Archive for January, 2010

Scott Brown: Defining the legend of Obama’s presidency

January 26, 2010

By David Farside

Jan. 25th, 2010

What a turn in events.  Scott Brown, a Republican, won the Massachusetts senatorial special election filling the seat vacated due to the death of Ted Kennedy. The Democrats held the seat since 1972.

The Democrats were blindsided by Republicans because of their National Health Plan proposals.  Brown, a real-estate attorney, opposes the Democrats’ plan for National Health Care and could be the deciding vote to kill the plan as proposed. However, before the Republicans start pounding their ultra-conservative chest, they should note that not all Republicans, including Brown, are opposed to a national health care plan.

Massachusetts is one of the few states with its own state run health care system. Scott Brown, while a state legislator,  supported and helped pass the unique state health care Plan. Another Republican, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, signed the legislation in 2006.

Their state law requires everyone who can afford it to have insurance. It subsidizes insurance premiums for those earning up to three times the federal poverty level. All business with 11 or more employees must offer insurance to their employees or face fines.  Romney vetoed the section of the bill that provided insurance coverage for illegal immigrants and abortions.

The irony is, Romney offered the Massachusetts plan, which works, to the Democrats during his campaign for president. Obama criticized him then but after a year of spinning his wheels and listening to our own Sen. Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, he’ll  probably have to eat political crow and give in to the Republicans. Either way, a national health care program similar to the one in Massachusetts will be passed this year and Scott Brown will have a lot to say about how it is finalized.  It’s remarkable how checks and balances work in a democracy.

Brown  also criticized Obama  for making what he called backroom deals with senators exchanging pork for their local jurisdictions to support his health care bill. The politically naive freshman senator will soon learn that is how most bills are approved in the U.S. Senate. The pork barrel is legal term for bribery paid for by the taxpayers.

The new senator held Obama accountable for not keeping his campaign promise of transparency. Obama said that all meetings regarding health care would be televised on C-SPAN. He promised that every meeting between lobbyists and members of Congress would be public. That is another promise Obama did not keep and helped contributed to Brown’s victory.

It’s true that all lobbyists and concerned parties meeting with senators or the president had to be signed in and registered as someone discussing the health plan. But, the actual bartering and conversations were not available to the public.

Brown represented himself as a commoner. He was a member of the Massachusetts State Legislature and joined the Independent voters in their concern of big government spending and the prospect of what they called socialized medicine. Instead of driving a luxury car on the campaign trail he drove his pickup truck.  If that doesn’t rally the good ol’ boys, nothing will.

The pickup truck reminded me of a Reno city councilman a few years ago. Tom Herndon was a two-term councilman. His main claim of political qualification was the fact that he drove a pickup truck. His TV commercials always showed him standing next to his truck while he recited the typical political gibberish we are all accustomed to. He ran again in 2008 against Don Gustin. I didn’t see any TV ads or his truck and he lost. I know he received at least one vote, that is, if he was smart enough to vote for himself.

During his acceptance speech, Brown  told the world  both of his  daughters were   ‘beautiful’  and ‘available.’  Alya Brown, 21, said she couldn’t believe her father  said that on national TV and he wasn’t joking. She said she received 1,058 requests for dates on Facebook. I think we will   have a lot of tabloid coverage of the Brown family in the future. The off-the-cuff remark will also give the senator  something in common with Howard Dean.

Obama failed to keep another campaign promise of bipartisanship in  negations for the change in our  health  care system because of political loyalty to his party. Scott Brown’s election to the Senate will be just what Obama needed to separate himself from the controlling  and  uncompromising Democratic leaders of Congress. It will enable  him to keep his promise,  negotiate with both sides of the isle for passage of genuine  bipartisan health care legislation and will  define   his presidency in the political history books of legends.