democrats are reluctant to do that, while no such reluctance hinders their opponents. This is rather amazing because the moral argument is easy to make.

Studies from respected institutions like the Harvard Medical School put the number of Americans who die because of a lack of health insurance at 18,000 to 44,000 per year. This means that at least six times the number of people who died on 9-11 die each year because of how we structure medical care in this country.

So, this is what Republicans who oppose the Democrats on health care are for:

-Thousands of people needlessly dying
-Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions
-Medical bankruptcies
-Families devastated by uninsured illnesses

They recognize the political vulnerability of their position. You can tell it from the mantra they keep repeating, "We aren't against health care reform, we are just against this health care reform. We want to do it right." Which was exactly what Brown said last night during his victory speech. Only, guess what, he never tells you what that health care reform would look like because they don't have a plan. The shock isn't that Republicans campaign by being nihilists, the problem is that we don't call them on it.

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