Analysis: GOP sees Mass. win as stop sign for Dems
WASHINGTON — Reeling from the loss of a long-held Massachusetts Senate seat, Democrats are rethinking the lessons of Barack Obama’s 2008 election, with the GOP cheerfully suggesting they scale back their ambitions and agenda.
Republican Scott Brown’s win in a liberal state will do more than vastly complicate Obama’s bid to overhaul the U.S. health care system. It will send his party into a painful re-examination of voters’ anger and desires ahead of the November elections for Congress, governorships and state legislatures.
Questions will include whether Americans really want more government help in matters such as obtaining health insurance, even though Obama campaigned on that very issue.
Most immediately, Brown’s win Tuesday over Martha Coakley to replace the late Edward M. Kennedy will deprive Democrats of a filibuster-proof Senate majority. That could kill the Democrats’ effort to revamp health care unless House Democrats reluctantly embrace a previously passed Senate version that many of them dislike. It would require no new Senate action, although liberal groups might be furious.
Gleeful Republicans warned against such a move. The message from Massachusetts, said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., is: “Go back to the drawing board” on health care.
Democrats didn’t go quite that far, but some were clearly chastened.
“In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process,” said Sen. James Webb, D-Va. He urged that “we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Sen.-elect Brown is seated.”
Democrats may spend months trying to divine the lessons of Tuesday’s setback. Many of them saw the 2008 election as a repudiation of George W. Bush’s presidency, with Obama as the fresh new leader promising to harness the government to expand health coverage, discipline banks and stimulate the moribund economy.
But Brown’s victory suggests that many voters still harbor suspicions or outright resentment of the federal government, no matter who’s in charge.
Conservatives, perhaps sensing the mood better than liberals, have accused Obama of Big Brotherism and even socialism as he pushes his health plan and pours billions of dollars into economic stimulus programs.
The president rightly notes that he campaigned precisely on those issues. But that’s small comfort to nervous and perplexed Democratic lawmakers who now expect stiff anti-incumbent winds in November and heightened GOP attacks against big government.
It’s unclear how much Democrats will change their tactics.
CtPatriot….The Tide is turning on the Progressives
Leave a comment
No comments yet.