Boston Tea Party

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Yesterday's victory by Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts' special election may have big implications for the national Democratic agenda. Nate Silver of breaks down the vote and the lessons learned. Then, Trudy Lieberman of the Columbia Journalism Review, and Richard Parker, lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, discuss if Massachusetts' voters used the vote as a referendum on their state's unique health care system or not.


Trudy Lieberman, Richard Parker and Nate Silver

Comments [83]

hjs from 11211

we just have to walk into an emergency room and then walk out on the bill. someone else will pay.

Jan. 20 2010 04:50 PM
Eugenia Renskoff from Williamsburgh, Brooklyn

Hello, again, Instead of focusing on how much health insurance for all (or nearly all) is going to cost the taxpayers, why not ask these questions: How much is it going to cost not to insure people? How can all politicians be humane and business savvy at the same time? And finally, would they like to be in pain and not receive medical care? I bet the answer to this last question is: No! Eugenia Renskoff

Jan. 20 2010 04:43 PM
Glenn Ribotsky from Queens, NY

You know, I haven't seen anybody point out yet that Coakley ran one of the most tone-deaf and dumb mini-campaigns that anyone has ever seen, topped off by her dis-sing of Red Sox Nation.

Massachusetts residents will put up with a lot of idiocy/bad behavior in their candidates--but disrespecting the athletic fandom absolutely crosses the line for many there. When Coakley scoffed that her opponent was standing outside of Fenway Park on a cold day to meet voters, I knew she had lost right then.

Without that incident, and without the famous athletes who then felt compelled to rally around Brown, I bet this election has a different outcome.

It is true that all politics is local--and in this case, piquantly so.

Jan. 20 2010 04:23 PM
hjs from 11211

first I'm NOT a democrat, there's no reason to be insulting, thanks
2nd we'll need more than luck to get through a republican restoration, but any way I have an escape plan. the rest of u are on your own!

also u do know, in fact, soda has ZERO nutritional value and can lead to diabetes? and smoking can lead to cancer?
why would I have compassion for someone who selfishly is driving up my taxes by raising medicare and other healthcare costs by putting poison in their bodies?
I'll save my compassion for "those less fortunate," who can't afford to buy sugar water/soda and those 40,000 americans who die every year because they don't have health insurance.
per your other myth that dems wrecked the economy, u will fool some people with lie but intelligent americans will always know better.
lucky for u, clearly they are a silent minority.

Jan. 20 2010 03:41 PM

Obama's ability to achieve anything of significance peaked the day before yesterday. It is all downhill from here, at least for the first term. The Dems will be fortunate to only lose 25 House seats and 5 Senate seats. And Obama will need a solid economic rebound in 2011 and 2012 to secure a second term.

Jan. 20 2010 03:01 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

[22] Mike from Manhattan from NYC,
Yes the insurance companies have won. Only temporarily. In their greed they will kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Aside from the 35 to 40 million who have no insurance the large majority of the rest get health through their employer.
With no reform on health care costs the insurance companies will astronomical increase insurance premium/costs for the employers/employees. Then the employer will not offer an insurance plan to their employees. The result will be a huge increase in the uninsured and a large reduction of profits for the insurance companies. The shareholders sale their holdings
and the companies can then face bankruptcy.

Jan. 20 2010 02:52 PM
df from

eugenia/76 -- do you not qualify for medicaid?

Jan. 20 2010 01:53 PM
Eugenia Renskoff from Williamsburgh, Brooklyn

I do not belong to any political party, but I did vote for Obama. I don’t care about left or right. All I am interested in is: When will I get health care? I am unemployed and have no health insurance, no way to see a doctor or a dentist. Eugenia Renskoff

Jan. 20 2010 01:21 PM
hjs from 11211

cigarettes & soda taxes are paid by stupid people who are running up everybody's healthcare costs. since i'm paying for medicare i agree these taxes help us.

good luck selling your teabags. you'll bring us to the 3rd while we "keeping on shopping."

Jan. 20 2010 12:39 PM
Hank from Brooklyn

I think we should go ahead and pass insurance reform and torte reform then seed the states to experiment with exchanges, single payer whatever.
There could be a competition similar to the education initiative.

