Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Lack of information left Massachusetts voters frustrated
Why are so many supposedly informed political pundits confused about why a conservative Republican won Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat in Massachusetts? Can't anyone in Washington spell frustration? Massachusetts voters, among the nation's most liberal, were expressing their disappointment with the suddenly disoriented Democratic Party-dominated government in Washington -- in general -- and the Democratic nominee for senator, State Attorney General Martha Coakley -- in particular. Had the presidency of Democrat Barack Obama not gotten bogged down in behind-the-scenes bargaining on the healthcare bill instead of conducting the public's business in public, Coakley could have been another supporter of what most Americans want -- a single-payer system. Instead, Obama gets a 41st Republican Senator to snipe at him daily and try to obstruct his more-liberal legislative priorities. Of course, Coakley deserves a lot of the blame for her oblivious campaign style, which included a couple of incredible gaffes that made her appear to be an out-of-touch elitist. That is no way to convince regular people to vote for you. By contrast, state Senator Scott Brown, her opponent, drove around the state in a pickup truck, called into talk radio shows around the state and campaigned with local sports figures, according to the New York Times. Is a subtle pattern beginning to emerge? Of course, the real problem with all of this is that the public, even the Massachusetts public, has confused what they see on television with what they used to read in the newspaper and mistaken the nattering nabobs of Fox News-style broadcasting with actual journalists trained to report the news with as little bias as possible. The public is frustrated by the pace of legislating in Congress and took it out on the White House -- as if people simply are not aware of the positive changes that have taken place in the executive branch since Obama became president. The government is clearly making progress toward undoing the eight years of damage done by previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. -- the promised closing of the disgraceful Guantanamo Bay prison is imminent and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, another part of the executive branch, has returned to protecting the air and water. Maybe a lot of people think the changes are not happening quickly enough, and maybe they aren't. But George W. Bush was in office for eight years and Obama has been in office for only one. That doesn't seem to be enough justification for returning control of the government to the Republicans.