Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Massachuets Election - Voter Scorn Strikes Obama

63 Years. 63 years.


63 years, the voters of Massachuets were content to elect the democrat party to be their represenatives. Yet after 1 year of the Obama administration, the backlash against his approach to governance has resulted in the famously liberal state to vote republican.

Clearly, Barack Obama underestimated the full effect pushing unpopular policy at the cost of instigating voter scorn, so much so that his decisions are bringing ruin to his own party.

It is here that I hold pity for the democrats, as I ponder how things may have been were the Clintons once again in control. For all their arguable faults, the Clinton's did have a redeemable value in that they knew of and greatly respected the potential of public opinion. Their presidency was successful in part of the fact that they, like many politicians, were incensed by their own probabilities of re-election, and formed policy likely to take themselves (and their party) in such a direction. Overall, this resulted in mostly non-intrusive government during the Clinton years, as the former president was willing to do what it took to maintain consistent pole ratings above 60%. From stepping back and leaving "Wall Street" to the competent hands of Greenspan, to the elimination of trade barriers via the NAFTA agreement (as well as avoiding new barriers via the Kyoto Protocol), from learning to compromise with Newt Gringrich for truly bipartisan policy.

Clinton, whatever his personal ideology may had been, would not be blinded it. Though he may be remembered by many as flawed on a individual level, credit must be given due to his sensitivity in doing that with which a maximum amount of constituents (be they democrat, republican, or independent) would be satisfied with, leaving it no wonder why he would leave office with some of the highest job approval ratings in several decades.

The would-be return of Team Clinton, this time with Hilary at the helm, would have likely been a repeat of the same policies that defined the first Clinton administration, in which public opinion held a strong influence in their decisions. A concept that the Democrats appeared to have lost under Obama's leadership. Barrack Obama it would seem, appears to be a visionary who is too focused on his personal dream of "remaking America" than to react to the will of the people, as we now see what many were concerned with when they accused Mr. Obama of "inexperience." With only a prior two-year term in the senate, the current president appears to have yet learned the number one lesson of public policy - that one will not run policy that is overwhelmingly against the will of the public.

Where the concept of rational ignorance does not exist, it is unwise to pursue any form of policy that is counter to the constituency, and perhaps the upsetting new election will sound a wake up call for Mr. Obama. The future has yet to fully unfold, and the possiblity for learning from one's mistakes is always present. Nevertheless, the Clinton's would have already been familiar with this concept had they stepped into office in '08, and I for one would be regretting the decision to have made him the presidential canidate were I currently Martha Coakley.

Whatever happens, the debate on health-care will truly be remembered as a classic case study on distrusted government reform in a political environment of wide-spread voter scorn. How the recent Supreme Court decision to lift spending caps from corporate entities will surely serve to further the intriguing quality behind the matter matter.

~David Morris~

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