Three Ways to Spin It

 Seismic.  That’s the best word I heard Tuesday night listening to coverage of the special election in Massachusetts.  There is the obvious explanation, there is the not so obvious, and there is the downright simple and quite boring.

 A Referendum on Obama – The Obvious

 Not just Healthcare, but the whole agenda.  The buying of votes for millions in pork, the deals for labor unions so they avoid taxes that the rest of the middle class has to pay, and the complete and utter lack of transparency into every aspect of governing.  There is such a disconnect between the rhetoric and the actions that it’s seems like there is a parallel universe the administration operates in where they believe their own stuff.

Door Number 3 – The Not so Obvious

Populist anger.  Coakley represented the incumbent and stood in front of the tea party train.  Never has the door been so wide open for the introduction of a third party.  Anyone with the label Republican or Democrat has a target on his or her head. Americans are just pissed at the process in its entirety.  Lou Dobbs, Sarah Palin, whoever the third party candidate will be in the next Presidential election, they will either be the first to win the White House, or the reason somebody else lost.  Either way, that candidate will have a huge impact.

The End of Camelot – The Simple

 Massachusetts is a blue-collar state.  Notwithstanding the liberal bastion of Harvard, Massachusetts is a paradox.  This is the state that originated “the hockey Mom”, not Alaska, and considers Cape Cod an exotic beach destination.  I know Massachusetts, I lived there.  Massachusetts loved that Ted Kennedy was their Senator; it brought prestige to a small state.  They loved that the Kennedy’s, instead of becoming captains of industry, chose to serve.  They chose to fight for the common man.  But the people of Massachusetts and the Kennedy’s shared little in common aside from geography.  So Massachusetts reverted back to its core and elected a blue collar, pick up truck driving state senator, a man of the people.  No referendum, no message to DC. They just liked the guy, he was one of them.

 Whichever version of the truth you buy, and all three might be true, its going to be an interesting 10 months till the mid term elections, and an interesting several weeks in Washington, DC.

 What do you think?

 Guest Blogger – Jeff Hine

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3 responses to “Three Ways to Spin It

  1. Sorry, but saying things (even on the Internet!) doesn’t make them true, and it’s beyond specious to assert that the Obama administration has displayed “complete and utter lack of transparency into every aspect of governing.”

    Please give some examples of how the Obama administration has been less transparent than any administration in recent history.

  2. Mike – thanks for asking. Here are a couple examples.

    The Healthcare debate and negotiations will be on CSPAN, in public, in front of cameras – not sure if you’ve heard this Obama clip the several hundred times its been played over the last couple weeks. This was an Obama promise back in the campaign.

    Not only has it not been on CSPAN, but negotiations have been behind closed doors. Even without minority leadership in the room. I’ve heard that term “behind closed doors” so many times in the past month that I’m numb to it.

    When you give pork to Nebraska to buy votes, when you exempt Union members from taxes that the rest of the middle class will have to pay – you have to do it behind closed doors.

    The other example is the promise that any bill signed will be available for public review and opinions for 5 days. The so-called “Sunlight Before Signing”. The Credit Card Bill of Rights and the Children’s Health Insurance Bill to name a few. One signed within hours.

    Without commenting on the value of the legislation, which I have not read, these are examples of transparency that was promised, but not delivered.

    Most of my criticism has its source in the immense disappointment I have with the President turning his back on the populist rhetoric that gave me hope. It’s more about him going back on the promise of transparency, than believing that this administration is any less transparent than any other. Perhaps I overplayed that point.

    Debates will be in the open…
    The public will get to review legislation…
    We will go through the bills line by line and remove pork….

    If only it actually happened…

  3. Campaign promises, unfortunately, aren’t something I think reasonable people on either side of the aisle should bet too heavily on. Very few class presidents ever actually deliver new vending machines to the cafeteria. I’m not thrilled about the negotiations happening behind closed doors, but I’m not shedding any tears about opposition leadership not being in the room, since it’s been clear from almost the very beginning that Republicans would vote in lockstep to obstruct HCR regardless of concessions made to curry their favor. When you don’t negotiate in good faith, you lose your seat at the table.

    Pork isn’t new to politics, but it’s right that Nelson’s been raked over the coals for that deal. To his credit, he’s requested that it be removed from final legislation. Besides, I haven’t seen any indication that the push for that pork came from the White House.

    As for the “Cadillac Tax,” and what its final shape may be: all I know is that lots of economists think it’s one of the only ways to control spending in health care, which is why we’re worrying about this whole mess in the first place. Controlling that spending is going to require some difficult decisions, and reasonable people are certainly entitled to disagree in the debate.

    I jumped all over your transparency claim because despite your complaints, which are valid, I think there’s been a great improvement in the general transparency of our government under this administration. Politics will ALWAYS consist of back room deals, arm twisting, and favors for favors (at least until the robots take over). Sometimes it’ll be by the guys we like and we won’t mind, and sometimes it’ll be by the guys we hate and we will. Given a choice between the secrecy and at times outright falsehood and obstruction of the truth we saw from the last administration (I’m talking the widespread abuse of Executive Privilege to refuse testimony, etc.), and the occasional lack of cameras covering negotiations and/or bills being signed right away we’re seeing from this one, I’ll take Obama.

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