A Referendum on Secrecy and Entitlement
Virgina Senator Jim Webb offers up one of the best perspectives on Scott Brown’s win tonight:
Calling the race “a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process” Webb said Democrats need to hold off on further action until Brown is formally sworn in to the chamber.
“It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders. To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated,” he said.
At the end of the day, I don’t believe health care has much to do with Scott Brown’s win. It may be the issue of the day, but Brown put out a message that resonates much more deeply in the American soul:
GERGEN: If this bill fails, it could well be another 15 years before we see another health care reform in Washington. Are you willing under those circumstances to say ‘I’m going to be the person. I’m I’m going to sit in Teddy Kennedy’s seat, and I’m going to be the person who’s going to block it for another fifteen years.
BROWN: Well, with all due respect it’s not the Kennedy seat, and it’s not the Democrats’ seat — it’s the people’s seat. And they have a chance to send someone down there who’s going to be an independent voter and an independent thinker and to look out for the best interests of the people of Massachusetts.
A month ago, this election was not even on the political radar. Martha Coakley was bound to win because the Democrats were entitled to Ted Kennedy’s seat. It was obvious that the seat would be passed from the Lion of the Senate to a political heir apparent, carrying forth his will for the next two years. How could it be any other way?
The Democrats made the mistake of making public their sense of entitlement. They pounded the idea that it was Ted Kennedy’s seat into the ground. They won in 2008 and they would keep winning. They believed they had the modern equivalent of the Chinese “Mandate of Heaven“.
The people of Massachusetts were ready to begrudgingly accept the inevitability of a Coakley win as little as two weeks ago. Then they heard a message that was as old as the American Republic: Heed no royalty. Scott Brown started campaigning for “the people’s seat” while the king-makers in the Democratic political machine were still crowing about their entitlement to “Ted Kennedy’s seat”.
But the message resonated even more deeply than that. The last decade has been one of secrecy and back-room deals designed to enrich and empower politicians at the expense of the ordinary citizen. Fourteen months ago, Barack Obama won an election on his promise to change that. So far, he has failed to live up to that promise. The people see a government united under a single political party that believes it is entitled to plow through an agenda without scrutiny from the average citizen.
Scott Brown, by running for “the people’s seat” and promising to be “the 41st vote against Obamacare”, provided the people of Massachusetts a chance to send Washington a message on secrecy and entitlement. The message was clear: enough is enough. What are the odds that the triumvirate at the top of the Federal government will heed it?