Kennedy: “The Last Thing This Country Needs Is Two Republican Parties”

Last year today was probably one of the best day in President Obama’s life, but today could not be more different. As if  it isn’t  enough to have to deal with the major humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake,but  President Obama and the Democrats have now to cope with the political seismic shock of Scott Brown’s victory for  the seat of Ted Kennedy. If the “Lion of the Senate” was still alive today, he would very likely be even more upset than the President. Ted Kennedy died for a second time last night, not literally of course, but in spirit. What some of Massachusetts’ voters did, by electing Scott Brown, could kill the Senator’s political life work & legacy.

The Obama administration has now the major headache of trying to get bills voted in the Senate without their previous super majority. The Congress was already barely functioning, but with the magical 60 votes gone, the legislative process could become completely gridlocked. The first target will be of course the health care reform bill, which will be bounced around between the House and the Senate to become an empty shell of its original intention.

It is likely that the “political instinct” of the Obama administration and most Democrats will be to retreat & compromise even more with the GOP, just for the sake of passing some sort of health care bill. On the issue of a finance reform bill and an immigration bill, Americans should keep their expectations very low unless the Obama administration and the Democrats change their tactics in dealing with the systematic obstructionism from the Republicans. However, they are unlikely to do so, if nothing else it seems that the White House would rather use the “sharp elbows” of chief of staff Rahm Emanuel against the left rather than the right of the party.What has even more global consequences than a lack of action on finance & immigration reforms will be for Republicans to make sure that no significant bill is passed on tackling climate change.

After Ronald Reagan’s landslide victory in 1980, Ted Kennedy made the following statement, which strangely apply to  the Democrats’ current political predicament: “If the Democrats run for cover, if we become pale carbon copies of the opposition, we will lose and deserve to lose. The last thing this country needs is two Republican parties.”

Instead of sending the usual spin doctors to minimized yesterday’s fiasco, President Obama should meditate on the wise words of Ted Kennedy. It is not the left that has deserted the Democrats in their support yesterday, it is the other way around. President Obama’s political agenda is not “too ambitious” like some say, it is too tentative. The “audacity of hope” is long forgotten and has been replaced by the grind of pragmatism. The enthusiasm which carried Barack Obama to the White House last year is fading fast, it has been replaced by a populist raw anger which the GOP managed to ride to victory last night.

General De Gaulle made the following statement half a century ago:“You may be sure that the Americans will commit all the stupidity they can think of, plus some that are beyond imagination.” This is exactly what a majority of voters did yesterday in Massachusetts, and by doing so they made the task of governing extremely challenging for the Obama administration.


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