Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Elect Scott Brown to the Senate -- Put a vital check on the one-party monopoly of power in Washington

Scott Brown, running for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts

In the special election to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Ted Kennedy next Tuesday (January 19), I hope Massachusetts voters will elect the GOP candidate, Scott Brown, for one compelling reason: to put a critically important check on the total monopoly of power now held by Democrats in Washington. By reducing the Senate Democrats' filibuster-proof majority by just one, the Democrats will have to work with at least a few Republicans -- or even just one -- to pass major legislation. And that's a good thing for the country, Massachusetts and, I would argue, the Democratic Party.

I'm a Democrat. But over the past year, it's become clear that holding total power, with the White House and huge majorities in both Houses of Congress, has caused the Democratic Party to go off the deep end. Democrats in Washington have forgotten that to make real progress, they must attract and hold the vital center in American politics -- the moderate and independent voters who gave Barack Obama the Presidency and provided the margin of victory for scores of Democrats in 2006 and 2008. Wielding big majorities, the leadership of the party has pushed a lot farther to the left on many issues than those voters want to go. In the process, politics being what it is, they have dragged the more moderate Democrats on Capitol Hill along.

No where is this more obvious than in the case of the Senate health care "reform" bill. As it stands, this wretched mishmosh of a "reform" will slash Medicare by a devastating half trillion dollars, impose heavy new taxes on union workers and middle class families fortunate enough to have so-called "Cadillac" plans, force young people to buy expensive insurance they may not want, and stick states already facing huge deficits with massive new unfunded mandates. Meanwhile, it will leave millions of the uninsured still uninsured and won't reduce health care costs but increase them, notwithstanding the phony 10-year accounting designed to make it look otherwise. Plus, the bill is filled with dodgy deals for individual Senators. Driven by the fervent wish of the party's left to achieve "reform," Congress is on the verge of enacting this monstrosity.

If the Senate leadership had been obliged to negotiate in good faith with even a single Republican -- say, Maine's Olympia Snowe, a smart, responsible moderate -- that process would have resulted in the elimination of many of the bill's faults and in some added improvements. Snowe did work with Democrats early on and voted to report a bill out of her committee. Then, she was shunted aside and humiliated so that not surprisingly, she opposes the current bill.

Electing Brown next week may not change the outcome on health care, since the Democratic leadership may find a way to push the bill through before he gets to Washington (or in a pinch, the House could pass the Senate version, eliminating the need for another Senate vote). But it will change the dynamic on Capitol Hill for the rest of the current Congressional session. Isn;t the essential ingredient of responsible bi-partisanship in our politics to make sure that both parties are really needed to some extent to make a decision?

Of course, the Democrats will still wield enormous power. It just won't be quite so unchecked. That's' good for everyone, including the Democratic Party. The way things are going now, Democrats will suffer a huge defeat in the 2010 elections, possibly even losing their majorities.

Brown's Democratic opponent, state Attorney General Martha Coakley, is the adequate but undistinguished candidate of the all-powerful but stultifyingly dull Massachusetts Democratic Party machine. No "Liberal Lioness," that's for sure, Coakley seemed ready a week ago to accept coronation and head to D.C. to cast votes robotically in tune with Harry Reid.

Brown is a smart, attractive, seasoned state legislator. He's a moderate conservative, a tax-conscious Republican cut pretty much from the same cloth as Mitt Romney, Chris Christie and other northeastern GOPers. He's pro-choice with narrow exceptions. He's not about to launch any Tea Party revolutions.

But the main thing about Scott Brown is this: Harry Reid will not have Brown's vote in his pocket.

What's you take on the race to fill Teddy seat? Post a comment.

Related: A new Rasmussen poll puts Brown and Coakley withing two points.

Much more about the Brown campaign at Legal Insurrection and Sissy Willis.

Welcome Sissy Willis readers.

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