Brown wins shock election victory

3:00 am - January 20th 2010

by Don Paskini    

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Republican Scott Brown won yesterday’s special election to become Senator for Massachusetts. Brown will succeed liberal icon Ted Kennedy, and is the first Republican elected to the Senate from Massachusetts in nearly thirty years.

The result plunges Democrats into crisis just one year after Barack Obama was inaugurated as President. Even on election day, anonymous Democrat staffers were spending their time briefing the press that defeat was a result of an inept local campaign, or of a lack of support from the national party, or of a backlash against the economic situation and the healthcare reforms.

Brown has already pledged to vote against healthcare reforms, making it much more likely that tens of millions of Americans will continue to struggle without any affordable healthcare.

Right wingers on both sides of the Atlantic will attempt to claim that this shows mass support for their anti-government agenda. It’s worth noting that analysis suggests that Brown got his support from people who thought he was a ‘moderate’ or liberal, and that those who thought he was a conservative voted heavily against him.

Instead, Democrat (and indeed Labour) strategists would do better to pay heed to advice like this:

I think Obama’s biggest miscalculation upon taking office was that the American people were looking for a return to Clintonism — that is, a Democrat who is buddy-buddy with business elites and who won’t rock the boat too much on the economic populism front. Basically, it’s the sort of mentality that if you let the corporate elites work their magic and grow the economy, you can use the added tax revenue for social good.

But the times clearly demand something else. Corporate-friendly Democrats do well when the livin’ is easy, but these times demand angry populism in one form or another. The good news is that Obama can do a really good job of calling the Republicans out on their bullshit by launching populist initiatives including the bank tax, new financial regulations and a strong jobs bill. The GOP will reflexively hate all of these initiatives and will give Obama and the Dems an opening to say, “See? Same Republicans who spent eight years in bed with Wall Street.”

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About the author
Don Paskini is deputy-editor of LC. He also blogs at donpaskini. He is on twitter as @donpaskini
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Reader comments

1. Sunder Katwala

Three thoughts

1. The Dems and allies (lieberman) will have 59 not 60 votes in about a fortnight. The legislative process will be back to where it normally is, which is very slow and easy

Healthcare: Without 60 Senate votes, the House Democrats should pass the Senate Bill as it stands. That then goes to the President. Some in the House would like to go further in several ways, but there should be a majority for the Senate Bill. (Another route where the 60 votes are not relevant is to enter a budget reconciliation process).

As Ezra Klein said recently …

“Democrats have a health-care bill that is inches from the finish line. It has passed five committees and both chambers of Congress. Even if Brown wins, it would still command a large majority in the Senate — but it would be one vote away from a supermajority, and so the minority could mount a parliamentary maneuver to kill it.

The bill, however, doesn’t have to go back through the Senate. It could be passed by the House and signed by the president. House Democrats are reticent to do that, because there are compromises and tweaks and modifications they want made. But those changes are far too small to be worth killing the bill over. And they could be added to the bill separately, through the 51-vote reconciliation process.

The bottom line here is that if the health-care bill fails, it will be Democrats who killed it, not Scott Brown. And people should be clear on that point”.

2. Despite what you rightly say about the exit polls – which high-level US media commentators and bloggers may refer to – the Tea Party movement will claim the victory, and this will be largely accepted on the right. (Though the Dem candidate was a disaster, and lost among voters who like and approve of Obama). This will further strengthen them within the party as the insurgents with the energy, partly because of the lack of any coherent or substantive positive Republican argument from any senior figure.

This could go either way by 2010: it depends how the Dems respond, and how that mid-term election is framed. I am pretty confident that by 2012, the rise will have proved considerably more damaging for the Republicans than the 1994 Gingrich revolution. By contrast with this, Gingrich was a much less anti-everything, anti-politics project. The Republican primaries are going to be very open and very interesting,

3. The Clintonism point is interesting. Those who don’t want that have to be more strategic. (Democrats who say ‘well lets now kill an imperfect healthcare bill’ are not doing that).

But Obama should respond differently to Clinton in 1996, in closing down his opponent’s agenda largely by accomodating it. What matters in the long-term is not just the outcome in 2012, but also the argument for which Obama seeks re-election.

2. Sunder Katwala

legilsative process back to “very slow and easy to filibuster and obstruct”

“The result plunges Democrats into crisis…”

Nah, they were already there…

Right wingers on both sides of the Atlantic will attempt to claim that this shows mass support for their anti-government agenda. It’s worth noting that analysis suggests that Brown got his support from people who thought he was a ‘moderate’ or liberal, and that those who thought he was a conservative voted heavily against him

That’s not as helpful to the Democrats as you seem to think, because it implies strongly that people see the anti-government agenda (presumably specifically anti-healthcare reform) as being a moderate, and not an extreme position.