Jan. 20 2010 12:24 PM
Matt from Greeley, CO

funny that people forget the economy was humming right along at all time highs and then....the Dems took over Congress and in less than a year it went into the toilet. Dems have total control now and it's not getting better. What happened to no new taxes on the middle class? First week in office a new tax on cigarettes was passed-mostly affects the middle class and poor. They want to pass a soda tax-mostly middle class will be affected. I thought they were supposed to be protecting us and they are simply using us. HJS-the last nine years were pretty good until the Dems took over. You just don't get it.

Jan. 20 2010 11:52 AM
hjs from 11211

"Obama should have the House pass the Senate's
version of the bill"

where are we the soviet union? he's just the president, no one can force the house to pass something. even if we live on the left, we are governed by the center!

Jan. 20 2010 11:50 AM
Ruth Bauer Neustadter from Hackensack, NJ

The only answer to health care in this country is medicare for all, single payer...however it is named. The Massachusette's model has not worked and that is a significant reason for Brown's success.
If one state were courageous enough to give medicare to all its citizens and it worked, perhaps other states would copy the model. Canada began health care for all in one province.
It evolves slowly and thoughtfully...and it continues to evolve.

Jan. 20 2010 11:48 AM
hjs from 11211

68] Matt from Greeley, CO
maybe the dem just remember what the last nine years were like. u don't get it. and if americans keep voting for teabagger that's the end.

Jan. 20 2010 11:46 AM
C.G. from Manhattan

Obama should have the House pass the Senate's version of the bill (flawed as it is) and then sign it. This would be a perfectly straightforward measure, well within the normal range of congressional action. The next step would be to propose legislation in both houses amending the just-passed act. The new bills would correct serious flaws in the main healthcare legislation. This would make healthcare reform inevitable, deny Republicans the opportunity of killing it, and share the burden of correcting flaws with fencesitters like Olympia Snow and Joe Lieberman and self-proclaimed moderates like Scott Brown who claim to want change but do not commit themselves to effecting change.

Jan. 20 2010 11:42 AM
Matt from Greeley, CO

Why are Democrats who are supposed to be so open minded and all inclusive so negative and demeaning on chat sites? Calling people morons and dismissing the entire state of MA for voting for the person they felt the best about is incredibly insulting. Those who say things like that must have huge egos or are small minded. The countries that have universal heatlth care pay well over 50% in taxes and even in MA they are concerned with the rising costs. Is healthcare a right? I'm not so sure. I do know that forcing people to buy a product they may not want is probably unconstitutional. Maybe instead of blaming Republicans the Democrats should stick to their promises. They promised open debates and that has not happened. They promised transparency and shout that these debates are the most transparent in history but it's not true and yet they continue to say it is. They promised to include the other party when constructing bills but have not included the Republicans in the shaping of anything. The Dems have done this to themselves. They had the country on a silver platter and should have been able to the things needed to fix the issues we have today and they blew it. It is time to have an open honest debate about all these issues and INCLUDE all Americans not just the ones who agree with you.

Jan. 20 2010 11:39 AM
Carey from Jersey

The caller @11:36 is right!

Jan. 20 2010 11:36 AM
Yvonne Durant

I'm still very hopeful. It took us 8 years to get into this mess, and anyone who thought it would take a year to bring real change, is nuts.

He gets an A+ plus for me, not just for trying for doing.

Jan. 20 2010 11:36 AM
Carey from New Jersey

People! It's been one year. We are expecting to much in such a short span of time.
Washington is corrupt and broken in so many ways, and with such polarizing opponents unwilling to help with anything, plus the 8 years of destruction done by the previous administration, we need to be patient.

Jan. 20 2010 11:18 AM

May be now the democrats are free from liberman and all others that kept them hostage for the 60th vote. Having lost the fillibuster proof majority, Obama should lead his liberal agenda that he was voted in for. Let the republicans go ahead and stand for hours and try to block his plans and take the blame for inactive government.

