Opinion: On Tuesday 'Yes We Can' Became 'No You Don't!'
Barack Obama certainly didn't expect to receive as an anniversary gift a previously little-known Republican stealing Ted Kennedy's vacated Senate seat along with the President's precious filibuster-proof majority.
But with Scott Brown's surprising victory in Massachusetts Tuesday night, that's exactly what the chief executive got 364 days after putting his hand on the Bible swearing to protect and defend this great land.
As the Administration and its Party lick their wounds, the recriminations and finger-pointing have become almost as fun to watch as the returns were election night; the excuses for shoo-in Democrat Martha Coakley's colossal collapse comically traverse the political spectrum from the predictable to the theater of the absurd.
Take for example MSNBC's Keith Olbermann who actually smelled a touch of racism in the Massachusetts air Tuesday (videos embedded below the fold with partial transcripts):
KEITH OLBERMAN, "COUNTDOWN" HOST: The Republicans and the Tea Partiers will tell you what happens with Scott Brown tonight whether he wins or comes close is a repudiation of Obama policies. And surely one of Obama's policies from the viewpoint of his opponents is it's OK to have this sea-change in American history--to have an African-American president. Is this vote to any degree just another euphemism, the way 'states rights' was in the '60s?
Switching the channel from racism to sexism was a Politico piece published within hours of Coakley's concession speech: "If a male attorney general and former prosecutor had been running against a woman who'd posed nude for Cosmopolitan magazine and whose law practice consisted mainly of real estate closings, would he have been the one reduced to praying for a squeaker victory? Would she have even gotten elected to the state Senate?"
Yeah: Coakley lost because her opponent had a Y-chromosome and she didn't. Someone should tell the authors of this Vaudevillian farce that a woman almost became president in 2008, and another one almost became vice president.
Of course, it should come as no great surprise that the folks who suddenly find themselves mysteriously behind the political eight-ball can't explain how they got there.
If they could, they wouldn't have so foolishly squandered the behemoth-sized mandate they received in only twelve months. Quite a feat to lose so much political capital in such a short period of time, wouldn't you agree?
So let's put them out of their misery, and clue them in to what would be obvious if they weren't so fixated on healthcare reform: they badly misread what the 2008 elections meant and ended up quickly abusing the trust bestowed upon them by the very people they were sworn to serve.
Much as they did after Bill Clinton won in 1992, the Democrats mistook Obama's victory as a license to remake the U.S. government into something more resembling the Soviet Union than America.
But "Hope and Change" to the electorate in 2008 meant they hoped things would get better if they changed the Party in the White House from the Republicans they had lost faith in to the Democrats who promised possession of a better mousetrap.
It didn't mean they wanted the new Party in power to saddle them and their children with trillions of dollars of debt while increasing government intrusion into additional aspects of their daily lives.
As most Americans were smart enough to understand that 2008's financial collapse was partially caused by excessive borrowing by folks that couldn't ever afford to pay back the loans they were taking, the majority of the electorate possessing at least a lukewarm intelligence quotient recognized government creating staggering levels of new debt surely wasn't a sound long-term solution.
This was especially the case given the number of Americans who understand that they are in fact the lien-holders of the nation's Treasury paper, an inconvenient truth all too often lost on the politicians creating it.
But logic wasn't the order of the day when Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said moments after the 2008 elections: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."
Nice Machiavellian sentiment, Rahm, but that's not why Americans voted for "Hope and Change."
Even MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who once admitted feeling a tingle up his leg when Obama spoke, is beginning to understand that. The "Hardball" host surprisingly told NBC's Chuck Todd Monday, "I think people are very averse to what this program looks like of this new president."
He elaborated to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow moments after Martha Coakley's concession speech Tuesday night:
CHRIS MATTHEWS, "HARDBALL" HOST: The country wants something better than what it has...That dissatisfaction has been overwhelmed by bad politics and smart politics on the right by a complaint about fiscal overkill. And that is the problem the Democrats face right now -- a sense not that their values are wrong, not that people don`t want to help, but there`s a sense of fiscal overreach. The debt is too big. The government`s taking on too many responsibilities.
Exactly, and if a man that proudly admitted he was a liberal weeks ago is concerned that Obama and Company are going too far, it shouldn't be at all surprising that Massachusetts collectively said Tuesday, "No You Don't!"