Obama is losing independents, so he should move further to the left?

I’m going to file this with all the ConservativeHome loonies who claim that the Tories would be on 50% if they just promised to keep out brown people.

The Dems need to just get this bill passed. The controversy over whether it wasn’t liberal enough or was too liberal will pass over time, but people will see the benefits of the bill and remember who passed it. If they don’t pass it they will get the downside but none of the upside.

The other option the OP doesn’t mention is getting it passed before Brown is seated – which gives them about 10 days. Unlikely given the need for a revised bill to be costed, but possible.

If the left party loses to the right party, I’d hesitate before drawing the conclusion that it’s because the left party wasn’t left enough. Sure, I see how that could work, but you don’t want to be seizing on the explanation you like the best, because it might be the wrong explanation. In this case, if you are wrong, the consequence of moving further left would be to lose more elections.

If voters want the Dems to be harder on corporations, it’s perverse to vote for the corporate friendly GOP. If voters wanted a more left-wing healthcare bill, it’s perverse to vote for a candidate than would vote down such a bill. The passage you quote from sadlyno suggests that the American electorate is remarkably forgetful, and merely need reminding what’s the GOP is really like … as if Dem haven’t been emphazing that already.


Only 22% of Democrats voted. In one of the most liberal areas of the country, with a popular recently deceased Senator who espoused health care reform all his life, and a bill which has had the much-vaunted public option (the only bit of the bill which polled favourably) removed in order to appease malcontents like Joe Lieberman, I think there’s a case for the counter-intuitive supposition that not being left-wing enough hurt the Democrats in this specific case.

Thanks everyone for comments.

“Tim J: That’s not as helpful to the Democrats as you seem to think, because it implies strongly that people see the anti-government agenda (presumably specifically anti-healthcare reform) as being a moderate, and not an extreme position.”

Also partly that Massachusetts already provides many of the advantages of the healthcare reforms, making it easier to campaign against (“pay more taxes so you can help people in other states”). But the point is that people who thought Brown was a conservative voted against him 2:1, and those that thought he was not voted even more heavily for him. Liberal and moderate Republicans find it quite hard to get through primaries.

“Edward: Obama is losing independents, so he should move further to the left?”

Think of it in terms of populist-elitist or outsider-insider, rather than left-right. Obama’s first year is widely perceived, across the political spectrum, as “politics as usual” and with more gains for bankers than for ordinary people. What’s the alternative? Try to achieve compromise with Republicans who know that if they just continue voting ‘no’ that they’ll achieve massive gains in November?

“If voters want the Dems to be harder on corporations, it’s perverse to vote for the corporate friendly GOP. If voters wanted a more left-wing healthcare bill, it’s perverse to vote for a candidate than would vote down such a bill.”

These are two very different policy areas, though. The healthcare bill, for all its advantages, is very corporate-friendly, with millions of new customers being mandated to buy their products.

One key stat from PPP:

“Voters hate both parties right now and that’s to the GOP’s advantage. One of the most remarkable things about Brown’s victory is that it comes even though only 22% of voters in the state have a favorable opinion of Congressional Republicans, with 63% viewing them unfavorably. He was able to overcome that because almost 20% of voters held a negative opinion of both Congressional Democrats and Congressional Republicans. And with those folks Brown had a 72-24 advantage over Coakley, reflecting the reality that in a time when voters are disgusted with all politicians they’ll vote for the one that’s out of power.”

But the point is that people who thought Brown was a conservative voted against him 2:1, and those that thought he was not voted even more heavily for him. Liberal and moderate Republicans find it quite hard to get through primaries.

Well, Brown was basically a moderate Republican – pro-choice for example. People who thought he was extreme would have done so purely on the basis that he was a Republican, and therefore extreme. It’s the same as Governor Christie in New Jersey – or Jim Webb in Virginia. Just as red-state Democrats are more in favour of guns and God than Californians, blue-state Republicans are more in favour of, um, government and gay rights (for the sake of the alliteration…).

That shouldn’t be a surprise, or a comfort, to anyone. What should be a surprise is that Massachusetts has a Republican senator.

See Luis, it’s because of people like you the left keeps losing.

Not only did demoralised Democrats not turn out, but Obama’s problematic fall in ratings has largely been on the left.

