The Blame Game

I’m stunned.

I can honestly say that I don’t hate Scott Brown. I admire his ability to hold a belief and stick to it, unlike the other recent Massachusetts Republican, Mitt Romney, who says one thing while courting the vote, then changes his opinion once in office (gay rights, abortion, etc…). At least Brown has said from the offset that he’s essentially against both things. I tend to disagree with him on every social issue, but also seem to agree with him on some (SOME) fiscal issues. But at least he’s consistent.

And Martha. Oh, Martha. I don’t fully blame you. Could you have run a better campaign? Absolutely. Perhaps if you pulled Vicki Kennedy into your commercials earlier than the week before the election it might have helped. Perhaps if your ads focused less on healthcare, especially as it was obvious to the rest of us that universal healthcare was scaring people. I’m not saying you should have backed down on your stance, but perhaps if you stressed it less.

In a way, (and I’m probably going to get banished from Massaschusetts like Roger Williams for saying this), Ted Kennedy himself is partly to blame here. He knew he was gravely ill but refused to step down (whether it was his determination to pass universal healthcare or ego…I suspect the latter). If he’d have stepped down when it became apparent  he wasn’t going to be around to do his job effectively, a replacement would have been voted in BEFORE the topic of universal healthcare became the issue that made Massachusetts a little more purple. As you saw over the past month, Scott Brown’s popularity skyrockets just in the past 4 weeks. If the election was last fall, I suspect the outcome would have been completely different.

Now, it’s probably obvious that I voted for Coakley. But that also doesn’t mean I love her. I, too, have issues with the universal healthcare proposal. Although i’m 100% for universal healthcare, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, i think the way Obama’s crew is going about it is all wrong. The timing is wrong (so rushed). The methods are wrong (it seems they’re just adding and removing stuff nilly-willy just to get it passed in any form). The organizing is wrong (people are scared of this proposal…isntead of blaming Republicans for it not going through, educate the people as to how it is a good thing).

They should be studying this issue for YEARS, learning how other countries do it effectively. You know, those other countries I mentioned yesterday that all have universal healthcare, all have lower health costs per citizen than the U.S., and who nearly all have longer life expectencies. If that chart/statistic appeared in a commercial for Martha Coakley, or was presented in a presidential state of the union address, people might realize that it ain’t so bad.

Instead, the American public runs on fear. Fear of the unknown. The elderly determined that they will get less medical attention or have their fates decided by death panels (seriously…how can that actually have been in the news?). The rich white guy determined that his money will go to support the health of illegal immigrants. The midle-class family determined that they will never be able to get an appointment to see a doctor because “in Canada and England you have to wait months to get in.” (For the record, I’ve lived in the Boston area for 20 years and it’s always taken me 3-7 months to get in for a physical exam, and referals to specialists have always taken a few weeks to a few months. Obiovusly, something already isn’t right here…and this existed long before Massachusetts implemented its own half-hearted healthcare plan).

Though, my main thing is this: I still don’t understand how a constituency who voted in Obama, whose main issues were the economy and universal healthcare, could now be so against universal healthcare. If you’re against it so much, if it scares you so much, why did you vote for the candidate who made such a big deal of it? Do you like the idea of change more than the reality?

Well, there’s always a positive side to this election: at least Scott Brown is more fun to look at than either Ted Kennedy or John Kerry.


  1. Comment by Mark on January 20, 2010 12:24 pm

    Good points, Karl. This isn’t the end of the world, as some of my Massachusetts friends have been moaning on Facebook.

    On the other hand, this is definitely a wake-up call to complacent politicians everywhere. ANYTHING could be the tinder that the spark touches and lights the fire.

    It remains to be seen what the future holds. After all, one year later, a lot of the shiny predictions for the Obama administration are tarnished. It’s easy to blame the Republicans, but the old saying about taking two to tango has never been so true. In a 50-50 world, it’s hard to make sweeping changes. And despite the euphoria in Washington with the 60-vote “filibuster-proof” majority in the Senate, when it comes down to it, senators and congressmen who make unpopular moves are vulnerable. Then again, as political commentators are just remembering, Obama actually has a larger majority in the Senate than Bush did when he passed all those measures the Democrats hate so much.

    So isn’t it all a matter of stating your case properly and making the sale? Rather than ramming it down people’s throats because you’re mightier than they are? Much more democratic, I’d say.

  2. Comment by Jeffrey on January 20, 2010 4:58 pm

    Howard Stern did a funny bit on this today. In his Ted Kennedy voice, which is hilarious on it’s own, he asked Martha Coakley if she needed a ride home.
    But seriously, I didn’t vote for him, but I do agree with him on abortion. On gay marriage, he believes it’s a state issue. Check this out.

  3. Comment by snarl on January 20, 2010 5:05 pm

    Hey, Jeff – thanks for commenting. While I’m relieved to hear that he believes it is a state issue, as a state senator, he did consistently vote against it.

    And on the federal level, DOMA may come up for repeal during the current presidential term. If that’s the case, I’m not so sure he’d support its repeal.

    Otherwise, I do agree wtih him on other things, I admit. Which is why I’m not as devastated as others over this. I’m just confused (as I stated in my second to last paragraph of this blog)

  4. Comment by Zach on January 20, 2010 7:23 pm

    Thank you for your carefully thought and reasoned assessment Karl. I, however, blame our current predicament on voters who let their “anger” be an excuse for simplistic arguments and intellectual laziness. Oh, I also blame those hateful republicans.

  5. Comment by snarl on January 20, 2010 7:58 pm

    YES! And I forgot to mention probably the biggest receipient of “blame”…complacent voters who don’t go to the polls. Seriously….turnout was higher than expected, but still not enough. I can’t imagine wasting an opportunity to vote.

  6. Comment by karyn on January 23, 2010 9:56 pm

    Well… I don’t love Scott Brown either. But I agree with him on a number of national issues. On the other hand, I’m very pro-Universal Health Care. So, mixed feelings. It is a pity that it has to be one or the other; bipartisanship is required and people like to talk about it but nobody wants to wear , as you say, the purple hat. Bastards. Here’s hoping.

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a comment