The New Clarion

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After Massachusetts

January 21st, 2010 by Myrhaf · 14 Comments · Uncategorized

The astonishing election in Massachusetts of a Republican to the Senate seat long held by Edward Kennedy is the fruit of the ideological clarity that John Lewis wrote about. After one year of Obama-Reid-Pelosi attempting to ram socialism down America’s throat in the middle of the night, voters are frightened and angry. Even voters in liberal land.

I’m happy to see Americans rebel against big government, and I want more. Let 1,000 tea parties bloom, and make Keith Olbermann’s head explode. (Can a vacuum explode?) Aside from the excitement of a growing movement of people centered around the idea of less government, I’m still wary. Judging from some of their comments, it looks like the political leaders in Washington, D.C. have not changed.

From the left:

The president, making his first public comments after a Republican candidate on Tuesday won the special election to fill Sen. Ted Kennedy’s Massachusetts Senate seat, said he understands that some Americans view his administration as a bunch of “technocrats up here … making decisions.”

But he said the main reason for this was not his policies but rather his communications strategy.

“What I haven’t always been successful at doing is breaking through the noise and speaking directly to the American people in a way that during the campaign you could do,” he said.

Oh, no — not the communication gambit. Leftist politicians always say this. They called Ronald Reagan “the Great Communicator,” the implication being that he had some mysterious power to fill the proletariat with false consciousness and make them act against their interests.

Obama is exactly wrong. The Democrats’ radical agenda has brought ideological clarity. Americans understand perfectly what Obama-Reid-Pelosi want, and they don’t like it. What he really means is, We must find a better way to fool the masses.

No, nothing has changed on the left, and that figures: being a leftist means never having to say you’re sorry. They never, ever learn; they never, ever change.

But how about the right? Are the Republicans still the dazed and confused party? I’m not reassured by this:

McConnell said Republicans want to work with Democrats in passing legislation for the rest of the year.

“We would like to be partners in the process,” he said. “We’re prepared to meet them in the middle.”

Yes, I know Senator McConnell does not want to be seen as just “obstructionist,” but meeting the Democrats in the middle is what Republicans always do, and it’s always bad. Instead of full socialization of medicine, the Republicans will settle for going halfway. Instead of a lethal dose of poison, they’ll drink just enough to get sick.

You can’t meet socialists in the middle. That’s what has brought us to the terrible state we are now in. That’s why the state has done nothing but grow for last 100 years.

I believe the American people do not want the Republicans to compromise in nationalizing health care. I think they want the Republicans to just say no. The Democrats’ health care reform is so bad that doing nothing is by far the better course.

Judging from the comments above from the two party leaders, we’re in for a dense fog of lies from the Democrats; nothing new. And we’re in for bumbling idiocy from the Republicans as they stumble around in search of some compromise they can show the mainstream media so they won’t be scorned at the next cocktail party in Georgetown. We need more protests, more rebellion, more anger — the ruling elite still do not get it.

14 Comments so far ↓

  • Grant

    The sad irony – that will soon manifest itself in business as usual – is that the only reason why Scott Brown won is because liberals (ie: people who don’t have to hold their nose to live in Massachusetts) have a penchant for “change.” They’re not opposed to Republicans, god, koala bears, or even Hitler. What they’re opposed to is the status quo – whatever it is. They’ll oppose something just to be opposed to something. Liberalism is nihilism in a tailored suit. Never forget that.

    The (pitiful) 3% of voters who swung this election in Brown’s favor are, if anything, even more liberal than the “straight Democrat” dupes who vote without a second thought (Coakley’s people). Brown’s liberals gave it some thought. They did so not because they’re afraid of Obama. National politics, I think, had nothing to do with it. They did so because they thought to themselves “well, a Democrat has held this particular office for a long time – it’s only democratic to let someone else have a chance.” It’s the same kind of mindset that doesn’t root for the Red Sox, but against the Yankees.

    I”m about as excited about this election for the overall direction of the country as I was about what happened in 1994.

  • Bill Brown

    I think that may have occurred, Grant, but the fact that Kennedy held that spot for more than thirty years suggests that there may be more at work than just a desire for “change.” That’s the line that Obama’s toeing in his analysis of the results, but I think Myrhaf’s right that this was a rejection of big government.