If you look at the polls, the answer is clear: it’s the left/Democrat voters who have abandoned him because he has not been radical enough.

And yet there are lefties who keep repeating the mantra that if they lose even slightly, then it’s because they’re not right-wing/like the other party enough.

Obama tried ‘bipartisanship’ – look where that got him. Republicans basically wildly opposed everything he tried to do, and electorally they are the ones gaining. Make your own conclusions.

If you look at the polls, the answer is clear: it’s the left/Democrat voters who have abandoned him because he has not been radical enough.

Is it this that explains the massive swing of independents away from Obama and towards the Republicans? That seems counter-intuitive.

Good analysis. I think the one thing American progressives are hoping for as a silver lining to this disaster is that it will make Obama shift away from that “New Democrat” corporate philosophy and make a play for economic populism.

But the problem is that even if he were to do that, the right still controls the narrative in the US. If he goes after bankers and financial institutions with heavy regulatory reforms, the public will be convinced by the media that he is leading them toward a socialist command economy.

It’s an impossible situation for Democrats because the populist ‘tea party’ movement doesn’t have cohesive policy goals, it’s just vaguely anti-government and anti “fat-cat bankers”. But if the government goes after the banks the tea-baggers will scream socialism, and if they help the banks the tea baggers will scream fat cats.

In the end it is really a problem with the people rather than with the government.

Look at the polling highlighted in the monkeycage article. It’s not counter-intuitive, the problem is you don’t understand how quickly bloody lefties become disillusioned.

Obama screwed Obama.

He campaigned on standing up to special interests and lobbyists, and then cut backroom deals with them. He campaigned for a public option, and then didn’t pressure his party to adopt it during last summer.

Even if it’s passed, the “reform” will slap a massive tax on the healthcare plans of middle class people; it will cut abortion rights; it won’t have a public option; and it will force millions more to buy healthcare even if they can’t afford it. It’s actually worse than no reform at all. And it won’t even kick in until 2014, so if the Republicans take back Congress before then (which they can easily do) then the whole thing can be repealed anyway.

The only reason for progressive Democrats to pass it now is to save the President some face. But he’s already lost face by being subordinate to the special interests, the bankers, the lobbyists. To think that passing this pathetic bill will save any Democratic seats from being lost in November is to be living in a fantasy world. It’s done, it’s over.

Either they pass it through reconciliation, which means there is a chance for some reforms, or they should just pack up and go home. Obama tried to negotiate, he tried to be bipartisan – from a position of strength. Now he is invariably weak, and has no choice but bipartisanship – but that won’t work because the Republicans just don’t want to compromise. If only Obama was as resolute in his convictions.

When Labour lose the election, they should oppose every stupid illiberal measure the Tories bring in. Develop a positive narrative too, but never give up on badgering the Tories and forcing them to cave in. It worked for the Republicans.

Time Obama and the Dems grew some balls.

For all those saying the Dems lost because they were too left-wing, eat this:

How did it come to pass that all of the populist fervor moved independents in Massachusetts to be excited about a senator who will inevitably side with insurance moguls, hedge fund operators, anti-choice zealots, tea partiers, and drug companies?

It is really rather simple. They were told that their vote was a national referendum and the Obama Administration had sided time after time with the drug companies, insurance companies, and big banks. The Administration had a choice and they made it.

And the voters did not like it. Anyone associated with insider deals, bank bailouts, executive bonuses, and individual mandates to buy lousy private insurance was not on their side.

This is not a simple question of left/right: it’s about whether or not the government is on the side of the people, and justifiably people consider Obama not on their side. Yes, it seems odd they chose to punish them by voting Republican, but people are so desperate for change that if whoever is in power doesn’t deliver, they’ll do anything to get rid of them in the hope whoever gets into power next will be different.

18. Luis Enrique

oh Sunny, I do wish you’d read what I actually write from time to time. My world is simply full of fewer certainties than yours Sunny – I said I’d hesitate before seizing on the explanation that suits my preferences best, I said I could see problems with the argument, but also that I can see how the “not left enough” argument could be true. I did not “repeat the mantra that if they lose even slightly, then it’s because they’re not right-wing/like the other party enough” There are other ways of responding to this defeat. Just think about them, that’s all.

it’s because of people like you the left keeps losing …. it’s the left/Democrat voters who have abandoned him because he has not been radical enough

well the Dems could be losing if “people like me” in power keep choosing a centrist strategy whereas in fact the voters want a radical left strategy, but they’re not losing because people like me aren’t voting – I’d have voted Dem. It’s the radical lefties who didn’t.