Jan. 20 2010 11:14 AM

Dems should get set to lose even more.

Jan. 20 2010 11:12 AM
Dan from Forest Hills, NY

A suggestion for the health care reform bill: let it die, but do so in a way that makes a statement. Send the better, more progressive, less compromised House version of the bill back to the Senate. Let the Republicans filibuster it, since no reasonable compromise is now going to get the 60 votes needed for cloture anyway. Keep a daily count of the number of Americans losing their health insurance while the minority in the Senate refuses to let the bill come to a final vote.

Jan. 20 2010 11:06 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

I smell a rat. No exit polling? Ballots that arrive at the polls Pre-Cast for Brown? Will anyone bother to do a post election poll to validate this result?

Voter ambivalence beat the current plan more than shenanigans...but there should never be ANY shenanigans.

The Dems should push the current healthcare bill forward and force the Republicans to filibuster. The next effort (and this issue will not go away) will have to focus on cost cutting.

Brown's a joke. Fortunately, he will now doubt have put is foot in his mouth enough times to make re-election doubtful. Caroline Kennedy in 2012!

Jan. 20 2010 10:54 AM

Jobs, health care and national security are issues that Americans should be angry about.

Republican muckrakers want to stir up this anger in voters and direct it toward Obama - even though he did not cause any of these problems. Sadly, the media is taking the bait.

American's had plenty of anger when Bush tortured innocent people, started wiretapping American citizens, and invaded a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. The media just wasn't covering our anger in the same way.

Obama is not perfect. But it would be great to hear about more of his successes (especially from his fellow democrats!).

Jan. 20 2010 10:54 AM
hjs from 11211

go for the filibuster now!

Jan. 20 2010 10:48 AM
Edward from NJ

Picking up on nat from Brooklyn's comment, what exactly would happen if the Democrats stopped worrying about 60 votes and create a better bill that can get 51? Then take it to the Senate and refuse to do any other business until the Republicans allow a vote.

Jan. 20 2010 10:47 AM
Paul I. Adujie from New York, New York

Democrats are in Disarray Never Seem to Manage Political Victory Well

Hopefully, Democrats will now do something different, such as pursuing actual LIBERAL policies and programs, instead of Democrats deceiving themselves into the nonexistent bipartisanship in which Republicans have no interest whatsoever! Republicans are political orphans and they are only interested in wining the next elections and the next and the next!

The Democrats received a resounding mandate in November 2008 and it was essentially a repudiation of the wrong-headed policies of the Republicans.

America is facing three wars... one in Afghanistan, the other in Iraq and the third one, a domestic economy in shambles and debacles foisted on America by the Republicans and yet....

Democrats have allowed the Republicans to control American national dialogue and narratives?

Midterm election is next the Democrats must wake up and smell the coffee! Or embrace looming defeat at the polls in the Fall ... which would most probably be followed by a clean sweep in 20012 at a time when the generality of the American voters would have reviewed unemployment figures, foreclosures and these galloping war expenditures...

The fact of the matter is... ALL these problems were brought about by the Republicans through arrogance, deregulation and unilateralism.

Jan. 20 2010 10:44 AM
Biffo from east village

So long as wealth and money are considered "speech", Obama or for that matter any Democratic administration is going to struggle passing any meaningful legislation. Health care reform, banking/finance regulation, the environment....

Jan. 20 2010 10:44 AM
Peter Costantino from East Northport, NY

I'm in total agreement with RiT of Westchester.

Single payer now! Get on with it with 51 votes.

The Republicans rammed tax cuts down our throat for the wealthy with 51 votes, the Democrats should return the favor. And besides, after eight years of tax cuts for the wealthy, where are all the jobs that were supposed to be created????

Jan. 20 2010 10:43 AM
Lenore from Upper West Side, NYC

In too many ways, Obama is Bush Three.

Until we get COMPLETELY publicly-financed elections, this is what we will get. The Dems are as tied into $$ as the Repubs.

And yes, the voters deserve what they get.

This guy supports waterboarding, according to MSNBC.

Can I honestly tell my students to register and vote?? What does it matter?

