Scott Brown's win: No vote for a Republocrat is a vote for change
Massachusetts voters are in for another disappointment when Scott Brown takes office. They voted, according to conventional wisdom, for “change” by electing a member of the non-ruling party to fill Ted Kennedy’s seat. But Brown—like Coakley, like Kennedy, and like Obama—is part of the same corrupt, broken system that voters are supposedly rejecting.
Just fourteen months ago, Massachusetts and most of the rest of the nation famously voted for “change,” too. But what’s changed? Corporations still write the laws and the leader of the Democratic party never met an issue he wouldn’t capitulate on.
How many failures of the politicians to actually effect change, and subsequent disappointments of the people who nominally elect them, is it going to take for people to learn that Republicans and Democrats aren’t the answer? Republocrats are incapable of effective government that represents the people because they are both beholden to the same interests: their donors’ and their own. Kent Conrad was a helluva guy when he went to Congress—a populist with a policy—now he does the bidding of the insurance companies.
Each party has betrayed the ideals of its founders: Republicans are supposed to be fiscally conservative, yet implemented the biggest unfunded mandate in history with the Medicare prescription program—expiration of the pay-as-you-go rule in effect during Bush I and Clinton was the only reason this was possible—and a war of choice the true cost of which was hidden from the Pentagon and Omnibus spending bills.
This is a story that’s been told before, but it bears repeating: Pharmaceutical companies flooded Capitol Hill with lobbyists and donations in the weeks and months before the vote. They basically wrote the bill themselves to make sure that cheaper drugs couldn’t be imported from Canada, and that the government was prohibited from negotiating purchases as a group, just like every insurance company does with its prescription drugs and every medical service it pays for, which would have meant tremendous bargaining power to lower prices. Either would have reduced the drug companies’ profits to the benefit of taxpayers, but the alleged representatives of the people couldn’t be bothered.
(Footnote: The vote took place at 3 am. “I think a lot of the shenanigans that were going on that night, they didn’t want on national television in primetime,” Rep. Dan Burton told 60 Minutes. The Congressman who played a major role in shepherding the bill through the House became the head of the pharmaceutical lobby just fourteen months later.)
But guess who did the same deal with PhrRMA in April? President Obama. So much for standing up for the common people against powerful interests—like the Democratic Party of FDR and LBJ. And so much for “change we can believe in.”
In barely more than a year, the president has gone, in the eyes of the people, from being the outsider candidate they hoped would alter what they’re dissatisfied with to the insider they’re dissatisfied with. But just as with Conrad and others, his first year has shown that you can’t play ball in Washington without sucking up to the checkwriters that are the cause of the problem.
Scott Brown is making his victory speech as I write this. He’s trumpeting the power of “the independent majority” that elected him (51% of voters in Mass. are “unenrolled,” i.e. affiliated with no party). “This is the people’s seat,” he’s saying. How long before he fails the people who pulled the levers for him? My guess is right around the time he needs Republican Party money to get re-elected.
Follow me on Twitter.