What is a ‘radical left’ strategy? Obama never had one and neither am I advocating one. You seem to be advocating strategy without actually pointing to any proposals.

Obama was elected to push a far more radical healthcare plan that actually went through. So actually he failed because he wasn’t radical enough.

What i’m advocating is the sort of populism that Obama has failed to follow through with and the Republicans have jumped on. Call that ‘radical’ if you wish, but it wins votes.

20. Luis Enrique

for crying out loud … I only used the world “radical” because you had written “Democratic voters who have abandoned him because he has not been radical enough“. I don’t care, call it what you like.

Nice to see you engaging with the substance.

Obama promised radical stuff: standing up to the bankers on financial reform, standing up to the healthcare industry on healthcare reform, and standing up to the energy industry on climate change. He has right royally failed to do the first two, and there’s no chance he’ll do the third. He promised radical, he didn’t deliver it. No one, left or right, can maintain their integrity when they promise change and then fail to deliver it. That’s the issue, Luis.

It is not a left or right thing, its a shit policy thing.

Obama’s healthcare bill is an authoritarian mess, that will not do anything to address the underlying problems in the states. It will result in even more subsidies to the insurance and medical cartels than they have right now. Independents know that and the left don’t see any point in turning out to vote for it. It is not even a question of how radical a plan is on some “look how socialist we are” spectrum, just whether it is actually fit for the purpose it is intended.

Nick – if you’re going to blame anyone for being in the pocket of big corporates – it is the centrist Democrats and the Republicans.

Luis – my point is, what exactly are you criticising Obama for? Me, for not being radical enough on policy he promised. You?

This result depressed me but it still doesn’t take away from the fact that Obama is a good leader, a good man and good for America. The fickleness of the left worries me in the US, how you can go from such celebrated success to losing MA, the bill will pass, the Dems still have a the largest number of Senators since the 30s and are still in a good position to do good things.

Heads have dropped, they shouldn’t.

25. Luis Enrique

Sunny, please stop arguing with an imaginary me, I haven’t put forward any criticism or advocated anything. Fucked if I know, I don’t share your ability to so easily diagnose political failure. Fine, yes, he’s disappointed many lefties for not being radical enough, but that’s one explanation out of a set of available explanation and it’s by no means obvious to me, given the constraints of the US political system, how he would have fared if he’d tried to be “more radical”.

“Nick – if you’re going to blame anyone for being in the pocket of big corporates – it is the centrist Democrats and the Republicans.”

They’ve certainly got their fingers in the pie. But it was a bad policy to begin with.

Obama has screwed up big time, and what a day to do it on.

This election was more important than those last November and he failed to organize a seige supporting the Democratic candidate. There was an element of the voters who resented the implication that this seat belonged to the Kennedy’s, some were especially glad to have the opportunity to stick two fingers up at the memory of Kennedy. This seat was not going to be a pushover.

In allowing this seat to be lost Obama has put at peril his raison d’etre Healthcare and changed the news agenda from “One year on and doing ok despite the dificulties” to “One year on and blowing it already. Is this a rerun of Jimmy Carter?”

“This election was more important than those last November”

Are you out of your mind? Your partizan ideology and firmly entrenched, knee-jerk right-ing values blind you to even the most basic of facts.

How about this as a possible analysis?

RomneyCare (the new Massachussetts health care insurance system) is very similar to ObamaCare.

No, really, it is.

RomneyCare has raised, not lowered, the cost of health care insurance in Mass(ah, heck, too long to type). No, really, it has, when you add in govt and private costs, they’ve risen.

So, let us do that favourite lefty thing, that voters are altruistic (and there’s good evidence that voters are indeed more altruistic as voters than they are as individuals faced with doling out their own money).

We in M. have RomneyCare and we’re going to take one for the team and make sure that the other 49 States don’t have the same imposed upon them?

Alternatively we could go with reality and point out that the economy is in the shitter and so incumbents are going to get it everywhere.

Yes, I know Coakley wasn’t technically an incumbent but you know what I mean….she certainly campaigned like one at least.


I have friends in MA and your interpretation doesn’t wash with me, Romney’s healthcare plan does not resemble Obama’s, only in the banner headline sense of quick fire summations of policy, not in actuality although if the GOP keep picking away at the bones of the Democrat healthcare plan it will end up resembling Romney’s plan but far worse.

Also, it depends who you read, plenty of people have great things to say about the healthcare plan in MA, some don’t; also a plan working on a state wide option has a smaller pool of funding to tap into then one working on a national level.

