Martha Choke-ly

January 20, 2010

I suppose the election of Scott Brown as Senator for Massachusetts is a bad thing, but in the scale of political calamities the rejection of a supine Democrat and the approval of a fairly middle of the road Republican is not the greatest I can imagine. After all, despite his compulsory infatuation with Israel and demonization of Iran, in American terms Brown is hardly a far-right nut, expressing guarded support for abortion. He is in the mainstream of “free enterprise” Republicans, which of course makes him verge on being a…far right nut from a European perspective.

On the other hand, the one interesting aspect of Martha Coakley’s (Brown’s opponent) manifesto is the part where she writes “Based on what I know now about the President’s planned troop increase, I do not believe that we should send additional troops into Afghanistan. I believe we should begin the process of bringing our troops home.” If the people of Massachusetts voted against this, then that is indeed depressing.

But perhaps not. Coakley was no dove, saying of al Qaeda that, “They’re gone. They’re not there anymore. They’re in, apparently Yemen, they’re in Pakistan. Let’s focus our efforts on where Al Qaeda is.” In other words, she would have happily supported the expansion of the War on Terror.

As with so much in American politics, you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t, but let’s assume that the Democrat candidate was really a left-leaning peacenik, and it’s necessary to care about her losing. Much analysis of why she lost revolves around opposition to Obama’s health care legislation and the Democrats having inherited (and failed to alleviate) a dire economic situation. Both are true. People are not enthused by a health care reform which falls well short of a universal health care system and maintains the profit margins of private insurers, while doing nothing to make one of the world’s most expensive health systems more efficient. And people in Massachusetts have experienced rising unemployment and home foreclosures under Obama, while the U.S. remains entangled in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and perhaps, Yemen.

The truth is, the the Democrats are awful. They never seem to have the courage to articulate and pursue an agenda that would a) clearly separate them from the Republicans b) place them in a historical tradition stretching back to the Progressive era and Roosevelt c) reflect public opinion. There is no reason to vote Democrat or Republican – making each contest of this sort a reiteration of the cliche that America is a one party system, the party of money.


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One Response to “Martha Choke-ly”

  1. watsonlow Says:

    A bit like the Tories and New Labour?


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