Sunday, January 17, 2010

VoteShock

Long time readers of this blog know that I'm both a democrat and a feminist, and that I'd love nothing more than to help elect a democratic woman candidate as our next senator. But long time readers will also recall that I've sometimes voted my conscience rather than the ticket.

Yesterday, my husband told me that I was really an independent. "No." I replied. "I'm a democrat. I believe in what our party stands for... I just wish they'd send us better democrats."

Last year I had the long awaited pleasure of voting for a better democrat when I colored in the circle next to Alan Khazie's name. He was a candidate with what, to me, are values truer to what our party stands for. Khazie, it should be noted, is supporting Martha Coakley in the special election.

The truth is, I know some wonderful fellow democrats, holding signs on sidewalks for hours in the cold, making call after call after call to strangers, in support Martha Coakley, and I truly respect them for it - and hope they will likewise respect my decision not to.

From what I understand, I'm in good company. The fact that Ted Kennedy's seat (I mean 'the people's seat') might go to a republican has left many in shock. It shouldn't. Ted had a good run.

I'd been voting for Ted Kennedy as long as I can remember. But, in early 2007, upon learning that the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe along with a self-purposed cast of international billionaires, indian gaming lawyers, lobbyists, legislators and autocratic yokels were attempting to foist the world's biggest casino on my part of the world I wrote to both senators Kennedy and Kerry about my concerns.

Kennedy's office responded by thanking me for my interest in immigration reform. Kerry's office never responded at all.

Now, this wasn't some dog complaint or random rage against the machine that I'd penned. It was a legitimate, heartfelt letter from a long-time resident of Massachusetts, expressing my fears of a sovereign nation with a daily revolving population the size of Plymouth on 500 some-odd acres just a few minutes from my front door, and of being steamrolled by a system that had been conceived and constructed by the very political body to which they belonged.

I have no idea how either Martha Coakley or Scott Brown feel about expanded gambling in the Bay State - an issue I've come to use as my criteria in judging a candidate's intelligence, character and leadership potential because I am so intimately familiar with it - because despite being repeatedly asked, neither candidate felt the public needed to know where they stood on it.

But I'm supposed to vote for Martha because she will vote for Obama's health care bill. The thing is, I don't want to vote for Obama's health care bill. I want Obama's health care bill to go back to the drawing board. I want Obama's health care bill not to give the State of Nebraska almost as many rights as a federally recognized Indian tribe. And I don't want Obama's health care legislation to be pushed through faster than a tribal casino on an unsuspecting public.

I've heard that making legislation can be like making sausage. But from my experience, when legislation is rushed through, it comes out sort of like Swiss cheese - it has a lot of holes. Holes which will invariably be stumbled upon, then manipulated by, lawyers and various corporate interests whose main concern is decidedly not the better good of the American people.

I also realize that there's supposed to be 'a window' of time that Obama can realistically push through any health care plan, and that he's trying his best to do it, even if it means that the plan might not be the best effort. But I don't believe it. I believe that universal health care is here to stay and that refining and retooling it won't kill it for good. And I'm not alone.

And that's why the Kennedys and an onslaught of other big-name democratic paratroopers are currently falling out of the sky to remind Massachusetts voters how we're supposed to vote.

And it's worked. I'm reminded that I'm supposed to vote for a senator who will vote for legislation that is being rushed through and that when I, or someone I love is negatively effected by it, I can expect a letter thanking me for my interest in immigration reform. If I get one at all.

Listen, I'm not a Scott Brown fan. I think he's probably as big a doofus as Tim Cahill.

But I'm not a Martha Coakley fan either. Once again, a female democratic candidate has me wondering if we were even born on the same planet.

When I hear her tell us she 'stands up..' for people, I can't help but visualize a thought bubble above her head that says - '...at least when it works for me.'

I'm also weary of democratic hypocrites who paint republicans as war mongers while they, themselves, proclaim victims of state-sponsored gambling addiction and their families as 'acceptable losses'.