Can I be the first person immature enough to note that this is the very last time we’ll see the words “Brown wins shock election victory“? Thank you.


You’re too sure of your own infalability to think clearly on this one.

Last November’s results were two steps back one step forward for the Democrats (they retained New Jersey and highlighted the moderate v Conservative split in the GOP). The losses that day have largely been swept under the carpet. The general opinion up to today is that he’s a winner, he’s a nice guy, making tough decisions, clearing up the mess etc.

Losing the “Kennedy” seat on his first aniversary is a public relations disaster, so much so it will sanction a far more critical assessment of what has been achieved and it has made passing the Healthcare Bill all the more difficult.

It will only focus the GOP on how to win this coming November.

“You’re too sure of your own infalability to think clearly on this one.”

No. But that is a fitting phrase for you, you are reading far too much into 3 results and while I do agree that the truism of losing is never good PR, it will not make the passing of the healthcare bill harder.

it will not make the passing of the healthcare bill harder.

Well, it will in that it removes the Democrats’ super majority in the senate, and allows the Republicans to block legislation. Plus, the loss of a super-safe Democrat seat – in a race where healthcare reform was the major factor – will concentrate the minds of more marginal senators – and representatives – as to whether they are prepared to sacrifice their seats for the good of the party. This result has made passing the healthcare bill much harder.

Things can still get passed without the magic 60 and 59 is still the largest party majority in the Senate in more than 30 years, Bush got plenty through with low ratings and a congress against him and a tied Senate, so will Obama.


Why are you at all confident that Obama can negotiate round getting his own way with the Senate when he can’t even work out how to drive through legislation with a majority of 60? Goodwill, is that going to do it for him?

For all his megga-IQ, farsightedness + bold visions he lacks the tact, pragmatism and charisma woo round ‘progressive’ Republican Senators who will now sense that the tide is turning in their favour. Clinton was in a far worse position but managed to move on with a lot of his legislation (post Healthcate) but I just don’t think Obama is up to it. This one really is about personality not policy – it takes a special kind of leadership to squander such huge popularity and confidence within the space of 12 months.

Luis: I suggest you read Glenn Greenwald a bit.

The problem with Obama has been that he failed to actually push through populist measures around insurance companies and Wall Street that he actually campaigned on an won..

Everytime, it was the idiot centrist Democrats and the Republicans who stood in the way: claiming to be for the people but actually doing it for the big corporates. So you end up with a crap bill that helps little.

The problem with left parties is that they are too beholden to big business interests and can no longer be the insurgents they have always thought of themselves as. The Republicans of course lie through their teeth but that’s standard.

See even Ezra Klein’s article at the Washington Post. I at least have an analysis on this. You’re just complaining Obama isn’t centrist enough without realising that is precisely the problem.

38. Luis Enrique


look for Christ’s sake will you stop it?

You’re just complaining Obama isn’t centrist enough without realising that is precisely the problem.


my initial comment expressed some reservations about being too quick to settle on an explanation “Obama lost because he didn’t do the things me and people like me wanted him to do”, if for no other reason than you’ve got to be aware of your own biases. Since then you have responded to me with a series of non-sequiters.

Shall I say it again, explicitly? I am not complaining Obama isn’t centrist enough. There is a set of potential explanations for the M.A. results that includes: “Obama wasn’t centrist enough” “Obama was too centrist” and some others. I don’t know the right answer. I have my reservations about the Obama should have been more radical explanation for the vote result, but I’d certainly like to see him be more radical myself (on, say, the banks).


I think your logic is quite good (and not what Sunny is shouting about anyway).

But Sunny has an agenda remember – to promote a left-wing (which seems to mean class-based to him) approach to fighting the Conservatives. So anything which seems to say that an encouraging the left-wing policy is not the way forward seems to get attacked. Even if you didn’t mean to say it.

In this case (and Sunny, not in Britain, as we are not discussing that) I think Obama might be wise enough to notice that the United States have a long tradition of rejecting openly left-wing politics, so moving left to gather the lost supporters (not likely to vote for his opponents) would risk losing droves of moderates (likely to vote for his opponents). Not sure that would be the wisest move myself.

I am all in favour of Labour reacting to defeat in 2010 by tacking decisively to the left. Clear red water, that’s what we want. Of course, I’m a Tory, which may colour my thinking somewhat.

