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Will Brown's victory in Massachusetts kill health-care reform?

GOP candidate Scott Brown takes a picture of himself as supporters celebrate his victory.
GOP candidate Scott Brown takes a picture of himself as supporters celebrate his victory.
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty
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Late on Tuesday January 19, Republican candidate, Scott Brown, won the special election for the US Senate against Democrat Martha Coakley. The Republican victory is a decisive blow to the Democrat Majority in the Senate as they scramble to pass healthcare legislation and a host of other progressive causes. Brown’s win in Massachusetts leaves the Democrats with less than 60 votes, the minimum number of votes needed to overrule a filibuster. But as Conservatives and Republicans celebrate, the Democrats are busying themselves with ways to minimize the impact of their loss in Massachusetts.

Brown’s win, though quite predictable in the last couple of days, is nonetheless a serious political upset. The Senate seat he was racing for had been held for nearly half a century by the “Liberal Lion”, Senator Ted Kennedy. Kennedy’s tenure alone was certainly enough reason to bank on the incumbent party. And when top Democrats, such as the President of the United States, endorsed the former Massachusetts Attorney General, Martha Coakley, it would have seemed a sure loss for the GOP. For such a Democrat-safe-seat to be threatened was truly a referendum on the popularity of the limited government mindset . . . at least as far as Healthcare is concerned.

The upset presents a formidable obstacle to President Obama and the Washington Democrats. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann responded to the pending victory of Scott Brown by publicly shelling insults. “In Scott Brown we have an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging supporter of violence against woman and against politicians with whom he disagrees.” (The video is posted below.) And while these outrages remarks are useful to illustrate the opinion many on the left have of people with whom they disagree, it also illustrates the panic induced by Brown’s success. Even before Tuesday, many on the left made it clear that they would do what was necessary to pass healthcare legislation, despite any setbacks in Massachusetts.

A glaring example of how far some in Washington are willing to go, are the comments made by representative Barney Frank (D-MA.). He even went so far as to suggest the filibuster maneuver in the Senate be forbidden. He suggested the rules of the Senate should be changed to allow no further filibusters on any legislation. (The Audio is below.) He claims anything short of a simple “majority-wins” mentality is not democratic enough. Perhaps someone should read him the Constitution of the United States. Not only does it clearly state that this nation is to be a republic, (as opposed to a democracy) it sets up two houses of congress for a specific and explicit purpose.

The House of Representatives is the democratic institution within our representative form of government. It was created to represent the people of this nation in the actions of the federal government. Apportioned in accordance to population, each state has a different number of congressmen, thus representing the population, and therefore the interests, of the people of each state. The Senate is the republican institution within our federal government; representing the states themselves, and not the individuals therein. Each state is represented by two Senators, and thus each state carries the same amount of influence as the other. This is so done in a clear attempt to limit the ability of the many to prey on the few. Furthermore, the need for a two thirds majority in the Senate is an additional step in protecting the interest of the minority. In short, the Senate was never intended to be a democratic institution; rather it is designed to be protective of the minority parties while still allowing the passage of overwhelmingly popular legislation. This was designed so that, for example, a federal reform effort on a large portion of the American economy could not be passed without the consent of an overwhelming majority of the states. In conclusion, this procedure of a filibuster is designed to limit government’s ability to implement new laws. (And therein is the reason the big-government crowds do not like it.)

But Frank is not the only one suggesting unorthodox measures be utilized for the passage of healthcare reform. Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House, made it clear that she expects the senate to pass the healthcare bill by any means possible. "Let's remove all doubt, we will have healthcare one way or another . . . Certainly the dynamic would change depending on what happens in Massachusetts. Just the question about how we would proceed. But it doesn't mean we won't have a health care bill,” so said the Speaker on Monday in San Francisco. Such a veiled threat should not be taken lightly.

There is no doubt that the Healthcare legislation does face very difficult obstacles. But, one possible way the Democrats may be able to keep their promise of shoving reform down the throats of a disagreeable public, would be for the House to vote on the Senate’s already passed version of the bill. This option presents its own problems as many of the House Democrats have serious issues with the Senate bill; but it is certainly not beneath them to grasp at straws as their agenda drowns in trouble. And, as it has been proven to us in the past with Senators such as Ben Nelson (D-NE.) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Reid and the congressional Democrats are not above buying votes with favors. Is it possible for the healthcare reform proposal to be signed into law by the President before the elections in 2010? Most certainly it is possible; but the probability is diminishing. 

Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts is a clear demonstration of the American public’s contempt for the current direction of Washington. When an unknown Republican contender manages to win the seat that previously belonged to one of the most notable liberals of the last half century, it should send a clear message to Washington Democrats: You’re next.

Hear Barny Frank's ignorant view of how the Senate "should" operate:

MSNBC's Olbermann lets loose a string of insults on national television:

Scott Brown was just the beginning. Take part! Consider supporting the opponents of Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi. Send a message to Washington. Even if you do not live in the district of some of Washington’s most influential Democrats, you can certainly still donate and volunteer for their opposition!

Contact your Senators, and let them know you will not support efforts to circumvent the traditions and the rules of the US Senate. The US Senators from Colorado are:

Mark Udall (D)
Washington D.C. phone number: 202-224-5941 (Toll free 877-768-3255)
Denver contact number: 303-650-7820

Michael Bennet (D)
Washington D.C. phone number: 202-224-5852

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  • Lorraine Yapps Cohen, Jewelry Examiner 5 years ago

    Democrats know nothing but name-calling and changing the rules to get what they want. What they want--that abomination of a healthcare bill--stands a chance of defeat with the Mass. election. The rest of the country should follow the Masses, pun intended. As always, good report, Michael! Hip, Hip, Hooray!

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