I'm tired of democratic leadership like that of Therese "Ka-Ching" Murray who has stated that she doesn't even read anything predatory gambling opponents send her.

I'm tired of the Kennedy family mythos deciding elections for us every time things might not go the way they want it. Like Ted, they've all had a good long run in this State, not to mention this entire nation. And, while I appreciate the Kennedy family's unrivaled sacrifices and contributions to public service, frankly, their emotionally-tinged support for the current democratic place-holder, without regard for her record, just continues to perpetuate the unhelpful, out-dated fiction that the democratic party always support the 'little guy'.

And I really would prefer that Obama stay in DC to celebrate his wife's birthday and concentrate on helping Haiti and our troops in Iraq of Afghanistan instead of coming here to Massachusetts to tell us how to vote. I like President Obama but let's face it, he wouldn't actually care so much about how we voted in this election unless his health care plan weren't threatened. He doesn't want to have to send that plan through again.

But the President forgets - this vote isn't a national referendum on health care - it's about whose voice will define the future of Massachusetts. And, we already have one of the best state-run universal health plans in the nation. In fact, the president's current plan will cost us all extra in this state because of it. And way more than it will cost the state of Nebraska which, in the true spirit of equality, will pay nothing. But pay no attention to that feeling of disparity you're having, because the democratic party will take care of you.

Incessant television ads may paint Scott Brown as a health care blue meaney, but he's said he's not against universal health care. He just wants to bring it back to the table.

If elected, I believe that a Massachusetts republican Senator will be forced to stay on his toes, while a member of the tired and true democratic machine will continue to bask in the comfort of a complacent electorate and toe the party line.

In the absence of a political miracle, a republican shake up could be the best thing that could happen to my party. It might actually save it from it's own machinery, it's own assembly line, it's own unwittingly manufactured obsolescence.

And, of the two of candidates, Brown strikes me as more likely to listen to my concerns.

That ability to listen - that rare trait, the lack of which many in my party share with the American Auto and Lending Industries

And, as long as we keep voting for them, because we're supposed to, because they know what's best for us, they'll continue in that fine tradition. Just like the Auto and Lending Industries did. And, ultimately be will good for America. Right?

When it comes down to a race between two candidates you don't like, and neither of whom probably care about what's important to you, it's going to come down to making a statement. In the past, that statement, for me, has included voting for candidates with no possibility of winning. But, this time around, I find myself with an alternative.

Despite the arguments of my friends who are supporting Coakley, I don't necessarily think that a vote for her, because she is a democrat, is automatically superior to a vote for a republican. Especially since it offers us the opportunity, at last, to send the Massachusetts democratic party a message: Send better democrats.

If Martha is elected, she could screw up royally and still stay elected for life. If Scott screws up, he'll be a one-term senator and the Massachusetts democratic party might actually be forced to care about your next senatorial vote. Wouldn't that be something?

I mean, how long is our state going to be dismissed as an impenetrable blue blob on the map? Can't we protect a woman's right to choose and have better health care legislation?

The insiders suggest Coakley will squeak out a victory, which will no doubt then be touted as a victory for the democratic party - the party of the little guy.

Nevertheless, on Tuesday, this little guy will be voting for the candidate most likely not to push her to the sidewalk should she have the audacity to ask them a question they don't want to answer.

11 comments:

Carl said...

Principle over party. The noble way to go.

Have you considered putting a dog head on Martha?

Gladys Kravitz said...

Only if she wins...

Anonymous said...

I don't vote in your state, and you didn't ask, but from an outsiders perspective.....

It really does matter who represents you in the Senate for 6 years.

CT. conservative/independent voters helped Joe Lieberman win. If you like Lieberman, you will love Brown. I guess.

Gladys Kravitz said...

Anon. 11:30 you miss my point.

Neither candidate will accurately represent me in the Senate for the next 6 years.

For expample: A vast majority in our State oppose Obama's health care plan but Coakley will vote the party line. This is probably good for you, whatever state you live in, but not for us in MA, who will have to pay more for health care where we already have the best state-run plan in the country. The plan should be revised which Brown is open to. Coakley is not.