41. Luis Enrique


OK look I can see where things went wrong – my comment #7 was in a binary too-right or too-left setting, and because I questioned the too-right argument you thought I must mean he was too-left, and I admit that’s predictable interpretation and I should have explicitly disavowed it. I just meant in #7 too be throwing up some potential problems for the easy “he was not left enough / too right” story, but already #18 I clarify that I’m not repeating the “too left” mantra and point to some other explanations, and I more or less repeat that at #25.

@ watchman

“I think Obama might be wise enough to notice that the United States have a long tradition of rejecting openly left-wing politics, so moving left to gather the lost supporters (not likely to vote for his opponents) would risk losing droves of moderates (likely to vote for his opponents). Not sure that would be the wisest move myself.”

Only 22% of people in one of the most Liberal states in the US come out to vote and you think that the Dems should either stay as they are OR go more right? Really?

The Dems maybe getting all p*ssed on the blogs and actually saying that the reason they didn’t vote is because the govt isn’t left enough but I still see were they are coming from.

American will never be a left country. The progressives or gay americans who didn’t vote are that stupid but they want progressive policies to at least pass through but he has been stalling on so much.

So the issue is the fact that he failed to be radical whilst campaigning on being radical. If this was Hilary, no one would be surprised because she didn’t campaign on ‘change’.

He needs to leave this bipartisanship because were has this got him or them? No where. The Repubs are voting against everything they come up he like dumb or so narcissistic that he’s no stupid? They hate you. They want back power, why the hell are they gonna play with some ‘uppity negroe’ that most of with would dearly vote against having any rights? Some of these Repubs were around when the civil right movement was kicking off and voted against rights for blacks.

If I was Bamz I would take to the streets a la grassroots style townhouse events and find out what the people who voted for him are thinking and feeling.

I also think which has not been pointed out that his campaign was run on transparency and openess. He has done the opposite. A lot of people talk of trying to get hold of the Whitehouse via their ‘open’ website and nothing comes to frutition.

Yes it may seem like a minority who have the internet but these are the guys who didn’t turn up in Mass and are p*ssed. They are also screaming loud enough to create splits in the party.

I also think if Labour went more left-not nec with the overspending-they could really reach the working class workers and liberals who won’t vote this June.

A majority of Americans – not Massachusetts (ooo, autocorrect!) resident – disapprove of the job Obama’s doing. But a majority of them disapprove from the left! Although whether he could please them without losing the sizeable group who support him is another matter.

Coakley ran a worse campaign, unemployment is higher and GDP growth is weaker than the majority would have expected a year ago, and this result is still relatively unexpected.

Dems still need to pass the bill, its a hodge podge but Dems can use the budget reconciliation process (so they need only 50 votes in the senate not 60) to alter it later. The Dems were going to lose their super majority sooner or later, they just need to ensure that they get healthcare through or Obama is gonna be a one term President. And we’ve got PPalinOTUS

Brown wins shock election victory

I quickly realized it’s not THAT Brown, but whichever Brown it is, that is not a good headline.

” It’s worth noting that analysis suggests that Brown got his support from people who thought he was a ‘moderate’ or liberal”

More than anything, that would suggest to me that those who are of a ‘moderate’ or ‘liberal’ persuasion are the rather gullible sort. If a republican candidate told me he was anything other than a conservative, I would have to do some checking into his previous record to see if that were true before I voted for him.

@43 Left Outside
Obama is going to be a one-term president whatever. In getting caught up with the hype, the Americans voted for their first black president. More weight was placed on him rather than his policies. Obama’s big achievement is going to be seen when the time comes to vote for the second black president, who will be elected solely on his/her policies.

On balance, I agree with Alex Massie’s take on this:

The notion, heard on the left, that if only Obama had acted more decisively all would be well is bananas. It is very unusual for voters to reject a party because it has been insufficiently extreme or failed to listen to its base enough. If this is true of the GOP it’s doubly true for Democrats since self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals.


I’m confident based on a change on tact, this is an intelligent Whitehouse, no matter what a partizan hack like you thinks and, a year in, a think he and his advisors must see that a bit of aggression in the face of terrible GOP partizan attitudes is much needed.

And the myth of progressives in the GOP is one I do not buy into, they have retreated to some right-wing low ground to bask in idiotic, unworkable ideas, fair play to them but there is not a great deal of compromise out there.


Just for you I listened to Rush Limbaugh’s show yesterday. He was on top form (seriously) the guy was having a party ridiculing ‘liberals’. You should listen to him some time and you’ll realise what you are up against.He’s not preety but he is funny.

