Day: January 20, 2010

Something Forgotten After Massachusetts Election: The Democrats Still Have A Vast Majority!

As the nation and the political parties adjust and react to the reality of Scott Brown’s victory for the Senate seat in Massachusetts formerly held by Ted Kennedy, it is easy for Democrats to panic and forget the reality that exists today!

That is, the Democrats have a tremendous majority in both houses of Congress–79 seats in the House (257-178) and 18 seats in the Senate (59-41).

You would think from the political commentary and rhetoric going on today that somehow the Democrats have lost control of Congress and any chance to accomplish any part of their agenda.

That is not so, as while there may have to be compromises made on health care, it does not mean that nothing can be accomplished on this issue.

It does not mean that the President should drop his other plans for domestic reform on energy and the environment and regulatory reform.

How easily many forget that even in the Senate, it is not essential to have to gain 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, because there is another tactic that has been used plenty by the GOP when they controlled Congress from 1994-2006. That is the method called RECONCILIATION, which only requires a 51 vote margin in the Senate, a bare majority, to accomplish action.

President George W. Bush used it to promote his economic plans in 2001, 2003, and 2005, and even had to utilize Vice President Dick Cheney’s tie breaking vote twice to pass his agenda into law.

Imagine that: 51-50 votes twice, and now somehow, it is claimed we cannot have that happen on Obama’s health care plans, but indeed, it CAN be done and MUST be pursued!

It is, of course, preferable to promote bipartisanship and cooperation when possible, but it is clear that the GOP has no desire to do anything of the sort, so with some minor concessions, the Democrats and President Obama CAN accomplish many of their goals and overcome the effect of the election of Senator Scott Brown and the loss of the so called “filibuster proof” majority of 60 votes!

The Halo Around Scott Brown: A Need For Realism!

Scott Brown, the newly elected Senator from Massachusetts, has a halo around him today, as he is the man of the hour and could in theory kill health care reform in the Senate, now that the Republicans have 41 votes in the Senate and could, if they remain united, filibuster any legislation on the subject and many others.

Some are even suggesting that Scott Brown, with his good looks and charisma and beautiful family, could be a potential candidate for President in 2012!

But before we go awry on this concept, realize something that Scott Brown has to know in his heart. That is that he faces election for a full term in the Senate in 34 months, and while he won a convincing victory by five points last night in a special election, he certainly knows that the Democrats will be targeting him for 2012, a Presidential election year, and he will have the battle of his life to keep the seat he has gained for now.

With the conservative record he possesses, can one really think that Massachusetts, still a “blue” state more than most in a section of the country known to be more “liberal” than the rest of the country, will actually reelect him to a full term, if he votes and speaks as a right winger? He has shown in the past that he has reactionary views on race and gender and has no interest in social or economic reform. Even the Republican senators who served in the last century from Massachusetts–including Edward Brooke (the first African American elected Senator), Leverett Saltonstall, and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. were moderate to liberal, rather than conservative!

Has Massachusetts by this vote suddenly become “red” (Republican) and will repudiate its past of such moderates as the above, plus the contributions of the Kennedys, John Kerry, Paul Tsongas, and all of its ten liberal Democratic congressmen? I would have to say that to imagine that is to be hallucinatory! 🙂

So the career of Scott Brown in the US Senate is bound to be very short lived indeed!

Anniversary Of The Obama Presidency: Something To Celebrate? YES!

One year ago today, I nearly froze to death as an observer in Washington, D. C. at the inauguration of the Obama Presidency! I was proud to be a witness to history, and everyone of the two million people at the inauguration had great hopes for the future with this new, young President who was extremely articulate and charismatic.

Now, a year later, the halo is off, and reality has set in: It is easier to be elected as President, as hard as that is, than it is to govern and accomplish one’s goals and programs.

A fair appraisal of the Obama Presidency after one year would have to say that he has accomplished a great deal, but has also been disappointing in many ways. But then again, could one really have expected anything else? When one looks at any President while he is in office, as well after he has left the White House, there is always a record of what one might call “a mixed bag”. Running a government is difficult, and there are always many critics and opponents who are out to undermine success and promote defeat.

Much has been said by the author about the various challenges and actions by President Obama during the past year, and assessments have been made in some detail throughout the year.

I will summarize that I believe Barack Obama has accomplished a grade of B at this point, with the possibility of improvement to a higher grade over time. Certainly, the shocking election of Scott Brown as the successor to Ted Kennedy’s seat last night dims the celebration of the anniversary of Obama’s taking the oath of office, but it is also a wake up call for both Obama and the Democrats. One cannot assume that one election is a trend for November, but the one way for the Democrats to gain traction is to fight for what they believe in, rather than cave in and give up the fight for health care reform and other domestic changes.

The President has his heart in the right place, and his foreign policy direction is promising and inspiring. His view on civil liberties is to be applauded. I think as long as the Democrats and Barack Obama focus on the creation of economic recovery and the job situation shows improvement, then he and his party will see their losses in November be smaller than one might think based on the euphoria in Republican circles over the Scott Brown victory.

So overall, Mr. President, congratulations on a good job, but become more aggressive and determined in your commitment to change, and show the American people that ultimately you and your party are the true party of change and the middle class, and that the Republicans only wish to promote fear and division, and have no real plans for economic recovery or domestic reform. Carry your head high and keep the commitment to what you believe in, and ultimately, it will lead to triumph!