Jan. 20 2010 10:41 AM
W Ambler from Manhattan

We all want to see into a republican victory in Massachusetts some larger message about national politics. But, as that great MA politician, Tip O'Niell often reminded us, all politics is local.

I suspect the real force behind the anti-Democrat rebellion in MA has less to do with health care or Tea Parties than it does to do with general disgruntlement with 'the establishement'. In Massachusetts, the Democratic party is definitely the establishment, and voting Republican for many is a way to say "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore".

Reading anything more specific than that into this singular election is a mistake.

Jan. 20 2010 10:40 AM
Al from Marine Park from Brooklyn

Scott Brown said on NBC’s “Today” show, with regard to the Democrats trying to pass the health-care reform bill without his vote, "If they use political chicanery, and they do it without having it go back and forth with proper votes, I think come the midterm elections people will be very concerned and they will remember".
However, what else is a filibuster but political chicanery?

Jan. 20 2010 10:38 AM
RiT from Westchester County, NY

Without being a Massachussetts resident it's hard to be astute about the exact causes for this Senatorial upset. What is clear is that the status quo process no longer works, so Obama actually has an opportunity through this upset to effect real change. The Senate should completely abandon the notion of 60 votes, and pass Health Care using a simple majority. Sticking with this tradition of 60 votes is not working, and bipartisanship is completely dead. Give it up. Do the people's work, and make it clear that the old way of doing things is dead.

If Obama (and Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats) are not willing to do this, they might as well give up on health care or any other part of the Obama agenda. Obama has been failing at the politics - if he wants to pass his agenda, he'll need to become more political than he has been willing to be.

Republicans don't hesitate to pull out all the stops to pass their programs, when they have power, nor do they stop using the same single focus tactics when out of power, and so they have managed to be absurdly effective, despite the mandate Obama had coming in to effect change. Obama now needs to use the levers he has, and actually make some of the changes he talked about. A big, big one would be getting rid of the 60-vote, so called filibuster-proof Senate process. Let 'em filibuster!! This rule is not in the constitution, and it needs to be jettisoned.

That would be change we can believe in.

That there is one senator less on the Democratic side, when the Democrats still have a clear majority, is no reason not to pass Obama's agenda, and most particularly health care.

PASS THE BILL! And let the chips fall where they may. It's time the rest of the country got something for having voted for Obama in the first place!!

Jan. 20 2010 10:38 AM
hjs from 11211

healthcare costs are part of our 'economy' problems.

Jan. 20 2010 10:34 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

What people do not want to recognize is that the billions of dollars that come into the political process corrupt both political parties Demarcate and Republican.
Hence this country will never have health care reform but health care collapse.
The insurance lobby win either way a bad bill or no bill.

Jan. 20 2010 10:32 AM
BrettG from Astoria

I agree with Ms. LIeberman. The Dems stopped listening to their base. The comment about Universal Single Payer was astute.

Obama should look to expansion of Medicare & move to Universal Single Payer.

We need REAL Healthcare Reform & REAL Financial Reform.

POTUS promised change & by all appearances, hasn't even tried.

The Massachusetts race is another Bob Shrum, WJC/HRC- Democratic Leadership Conference Loss. GOP LIte doesn't wash.

Jan. 20 2010 10:32 AM
David from Virginia

Brown's election is a symptom, not a cure. The problem continues to be that the ordinary citizen has NO representation in DC.

Gobs of money for bankers, bailouts for incompetently run car companies, special provisions that benefit a select few added into every single piece of legislation.

I think the core problem is the Supreme Court's insistence that money = free speech. They consistently strike down (or neuter) any legislation aimed at cleaning up the rat's nest of lobbyists & their sleazy money.

In my most negative moments, I feel like these are in the ending days of our republic, as we slide into a government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.

Jan. 20 2010 10:32 AM
Spence from Upper West Side


Jan. 20 2010 10:31 AM
Christopher from Westchester County

This is the best news. The Democrats are done and through with. No one wants health care reform, they want JOBS, less government intervention in our lives.