The opening piece from Rush Limbaugh’s show on Wednesday 2oth Jan 2010:

RUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time in my life I am proud of Massachusetts, as I paraphrase Michelle (My Belle) Obama. For the first time in my life I am proud of Massachusetts. I seem to remember some hack saying you never want to waste a crisis. Some hack in the White House said that. I think his name was Rahm Emanuel. That’s exactly right. Well, they are in a crisis right now, and turnaround is fair play. So let me say, ladies and gentlemen, you never want to waste a crisis, especially when it’s the libs experiencing the crisis. So keep up the pressure. Now is the time to keep hammering away. This is not just one election. This is the third blowout involving two — or actually three — dark blue states. It is not about Coakley’s campaign or Corzine’s problems or Creigh Deeds being a lightweight. The common thread here is Obama. This one’s for you, Mary Jo. This one’s for you, Judge Bork.

(playing of I Feel Good song)

An EIB twin spin party day on the EIB Network. These are the good times. We’re all feeling good, and we will revel in it.

(playing of These Are the Good Times song)

And welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the one and only Rush Limbaugh program and the EIB party zone today. The telephone number if you want to be on the program, 800-282-2882. E-mail address, So much to comment upon today, and I’m going to relish every moment of it, ladies and gentlemen. So many wonderful sound bites. It is perfectly fine to gloat today. It is called for. This is a day of celebration. But, it is also a beginning. It is not by any means the end of anything. There is a common theme that I am seeing through State-Controlled Media, from Howard Fineman to Jonathan Alter to a guy named Tim Rutten here at the Los Angeles Times: “The Lesson of Massachusetts? Anger.” Yes, it’s angry white voters, they’ve gone back to that mime, they have revised that template. Even had Donny Deutsch on MSNBC today saying, (paraphrasing) “Well, you know, Scott Brown, voters were just comforted by Scott Brown’s white maleness.” This was substance, Mr. Deutsche. This was issues. They continue to group people in victimization status. They continue to see people by the virtue of the color of their skin or their gender, sexual orientation, or what have you.

Now, this guy in the LA Times: “The Lesson of Massachusetts? Anger. — The electorate is increasingly restive, and it’s not just about the Democrats.” See, my friends, this is the danger. LA Times, voters are mad at both parties. This is the danger, that we not allow the liberals and the Democrats to reinterpret what took place here. Conservatism won. Statism, liberalism lost. If you are a Republican and you run against government run health care; if you are a Republican and you run against massive spending and deficits and taxes; if you run for smaller government, you will win. You do not need to throw Ronald Reagan overboard. You do not need to cross the aisle. The independents came to us, big. Rasmussen’s numbers are incredible. Like 69, 70% of the independents went for Scott Brown, and that was an issue-oriented campaign that he ran. These are Reagan Democrats that crossed over. Conservatism is the answer. The era of Reagan is not over. We don’t dare use this as a launching pad for a third party. We have shown it’s totally unnecessary. Just get back to Reagan conservative roots.

We don’t need any more people like David Brooks or Frum or any of these people in the middle who got this all wrong. One year ago they’re telling us we had to cross the aisle, we had to hope Obama succeeded, we had to work with him, we had to show the electorate that we were for larger government because they were, we had to show the electorate that all the services we want are gonna require a lot of high taxes — that’s what our pundits, that’s what some in our party were actually saying one year ago. There was one man, ladies and gentlemen, who stood tall and opposed every aspect of that, and I don’t mind saying it was I, your host, El Rushbo, at 800-282-2882. Do not make the mistake that there’s anger at both parties. There need not be any anger at the Republican Party if they finally learn the lesson of what happened last night and the past three weeks in Massachusetts.

You understand, despite how you’re seeing Democrats on television, folks, this is the Berlin Wall coming down. This is a Ted Kennedy seat. They’re still calling it that, and they’ve lost it. And they lost it to a rookie, and they lost it to a rookie who was talking anti-Washington, anti-government, anti-spending, anti-Obama. He was talking conservatism. He may not be a full-fledged conservative. In fact, the press conference today that he had, the first question: “Why are you so eager to get down to Washington?” He said he’s gonna make a courtesy call. The next question: “What are you going to do concretely to prove that you are an independent?” The third or fourth question: “You ran as an independent. How are you going to prove to voters that you are an independent?” What they’re trying to do, what the press is trying to do is get this guy to say he’s not a Republican, and he’s not a conservative, he’s a moderate, they want the Republican Party to continue to fall for the things that got them in trouble, that we gotta be like Democrats, that we gotta be more moderate, that we gotta cross the aisle, we have to work with Obama. The lesson is right front of us. This is no time to let up, folks, this is pedal to the metal time. Keep the hammer down.

