Thursday, January 21, 2010

Massachusetts to Obama: 'No, You Can't!'

Massachusetts to Obama: 'No, You Can't!'
Larry Elder
Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Let me be as clear as I can. There is no way in hell we're going to elect a Republican to Ted Kennedy's seat. Period."

So said the man who finished second in the Democratic Massachusetts primary held to fill the seat occupied for 47 years by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. State Attorney General Martha Coakley won the primary. Republican state Sen. Scott Brown once trailed her by 30 points in the polls.

On Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010, Brown defeated Coakley by 5 points. This astonishing Republican win in Massachusetts is a flat-out repudiation of President Barack Obama.

This is now strike five. In 2008, Obama carried New Jersey and Virginia. Last year, he unsuccessfully stumped in both states for Democrats in gubernatorial races. Democrats previously held those seats. He twice flew to Copenhagen, once to lobby for the Chicago Olympics and later to get a meaningful international deal on "climate change." Both times, he came home empty-handed. Now comes Massachusetts. Try to explain that one away.

Massachusetts had not elected a Republican senator since 1972. Its 10-seat House delegation is wall-to-wall Democrats. Obama, in 2008, carried the state by 26 points. Registered Democrats in Massachusetts outnumber registered Republicans by more than 3 to 1.

What happened? One, Obama. Two, the Democratic filibuster-proof Senate supermajority. Three, a party led by like-minded lefties.

But ObamaCare is ground zero. Brown campaigned against it and promised he'd try to stop it. The unpopular legislation would mandate that everyone carry health insurance. It would force insurance companies to accept those with pre-existing illnesses. It would tax -- or, if you prefer, fine -- employers for not providing health insurance and individuals for not having it. It would exempt union members from a tax on their employer-provided plans but force nonunion members with similar plans to pay it. Nebraska would get its new Medicaid costs exempted in perpetuity. Louisiana would receive $300 million in goodies.

ObamaCare, according to Obama, promises both deficit neutrality and eventual cost savings. Right. And the legislation ignores the fact that most Americans have and like their current health insurance.

The Democrats misread the country's mood. They misunderstood why they won in '08. They thought that Obama's election and their gains in Congress meant not just receptiveness, but an eagerness to embrace a New Enlightenment. They believed that people really want to tax "the rich," to redistribute wealth, to punish success.

So Obama set sail to grow government -- to use tax dollars to create "green jobs," to tackle "climate change" with onerous regulations on businesses. He showed the world his un-Bushness by apologizing for America's alleged past arrogance and by employing a kinder, gentler approach to what we once called the War on Terror.

He called the passage of the partisan "stimulus" bill necessary to prevent unemployment from reaching 8 percent. It is now 10 percent. The bill promised to "create or save" millions of jobs. Instead, it created embarrassing headlines about money going to nonexistent ZIP codes and about spending hundreds of thousands of dollars per "created or saved" job. Brown called for tax cuts and criticized Obama's stimulus plan.

The Obamacrats bailed out insurance companies, car companies and banks. Bank bailout recipients rang up huge profits, repaid the government ahead of schedule and then dealt themselves big bonuses. People looked at all the Wall Streeters in and/or advising the administration and wondered, "Why did they need our money in the first place?"

The Boston Massacre dooms ObamaCare -- at the very least its current incarnation. It pulls the country back from the brink of this costly, irreversible leap into collectivism. Oh, sure, Democrats have procedural maneuvers to pull it off. But after this wake-up call, let them try. Gone are "cap and trade" and a second spendthrift ''stimulus package," as well as an attempt at "immigration reform" -- even as our borders remain scarily porous. With Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and interest on the federal debt on automatic pilot, ObamaCare was a pillow pressed over the face of the country.

Former Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean, representing the left-left wing of the left-wing party, says Massachusetts means that Democrats should turn further left. Does he know that only 26 percent of Massachusetts voters think RomneyCare, their own version of ObamaCare, is effective?

Dean thinks Democrats wussed out on providing a health insurance "public option" and calls the bill a sop to greedy "special interests." Dean is obtuse. Other Democrats will trade ideology for self-preservation. They will reflect and redirect or suffer the consequences.

As for the late Sen. Kennedy, his death opened a seat that guarantees the defeat of ObamaCare 1.0. Kennedy's death, therefore, stopped this wide-ranging health care "reform."

And America now has a new lease on life.

Are Republicans "Due"?: Part III
Thomas Sowell
Thursday, January 21, 2010

If the Republicans think that they are simply "due" to start winning elections, perhaps buoyed by the recent polls showing the public turning against Democrats in general and the Obama administration in particular, then they may neglect to do the things they need to do if they are to turn their hopes into realities.

One of the things that is long overdue is some Republican re-thinking-- or perhaps thinking for the first time-- about the approach that they have been using, with consistently disastrous results, for trying to get the black vote.

Within living memory, it was considered nothing remarkable when Republicans received 30 or 40 percent of the black vote. Today a Republican presidential candidate is lucky if his share of the black vote is not in single digits.

The black vote was once consistently Republican, from the time of Abraham Lincoln to Herbert Hoover. Even after Franklin D. Roosevelt won over the black vote to the Democrats, it was not considered remarkable when Eisenhower got a higher share of the black vote than any Republican president in recent times has.

It may be years before Republicans can again get a majority of the black vote. But Republicans don't need to get a majority of the black vote. If they get 20 percent of the black vote, the Democrats are in trouble-- and if they get 30 percent, the Democrats have had it in the general election.

In some close Congressional elections, if the Republicans increase their share of the black vote by even modest amounts, that can be the difference between victory and defeat.

There is no point today in Republicans continuing to try to win over the average black voter by acting like imitation Democrats. Those who like what the Democrats are doing are going to vote for real Democrats.

But not all black voters are the same, any more than all white voters are the same. Those black voters that Republicans have any realistic chance of winning over are people who share similar values and concerns.

They want their children to get a decent education, which they are unlikely to get so long as public schools are a monopoly run for the benefit of the teachers' unions, instead of for the education of the children. Democrats are totally in hock to the teachers' unions, which means that Republicans have a golden opportunity to go after the votes of black parents by connecting the dots and exposing one of the key reasons for bad education in inner cities and the bad consequences that follow.

But when have you ever heard a Republican candidate get up and hammer the teachers' unions for blocking every attempt to give parents-- black or white-- the choice of where to send their children?

The teachers' unions are going to be against the Republicans, whether Republicans hammer them or keep timidly quiet. Why not talk straight to black voters about the dire consequences of the pubic school monopoly that the teachers' unions and the Democrats protect at all cost, even though many private schools-- notably the KIPP schools in various states-- have achieved remarkable success with low-income and minority youngsters?

Blacks have been lied to so much that straight talk can gain their respect, even if they don't agree with everything you say. Republicans need all the credibility they can get. When they try to be imitation Democrats, all they do is forfeit credibility.

Most blacks don't want judges turning criminals loose in their communities to plague them and their children. These are almost invariably liberal judges, appointed mostly by Democrats.

Many of the key constituencies of the Democratic Party-- the teachers' unions, the trial lawyers, and the environmentalists, for example-- have agendas whose net effect is to inflict damage on blacks. Urban Renewal destroys mostly minority neighborhoods and environmentalist restrictions on building homes make housing prices skyrocket, forcing blacks out of many communities. The number of blacks in San Francisco has been cut in half since 1970.

But, unless Republicans connect the dots and lay out the facts in plain English, these facts will be like the tree that fell in an empty forest without being heard.

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