Obamba and his administration are an utter Joke. Its more of the same thing. The Democrats should heed this warning, the Republicans are back and the Tsunami of change is about to crash on the steps of the Capitol in 10 months and sweep, this country of these Democratic stooges once and for all.

He just doesn't get it, this country is a conservative! If he understood this, he may, just may be able to salvage what he has left in his discraceful term.

Jan. 20 2010 10:31 AM
RLewis from bowery

When Obama or any politician says that we need to change the way things are done in Washington, it can't just be the way the other side does things, it has to mean changing the way both sides do business. ie. no bankers running things AND no unions running things.

Jan. 20 2010 10:31 AM
ralph K from ny

A new day has dawned ! The American dream of individual freedom that started in Boston 200 years ago , came back to life last night . Lets go Tea Party !!!!

Jan. 20 2010 10:31 AM
Chris Baratta from UWS

"Focus" is pure propaganda, people. They have done as much as they could.

Wake up! The problem is the senate!

The house has passed health care, cap and trade, AND a jobs bill. Meanwhile the Senate dithers on the most uncontroversial bills.

We are being sorely misrepresented in Washington. It's time to end the filibuster.

Also, it is disgusting for me to hear that people are against the health care bill because they don't "understand" it. The media has responsibility here, but ultimately, will a country be succesful in the 21st century if it must legislate on the 7th grade reading level?

Jan. 20 2010 10:31 AM
carolita from manhattan

Isn't it obvious what has to be done? They hate the health care reform in MA because there was no cost control and the insurance companies took advantage and fleeced people. Whatever healthcare reform Obama has in mind for us nationally has to take into account the failures of the Massachusetts reform. Put caps on prices, keep the insurance companies under control.

I still think Obama has been doing well, much better than if, say, McCain had gotten elected. I thank my lucky stars we have him. People need to stop complaining and start working with him.

Jan. 20 2010 10:30 AM
Peter Costantino from East Northport, NY

Several errors committed by Obama and his allies have been made since his inauguration. First, the idea that bi-partisanship was possible with Republicans was a chimera. The Republicans have cagily opposed Obama's policies despite the weak hand they were dealt after the elections of 2006 and 2008. They are nothing but obstructionists. They offer no alternatives, but simply more of the same. How can the American people forget the disastrous last eight years that concluded with Obama's accession to power? Have they forgotten that the Republicans spent money on useless wars? Opposed health care reform, opposed stem-cell research, gave tax-cuts to people who didn't need them, did nothing in the Middle East to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict, and sullied the good name of the U.S. by torturing people?

Come November, we will probably flip back to the lousy leadership of the Republicans and lose even more time to confront our real problems.

Jan. 20 2010 10:30 AM
Stephanie from Kingston, NY

My health insurance premium through empire blue cross/blue shield just went up for the 5th time in just this past year alone! I am saddened, disappointed, disgusted, and broke!

Jan. 20 2010 10:30 AM
Robert from NYC

All this time spent on a "health care" bill that nobody wants. Think about it.

Jan. 20 2010 10:29 AM
John from Bergen County NJ

Scott Brown won 2 elections in 1 state.
He will be 1 of 100 voices in the US Senate.
He is the new kid on the block.
He gets to have his say for these 24 hours.
A healthcare insurance reform bill is a start.
Once on the books then it can be adjusted.
Remember under Bush we had that horrible drug bill that was held open until 4 AM to get the votes.
Back room deals are how the 'work' gets done in DC.
Want to get rid of back room deals? VOTE OUT EVERY INCUMBENT!

Jan. 20 2010 10:29 AM
paul wolcott from NJ

The Republicans learned during the Bush administration that they can say whatever they want on any given subject and a percentage of people will believe them, regardless of the truth. The Democrats failed to learn from Clinton's first campaign that you immediately contradict inaccurate or negative comments and offer the truth.

The Dems apparently believed that people would see beyond GOP untruths. Brown's mantra was "health care will mean higher taxes, ost jobs, cuts in Medicare, etc." and it was not sufficnently challenged.

Jan. 20 2010 10:29 AM
Edward from NJ

If the Democrats try to pass the bill before Brown is seated, I can almost guarantee that Joe Lieberman would screw it up.