The health care system that extended Ted Kennedy’s life may have been saved. The health care system that extended Senator Kennedy’s life may well have been saved. This was a great victory for all Americans who desire the same quality health care that Mr. Kennedy received during his life, and especially during his courageous and well-fought battle against cancer. If Obama’s health care succeeds, the great health care system that sustained and elongated the life of Senator Kennedy will be fini, it will be over. Peter Wehner today writing a piece at Commentary, the blog, number six, this is important: “There is a slew of bad data for Democrats to pour through in the aftermath of Scott Brown’s victory. But here is the most frightening data point of all: Mr. Brown won unaffiliated voters by a margin of 73 percent to 25 percent, according to pollster Scott Rasmussen. This 3-to-1 margin comes after independents broke for Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie by 2-to-1 margins in Virginia and New Jersey, respectively. This is a stunning, and, for Democrats, an ominous development. More than anything else, it explains why they now face the prospect of losing both the House and the Senate in November.”

Folks, this is bigger than 1994. The level of outrage and disgust with the statism, the expansion of government, the accrual of wealth or debt that is being piled up, it’s worse. The public outrage, the fright, the fear, the demand for something different is worse than 1994 when the Republicans took the House.

You are block quoting a bigoted, racist joke of a human being with such gushing pride it speaks volumes.


Pride? To paraphrase Ronald Reagan “There he goes again!” – that’s you mis-reading between the lines again.

I said Rush Limbaugh was funny yesterday not that I agreed with him, but why let that get in the way of your preconception.

One of the most foolish things a person can do with regard to a politics is to ignor or merely malign the views of people who hold a different opinion. I’m sure that people here don’t just read The Guardian to confirm how right they are, but also look at The Spectator and conservative media to see what they think as well.
You seem to believe that you are right and everyone else is a ‘wingnut’, ‘troll’, ‘sock puppet’, ‘cretin’ or worse.

More fool you. Lighten up a bit, listening to Rush Limbaugh is a counterpoint to listening to Randi Rhodes on Air America – just funnier because he’s a better broadcaster.

Troll, you come here and put up verbatim, with an air of glee, the words of a bigot and racist, a symbol of the far-right conservative movement in the US.

You call it funny, when it ain’t, you then plead that it is all innocent, no one puts up block quotes of something they don’t agree with.

Also, hate to break it to you but I don’t buy into the idea that all opinions and ideas are of equal value or deserve an equal level of tolerance: bigoted, racist, backward thinking bullshit needs to be called as such.

Have a nice day.

52. John Walters nee Rubicon

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill,

Well thanks once again, son, another thread on which you stomp around like an 8 old screaming troll at people and telling folk how they should think.

No wonder you are being harassed by people on this site. And while I disagree with their tactics, clearly they are right when they say they post the most sickening things online but stand on a soap box regardless.

Man up, son and take some responsibility for how you act online.

Well thanks once again, son, another thread on which you stomp in and attack me when in theory, if you’ve a personal issue with me, you’d send me an email.

“No wonder you are being harassed by people on this site.”

Glad to see how low your moral values are, that you are willing to defend vile, nasty and upsetting allegations on such a simple basis.

How about you man up, email me and keep your personal feelings about me off this board.

Or is that too hard for you to grasp?


One day you will get older, possibly a bit wiser, have kids and start to question whether the things you do and say serve their best interests not just yours. Until then you are free to insult us all, accuse us of being racists, bigots, idiots and trolls to your heart’s content.

If I knew you I’m sure I would think it was a bit tragic, but as I don’t it’s just comic.

Johnny Spieght captured the tragedy in this kind of behavior wonderfully with Alf Garnett who, poor fool, couldn’t see how ranting and raving turned people away from him even if he was trying to be civil. Instead of calling people “bleedin’ coons” like Garnett did you shout racist when you detect people disagree.
No room for dissent – or no room for time wasters as you probably think about.

Shame that, I thought this board was set up as a forum to discuss ideas.


Yeah because patronising me is going to work isn’t it? That’s always a good way to approach anyone isn’t it?

And thank goodness that you’ll never know me.

Your thinking is confused and is shared by many who get squeamish when the word racist is used, they want their racist cake and eat it, they want to expound racist views but never have to take the flak for it.

Not on my watch.

We can discuss ideas all you want but not all ideas are of equal value, on that, I’m sure we can agree.

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