    It was more like “this time they’ve gone too far” than “let’s give the other party a chance.” Unfortunately, though, “too far” here means a gross overreach than any sort of desire for a limited government. RomneyCare is okay, but ObamaCare is too far.

    That is what has tempered my excitement at ObamaCare’s defeat.

  • Chuck

    “The (pitiful) 3% of voters who swung this election in Brown’s favor ”

    It was far more than a 3% swing. You have to compare the % who voted for Coakley to the % that typically voted for Ted Kennedy, which I’m sure was far greater than the 46-47% that Coakley got. That is the how far the state’s voters swung from their standard Senate election. Probably more like a 10% swing, which is enormous in an election.

  • Grant


    You’re probably right that Kennedy routinely received far more of the vote than Coakley did. However, ignoring perhaps his first few elections (and even to do that is suspect considering the family he came from), when people voted for Teddy every six years they were voting for him more because he was “Teddy” than because he was a Democrat.

    I know that contradicts my theory that liberals have a rationalistic fetish for change, but that’s only because a rationalistic fetish for change cannot be consistently practiced. It has to be counter-balanced by a rationalistic fetish for tradition. Having Ted Kennedy as the senior Senator from Massachusetts was that tradition. It felt comforting, I guess. And in the mind of a liberal – who’s every political opinion is secretly undergirded by doubt – a little comfort goes a long way.

    Anyways, once that was gone (once Kennedy died), all that an unprincipled voter could do was swing to the other extreme: a random, senseless embrace of as radically different a person as was available.

    Calling on principle (ie: voting for Martha Coakley because she was a Democrat) was simply too much to ask. It’s shocking that the liberal voters of Massachusetts would go so far as to embrace a Republican in order to evade the fact that their principles don’t match up with reality, but in my opinion that’s exactly what happened.

  • Fareed


    I don’t agree with you. I don’t think you are accurately portraying either modern left liberals, or classical liberals. The idea that they merely voted for Brown because they opposed to things on principle is silly. Kennedy won the seat for decades disproving that theory. In addition, the polls don’t show that voters who identified as “liberals” changed their minds in Massachusetts. It was not the liberal voters who flocked to the Republican candidate it was the independent voters who tend not to be liberals at all.

  • Grant


    Of course Kennedy winning that seat for decades disproves that theory. As I said to Chuck, a theory that isn’t applicable to reality has to be inconsistently practiced. Liberals must necessarily contradict their ideas from time to time. If they believe that Kennedy should be the Senator because he has a proven track record of liberalism (which they can’t define, but they believe he can), they contradict their belief that politics is best served by a wide range of conflicting views. If they believe that politics is best served by a wide range of conflicting views (a superficial notion that constitutes a liberal’s best attempt to define liberalism), they have to vote against the Democrat.

    The liberals in Massachusetts (and yes, virtually everyone there is a liberal – even the Republicans and the Independents) dropped their fixation on Kennedy as some kind of superhuman entitled to his office and instead saw him as primarily a Democrat all of a sudden (which is why they strangely voted against Coakley) merely because they know how to trick themselves. They are willing to vote for a Republican (who yes, does violate whatever semblance of an integrated ideology as liberal can have, but that’s not important) in order to see themselves how they needed to. They needed a new rose-colored self-image (“I’m loyal to my ideas”) once Ted Kennedy’s death took away their old one (“He’s loyal to my ideas for me”).

    Massachusetts, culturally, is just too liberal to suddenly, at the height of the liberal agenda’s national prominence, become stalwarts of freedom. This election had nothing to do with the national political landscape and everything to do with the self-deception being a liberal requires.

  • Fareed


    the more you speak of large groups, (Massachusetts liberals, for instance) acting in cahoots the more absurd it sounds. How did they all know to switch votes this time? Why don’t the polls show liberals switching but instead show independents switching? We the independents and liberals (millions of them) in a plot together to lie to pollsters? Who is directing them so they all decide to act this way at the same time? The whole thesis is bonkers. Anyone who thinks everyone is Massachusetts is a liberal just doesn’t have any experience in Massachusetts. I lived just over the border in Connecticut and your description is so far from any reality that I can’t understand how you can seriously espouse it.