Jan. 20 2010 10:29 AM
Dorothy from Chelsea

I'm a Dem (registered as an Ind), I voted for Obama reluctantly. Once posted here that I thought he was all "smoke and mirrors." I still think so, but he was a FAR better campaigner than president. But I like him. He made a mess of appointments (Geitner, Sanders, etc.) and he's made a royal mess of health care. Jon Stewart (Monday night) did a piece on the Dems, said, in part, that they had glued their private parts to their thighs. Lieberman (kindest thing I can say he's a jerk) dictated terms of the bill.
This health care bill should be killed - no health care cost containment. This bill will only make things WORSE, far worse.

Jan. 20 2010 10:28 AM
Chris from Newark

I don't think the democrats should've started with healthcare. They should've picked something where their corporate interests - which are bi-partisan - would've been made less transparent. Jobs, green jobs, immigration. There are more immediate issues they could've used as a template for something as complicated and misintepreted publicly as healthcare. Test the water, then dive.

Jan. 20 2010 10:28 AM
Alex from Brooklyn


written by doctors and insurance companies...

How good can it be for the PEOPLE????????

Jan. 20 2010 10:28 AM
Cynthia from long island

Start over when people have jobs and the economy is better.

Obama's focus has been in all the wrong areas for the last year.

Jan. 20 2010 10:27 AM
sheree from manhattan

I have been very impressed with Rep. Anthony Weiner's comments regarding health care reform. He seems very well informed and truly interested in making health care affordable and work well for everyone. I'll be very interested in hearing what he thinks Democrats should do going forward.

Jan. 20 2010 10:27 AM
Alex from Brooklyn

We will get health care reform when the current system goes bankrupt...

Its fullish to address it before then...

Jan. 20 2010 10:26 AM
Jenn from Upper East Side


Brown doesn't have to worry about health insurance. They basically have universal health care in Massachusetts already.

Jan. 20 2010 10:26 AM
aliveinNJ from New Jersey

I wish the Democrats would stop trying to deal "fairly" with the Republicans who have made it quite clear they will not cooperate with this president or the Democratic Party! It is time for the Democrats to pull themselves togeter, stop the in-fighting, and do the right thing. Pass the Health Care Reform bill by any means necessary!

Jan. 20 2010 10:25 AM
gaetano catelli from downtown manhattan

the bottom line is that Obamacare does almost nothing to bend down the cost curve of what is already the world's most overpriced health system -- and it is simply unsustainable as the boomers age.

the Democrats should push for Medicare-for-all. only a single payer system will focus accountability sufficiently to seriously deal with costs.

Jan. 20 2010 10:25 AM
Mary Arnold from NYC, Queens

Why did the MA Dems pick Coakley?! In addition to the national political landscape, in MA there were those who could not forget Martha Coakley's role in imprisoning an innocent family --Violet, Cheryl, and Gerald Amirault-- in the Fells Acre "day care sex abuse" case. This vendetta was carried out over two decades by the Middlesex County District Attorney's office under (successively) Scott Harshbarger, Thomas Reilly, and Martha Coakley. Those responsible refused to admit that they were wrong and make amends. Martha Coakley's contribution to this cruel travesty was to do everything she could to keep Gerald Amirault in prison for several years nearly two decades after the alleged offenses and long after it had become evident that those crimes had never occurred. For some MA voters, such malfeasance in office revealed a fundamental defect of character, a weakness and bigotry that they considered a disqualification for office.

Jan. 20 2010 10:23 AM
Eric from brooklyn

Scott Brown promised to vote against Health Care Reform. I'd like to see him held to this promise--let it come to a vote, and vote against it, Senator Elect. Or come clean and let it be known that what you really want is to prevent a democratic (small-"d") vote on the clear preference of a clear majority of the U.S. electorate.

Jan. 20 2010 10:21 AM
Eric K from Brooklyn

This special election is typical of American politics. There is no reliability or long term trend to discern. Voters are fickle and largely uninformed and they are led by politicians who are either turgid, laconic, fearful, self-interested semi-liberals or reactionary, volatile, hate-filled conservatives. The only blame I lay at the foot of our able President is his gullibility into believing that his election was based on support for his ideas and policies.

