Monday, January 18, 2010

What Massachusetts already knows

In some ways Massachusetts already knows what the rest of the nation is just getting used to. They already have a health care plan that covers up to 98% of their citizens. And it's ending up costing a whole lot more than predicted so, as a result, they're facing deep financial problems. Spending is skyrocketing and they have the highest costs in the nation. And they have one-party rule and they've seen what happens when Democrats control the legislature and the governor's seat. So they have, in effect, been the canary in the coal mine for the rest of the country on both fronts. And, as Byron York points out, in this special Senate election, Massachusetts is ready to be the canary again and pull back from one-party rule on the federal level.
Not only are all other significant state offices occupied by Democrats, the governorship is in the hands of the very Democratic, very liberal, and very unpopular Deval Patrick. There is not even a token of Republican leadership to be found. And for the independent voters who will play a critical role in Tuesday's election, Massachusetts' one-party rule mirrors the one-party rule in today's Washington, where national Democrats are deciding important issues among themselves without even the pretense of including Republicans.

Tuesday's special election presents the first opportunity for Massachusetts voters to remedy the situation. Massachusetts has not sent a Republican to the Senate in more than a generation, but voters might take this chance to restore some small measure of balance to a government that is perhaps too blue even for a very blue state.

"This country was built on debate," says Diane Anderson, a Brown voter from Swampscott, Massachusetts. "And with the Democrats having 60 senators…just for that fact alone, if for no other reason, we should continue to have debate, and Brown will bring debate, being the 41st Republican."
The ironies abound. I've enjoyed the irony that this election wouldn't even be taking place if the Democrats hadn't gotten too smart for themselves in 2004 and passed a new law to take the power away from Governor Mitt Romney to appoint a senator to John Kerry's seat just in case Kerry had won the election that year. He didn't and the Democrats pulled back to give Governor Patrick the power to appoint an interim successor to Ted Kennedy. If they'd stayed with the law that they had pre-2004, Patrick could have appointed Paul Kirk to the Senate and Kirk would have been senator until the election in November. Their greed is doing them in.

The other irony is that, if the Democrats hadn't run so extremely to the left in their year controlling the federal government, the backlash wouldn't be so strong right now in Massachusetts. Getting that 60th vote (Thank you Minnesota and Arlen Specter) freed them up to ignore Republicans and laid bare the raw corruption in their negotiating the health care bill.

The Democrats are reaping what they have sown.