I know this is not really local, and not really national either, but I think it’s important to understand the nuances of local/regional elections, and how they effect national politics, and even what they “mean” to other local/regional elections.
So, I mentioned yesterday that Evan Bayh is a fucking idiot, and showed why the Mass Senate election wasn’t a referendum on national health care – at least not in the way Bayh thought it was. I have more evidence, and it’s in the campaign message Scott Brown delivered during the race:
While many are describing the election to fill the late Edward M. Kennedy’s Senate seat as a referendum on national health-care reform, the Republican candidate rode to victory on a message more nuanced than flat-out resistance to universal health coverage: Massachusetts residents, he said, already had insurance and should not have to pay for it elsewhere.
Scott Brown, the Republican state senator who won a stunning upset in Tuesday’s election, voted for the state’s health-care legislation, which was signed by then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and has covered all but 3 percent of Massachusetts residents. That legislation became the basic model for national health-care legislation. Brown has not disavowed his support for the state’s law, which retains majority backing in Massachusetts.
Instead, he argued on the campaign trail that Massachusetts had taken care of its own uninsured, and it would not be in the state’s interest to contribute to an effort to cover the uninsured nationwide.
“We have insurance here in Massachusetts,” he said in a campaign debate. “I’m not going to be subsidizing for the next three, five years, pick a number, subsidizing what other states have failed to do.”
This reinforces what I said yesterday: that Brown loses if a better, stronger bill was already in place. Bayh’s spinelessness gave a lot of Mass voters a reason to vote: the federal bill would cost them money, but provide no additional apparent benefit, because – as is the case with virtually all federal legislation – “blue” states subsidize “red” states. 3% of Mass residents are uninsured. 25% of Texas residents are uninsured.
People like Bayh are drawing entirely the wrong message here by attempting to generalize a very specific election result into something it’s not. Health care reform is popular in Mass, and it’s popular nation-wide. Passing a strong reform bill would be popular, even amongst moderates. And, in the long term, better for voters, since a federal program will be more economically viable than state-level programs.
The implications of this is important to remember when it comes to election decisions. Elections have consequences. Which is why it’s especially important to take Voinovich’s seat in the Senate, as well as hold OH-1, OH-15, OH-16, and OH-18, as well as challenge Tiberi in OH-12. And then, actually installing a progressive agenda that would be popular with the people, rather than dithering around and getting nothing substantial done. The fact remains that Social Security is the largest and most popular social program enacted in the United States, and every time the GOP tries to dismantle it, people strongly oppose such action. EIGHTY percent of Americans support Social Security. So why are so many politicians petrified of strong, progressive legislation? Over 60% of Americans support a public option. STOP BEING SUCH SPINELESS ASSHOLES. Make the GOP take the unpopular action; you still have 58 votes, and the backing of the American people.