Jan. 20 2010 10:20 AM
Mike from Manhattan from NYC

Two popular Democratic administrations in a row now have been (at least temporarily) destroyed by trying to provide what every industrialized country, and many "3rd World" countries provide for their people: a way to have affordable health care. I don't expect to see another attempt in my lifetime. The insurance industry has won.

Jan. 20 2010 10:18 AM
J.C. from Minneapolis

As long as Scott Brown drinks the Kool-Ade that all tax increases for universal health insurance, no matter how small, reasonable, etc., are to be fought tooth and nail, he's not for health reform at all.

In fact, if the Republican Party had any interest in making sure health care was a right (rather than a privilege for the wealthy, healthy, and lucky), we'd have something right now. Don't forget last summer when Democrats tried hard to woo at least 3 Republican senators (Enzi, Grassley, Snowe, and maybe someone else) and no one except Snowe would give an inch on anything.

But I guess as long as Scott Brown has his truck, the problem of health insurance will somehow magically fade away.

Jan. 20 2010 10:16 AM
Jenn from Upper East Side

I'm not sure this is the big tragedy everyone is making it out to be. The republicans haven't had to do any compromising because they can feign helplessness. Now, at least, there is more pressure on them to do SOMETHING.

Jan. 20 2010 10:15 AM
Ben from Manhattan

On Scott Brown: who is this joker? Seriously, Massachusetts? You disappoint.

Jan. 20 2010 10:14 AM
Nick from Upper West Side

You listen to this guy Brown, he sounds like a moron. A moron. Another Joe The Plumber. Screaming about his truck and how health care will hurt Medicaid (ie socialized medicine)...this is the level of statesmanship in this country today.

America is a moronic country, that loves morons, is only interested in the activities and thoughts of morons, and we deserve what we get.

Jan. 20 2010 10:14 AM
hjs from 11211

you're a fair weather friend!

Jan. 20 2010 10:13 AM
Terry from Brooklyn Heights

Obama's on a losing streak. The Olympics, Christie, MA. Some people define insanity as doing the same thing over again and expecting different results. Maybe he should try something new: like pursuing a liberal agenda. There are a lot of us out there who'd be more responsive and supportive if he did.

Jan. 20 2010 10:10 AM
nat from Brooklyn

At least one silver lining in all of this is that the Republicans may actually have to (gasp) filibuster instead of just threatening to filibuster. The Dems still have a huge majority. If the Republicans are that opposed to the health care bill, the Democrats should have the good sense to force a real filibuster.

I want to see Lindsay Graham and Scott Brown wearing diapers and reading from a phone book on the Senate floor, not just empty threats about how they might do it, but they need to actually work for their minority opposition.

That won't happen for the same reason that nothing has happened over the years. The Republicans play hard ball while the Democrats ride the softball bench.

Jan. 20 2010 10:10 AM
Jenn from Upper East Side

OMG...they are NOT shouting "yes we can!" ??

Jan. 20 2010 10:08 AM
mombi from NYC

I'm not convinced it was a vote on health care. Mass. has almost universal health care so that worry is not "top of mind" like the economy and lagging joblessness. Dems. were slow to pay attention and too late trying to tell the real issues

Jan. 20 2010 10:07 AM
Christina from Manhattan

Shame on you Brian for buying into the hype.

- the hype that the US needs a supermajority in the Senate for every single vote. Bush never had 60 votes and showed many things could still get done

- the framing of the candidates as 'one who drives a truck' and one who drives a Cadillac health plan tax. Brown is a corporatist who is against taxing banks.

Jan. 20 2010 10:04 AM
Jennifer from NYC

I am sooo depressed by this Republican win. I really can not believe it. What is wrong with those ppl?!?!

Jan. 20 2010 10:04 AM
James from brooklyn

America is over. Have fun shining China's shoes. I don't want to say you deserve it, America. But you really deserve it.