Brown will likely vote for things which are will be unpopular with voters, and he will either do what he wants or he'll listen. Coakley won't listen now.

MA may be Kennedy country but it's also much more moderate than is reported. Ted, who did many great things, always voted progressive, whether his constituents wanted it or not.

MA voters are tired of not being heard.

So yes, it matters very much to me who goes to the Senate. Because I do want to be heard. We all do. The situation you are seeing here in MA is a result of that. We don't want another six years of an administration that is out of touch.

I doubt you know as much about Coakley as you think you do. That is what her camp is hoping for. The more you know, the less appealing she becomes.

There are some great democrats in this State and I'm proud of them, and would have been delighted to vote for them. Coakley is not one of them.

Like I said, I think Brown is more likely to listen. That's not my fault, it's Coakley's. Maybe I'm wrong, but I have two viable candidates to choose from, both of whom will probably do more harm than good in the Senate. And, like I said, if Brown screws up, he'll be a one-term senator and we'll get better democrats. If Coakley screws up, she'll be in office for life, and we'll lose our chance to change the State democratic party for the better.

FrankD said...

Why in a State that has one of the most Liberal voting histories, 51% of the voters are independents ? Is this a new generation of "educated" voters who are replacing the old "Kennedy loving, lace-curtain Irish" democrats ? Can you really base your decision on party affiliation alone ? Time to start leveling the State House playing field. This independent thinks Scott Brown is the better choice.

Gladys Kravitz said...

Frank, I'm glad you chimed in. I was on Twitter this morning and another out-of-stater was sounding scared that MA might not vote Dem.

Maybe the national news isn't doing a very good job of telling the whole story about this race. It's really not cut and dry, is it?

I'd love to hear from others as to who they are voting for and why.

Jacquie said...

I am a huge Brown supporter.

Obamacare would be dreadful if it passes. Mass health, the model that the nation's future universal healthcare is based on DOES NOT WORK.

Many doctor's offices do not accept mass health ( or accept the absolute minimum that they have to)...why? Because reimbursement is so low, there is no incentive to get people off Mass Health.

There are 2 philosophies here... you either teach a person how to fish or you continue to endlessly feed them. Mass Health enables dependency on a very broken system.

We as a nation, are already bankrupt. How can we afford to put so many more million people on a dependent system. The plan is to raise taxes ( for the 1/2 of the population that actually pays taxes) to support those who feed off of the system.

If we cut taxes therefore enable small business to hire more people...we promote the economy and job promotion, and obtain insurance through those means.

My question to many who are democrats is...Are you a democrat because that's what you grew up as? Because today's democrat is not what a democrat was when we were young. Ironically, today's democrat does not support the working class, who are struggling with the endless raising of taxes. The party is filled with union voters who are using their political clout to stay in power.

Be an independent thinker. Get informed and choose the best candidate based on how they stand on the issues. Brown will not support the healthcare bill. Common sense will tell you that if backroom deals need to go on to get this bill to pass....it's not good.

Anonymous said...

11:03 again.
Although I don't live in your state and I don't know anything much about Coakley, I did read a candidate comparison I found on-line today.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/01/18/issues_in_the_senate_race/

Carl said...

Since I am active in Brown's campaign locally, I would say that the Democrats are scared and they should be. There is an excitement amongst conservatives and Republicans that has not been seen in who knows when. Indendents and disenfranchised democrats are driving the surge. I believe it will be a close vote and Brown will pull it off. Coakley has run a lousy campaign making mistakes daily. Curt Schilling is a Yankees fan? Please.

Carl said...

Bookies are cutting their losses.

http://tinyurl.com/ye8yqee

Gladys Kravitz said...

Anon. 11:03 - that article didn't begin to tell you everything about the difference between the candidates.

BTW the National nightly news got it right tonight. The voice-over for the segment went something like:

...The Massachusetts Democratic party thought filling Ted Kennedy's seat would be so easy that it didn't matter what Democrat they filled it with...

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