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

  1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Stephen Dufrechou
    January 21, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    Phenomenal article, Gilbert….

    Your quote from De Gaulle reminds me of another fitting assessment of Americans…

    “Americans don’t control anything; they don’t even control themselves.” — psychoanalyst Slavoj Zizek

    • +2 Vote -1 Vote +1ann faerber
      January 24, 2010 at 4:31 am

      I respect your writing, and really wish I could agree one hundred percent with you on this, but I don’t. I think you may know how I think our voting system works (it helps form the status quo “center” by limiting representation to only two “digestible” parties), and the make up of this country’s voting population is (and has been for a quite some time) center right. Put those two together and all hope for something other (more progressive) than Obama or a Clinton (either Clinton) is what we are going to get. The blue dems are blue because their constituents are this way. There is no blue dem party, just one democratic party with enough blue dems to side with the republicans on putting healthcare into government watch (regulation). That’s 20 + 41 healthcare. The “independents” of our country are also more conservative (fiscal conservative=libertarian=less government solutions). So when someone like Obama tries to change healthcare by using the government (which is the only true way), I don’t find it strange that the majority of the voting census attacks/dislikes his efforts on this particular subject. It does not matter how weak his push has been on the subject if you see it this way. The liberals stay home and do not vote because they can’t get all that they want in a healthcare bill?? Mass already has it’s healthcare agenda mostly figured out. Not all liberals stayed home on that day, some voted for Coakely, the other’s stayed home. Look at how close the race was. But that is what happens, not when it’s a referendum on Obama from the democrats, but when there is a set of impatient frustrated dems, and a whole lot of independents & conservatives who hate government come out for their voice to be heard. It’s been one year… just one year, and we are still in the midst of a financial breakdown. Something that was closer to what we had in the 1930’s, and yet, we didn’t quite reach that low. How many years did it take to recover from the great depression? I repeat: It’s been one year Obama has been in office. I must say, the people of America are damn impatient. How many years did medicare take to get through and rolling? And even medicare was amended to include more people than the first passing bill. Americans a re frustrated yes, but also damn impatient. ;p So yes, I too think the above quote by Slavoj Zizek is befitting of Americans. At least the Americans of today.

    • +1 Vote -1 Vote +1ann faerber
      January 24, 2010 at 4:39 am

      I respect your writing, and really wish I could agree one hundred percent with you on this, but I don’t. I think you may know how I think our voting system works (it helps form the status quo “center” by limiting representation to only two “digestible” parties), and the make up of this country’s voting population is (and has been for a quite some time) center right. Put those two together and all hope for something other (more progressive) than Obama or a Clinton (either Clinton) is what we are going to get. The blue dems are blue because their constituents are this way. Historically have been, too. There is no blue dem party, just one democratic party with enough blue dems to side with the republicans on NOT putting healthcare under government watch (regulation). That’s 20 + 41 healthcare down the tube. The “independents” of our country are also more conservative (fiscal conservative=libertarian=less government solutions). These folks always vote by fickleness (take away their vote for Obama last year, & the far left, no Obama as president, right?) They help make up the deciding factor. So when someone like Obama tries to change healthcare by using the government (which is the only true way), I don’t find it strange that the majority of the voting census dislikes his efforts on this particular subject. It does not matter how weak his push has been on the subject if you see he didn’t have a majority behind him. So Mass: The liberals stay home and do not vote because they can’t get all that they want in a healthcare bill?? Mass already has it’s healthcare agenda mostly figured out. Not all liberals stayed home on that day, some voted unwillingly for Coakely, the other’s stayed home. But everybody else did not stay home. Look at how close the race was. But that is what happens, not when it’s a real referendum on Obama from the democrats, but when there is a smaller set of impatient frustrated dems, and a whole lot of independents & conservatives who hate government come seeing their chance at being heard. It’s been one year… just one year, and we are still in the midst of a financial breakdown. Something that was closer to what we had in the 1930’s, and yet, we didn’t quite reach that low. How many years did it take to recover from the great depression? I repeat: It’s been one year Obama has been in office. I must say, the people of America are damn impatient. How many years did medicare take to get through and rolling? And even medicare was amended to include more people than the first passing bill. Americans a re frustrated yes, but also damn impatient. ;p So yes, I too think the above quote by Slavoj Zizek is befitting of Americans. At least the Americans of today.

  2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1ann faerber
    January 24, 2010 at 4:45 am

    Ugh! SORRY! I couldn’t figure out how to delete the first reply because it is my second one that I would prefer you to read. ;p

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