Jan. 20 2010 10:03 AM
Jeff from Park Slope

I think that most pundits and analysts read too much into what is basically a binary decision made by voters- we only have two choices (generally speaking)in an election. As Mark commented, the results in Mass. could have been driven by people not wanting Coakley. It does the public a disservice that the media insists on declaring this election as a referendum on Obama, when Coakley ran a bad campaign and we are experiencing a continuing environment of anti-encumbent sentiment. Corzine lost because he was the encumbent, and was not making progress people could see. I don't believe Christie was elected because people think he has better ideas- I think it was more important that he was someone new.

One thing that the American public does not have is patience. Once someone is in office, they better take drastic action and deliver results right away, otherwise the public will turn on them like a contestant on American Idol. Although the media feeds a seemingly insatiable need for the public to get the inside scoop, it doesn't seem that the public
has much stomach for seeing how the sausage is made.

Jan. 20 2010 10:03 AM
DL from NYC

Couldn't this be a referendum on both parties? The Republicans didn't support Scott Brown until a week ago. Maybe people in MA were just irritated that they were expected to vote for a Democrat or protest and vote for the tea-party candidate? They instead went with independent candidate (even if he comes from the Rebublican party).

Jan. 20 2010 09:55 AM
hjs from 11211

there is a lot of blame to go around.
progressives failed to frame these debates and dem leadership failed to lead.

but most of all the american people have failed themselves and their children.
it would be kind to just call us fickle, maybe erratic or insane, time will tell.

the people recently ended GOP rule (2006, 2008) because we saw nothing but incompetence. we saw an economy ravaged by deregulation. we saw pointless wars driving our deficits, all while our infrastructure is literally collapsing.

home and abroad, terrorized by fear american are running around like headless chickens, but fear not the teabaggers are coming. they are going to cut your government and give your taxes to the biggest corporations. you'll be cog in their wealth machine.
enjoy u drones!

Jan. 20 2010 09:52 AM
Ann from nyc

It's clear to me that what we really have is a ONE party - 2 party system. That ONE party are the elite bankers and business interests
who have bought the Senate made up of mostly old white males. The bankers create "fake" wealth other phony financial instruments instead of real jobs. When they fail the FED and the taxpayers bail them out. We have institutionalized risky behavior. Insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results. So What has changed in DC.....NOTHING!!!!

Jan. 20 2010 09:44 AM
Alex from Brooklyn

Thank god Obama helped bail out the BANKRS... here is your reward...

Ask the bank lobby (aka Gietner - Bernenke) what you should do next..

BYE BYE health care, bye bye

Jan. 20 2010 09:16 AM

In non-swing states any senator from the majority party essential is senator-for-life so maybe the people in Mass just didn't want Coakley to be their senator-for-life. They know they'll kick this Brown guy out in a couple years and see if someone better than Coakley turns up.

As for these weak analysts who think it was because Obama was "too liberal", in Massachusetts? I don't think so. It's more that Obama continue the Bush Wall St. welfare, Bush Guantanamo, Bush South Asia war and is trying to give the healthcare industry a handout so big Bush and his oil king clique couldn't have even dreamed it up. So no he's not "too liberal", he's too Bush.

Jan. 20 2010 09:13 AM
akena in NY

As the song says, it's a thin line between love and hate and the love for Obama has turned to hate. Even Stevie Wonder could see the writing on the wall; he'll be out three years hence. If he understands that, he could be bold and say eff it and give us some progressive crumbs with a 50 plus 1 vote, but I doubt it. It'll be more compromising away principles and rebuffed attempts of bipartisanship. It's hopeless. i wonder if Canada will open up their health care system to allow Americans to join?

Jan. 20 2010 08:49 AM
superf88 from

Referendum on their state's unique health care system -- or the prospect of having (and paying for) TWO of them??

Jan. 20 2010 08:38 AM

It's just wonderful that on the anniversary of his taking office President Obama is given correction about his health care plans: we need health care reform, but it has to not pay for abortions and has to have conscience protections, just for starters. January 22 in Washington will be a party at the March.

Jan. 20 2010 08:22 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.