    No one said that Massachusetts suddenly switched views. That is not what was said here. What I said is that independent voters all across the country have been switching back and forth rapidly. And all the polls show that. I really don’t think you comprehended what was being said in the piece, very well at all.

  • Grant


    You’re conflating the word “liberal” with the word “Democrat.” Just because someone doesn’t explicitly, completely support the Democratic Party doesn’t mean he’s not a liberal. You’re also not using the word “liberal” liberally enough when you describe Massachusetts culture. Even Scott Brown and Mitt Romney, in many other states, would be considered liberals.

    Finally, your assertion that my explanation of this election requires some kind of central direction is a straw man. I’m describing a psychological phenomenon that necessarily occurs when someone holds false (ie: inapplicable to reality, unable to be consistently practiced) political ideas. It’s a matter of cause and effect, not “jump” and “how high?”

  • Inspector

    I don’t know – the simplest explanation would seem to be that there was a large number of Mass. voters who voted simply for Ted Kennedy above all else. Without him, a number of them voted for someone else, because they never drew themselves along republican/democrat lines but rather just for Kennedy himself. Or they didn’t vote at all.

    Under that theory, there’s no fundamental move for freedom involved, but there isn’t a weird liberal-reverse-psychology either. There’s just the utter sickness of the fact that a lot of people admired a monster like Ted Kennedy.

  • Inspector

    Elaborating on that: what I mean is that Mass. voters admired/supported Kennedy on grounds other than his politics. I can’t decide if that’s more or less disgusting and inconceivably horrible than admiring/supporting his politics, but there you go.

  • Grant


    I agree with you. The cult of Kennedy was definitely the reason for his routine success, and when it’s last serious exponent died, people wanted to wipe the slate clean as much as possible. It’s like why a divorced woman takes down her pictures of her ex-husband. It could be because of malice, but it could just as likely be simply because she thinks she can’t move forward without getting rid of as much having to do with him as possible.

    I became pretty convoluted in my making that point, and even though I made it, it got buried in everything else I said. Thanks for doing it concisely.

  • Inspector

    Aye, thank you sir for writing.

  • Fareed

    Grant: I think you are just making stuff up. Really, I do. Can you show one poll that showed that “liberals” in Massachusetts switched their votes? It was people who don’t define themselves as liberals but independents. There is no indication that liberals in the state didn’t tend to vote for Coakley and conservatives tended to vote for Brown and so did independents and that is why Brown won. Your whole thesis doesn’t have a shred of evidence. If you give me one poll that indicates your thesis has some validity I’ll investigate. But all the polls I looked at show something totally at odds with what you claim. And Brown is not liberal on any social issues but very conservative. If he were liberal on social issues I’d say fine, I’d want him to win. But he is so far Right on most issues that I merely wanted Coakley to loose. You have restated your thesis about half a dozen times now. Now please offer some evidence for it otherwise we are wasting our time.

  • Grant


    Again, you’re conflating “liberal” with “Democrat.” Being an Independent doesn’t tell you if that person is a liberal or a conservative (or an Objectivist, or an anarchist, or anything else).

    You’re right that Brown is liberal economically but conservative socially, but that doesn’t change the fact that in the end he’s effectively a liberal. Contradictions cannot exist, and over the long run the guy’s more deeply held ideas win out. Why do you think he’s been able to become a statist economically? It’s because he’s a statist socially first. If you think that being a statist in both isn’t effectively a liberal, that’s fine, but it is. It’s not like people who openly call themselves liberals have a pro-freedom social agenda because they understand and believe in political freedom. They have it simply because they like being opposed to things. Especially moral things. Believe me, if you challenge a leftist deep enough, he’ll start advocating that his social agenda should be forced upon others just like a rightist does.

    So I’m not saying that Democrats changed their votes, I’m saying that Independents who would usually vote for Kennedy (for psychological reasons I’ve already explained), voted for Brown this time specifically as a way to achieve exactly what they got by voting for Kennedy in the past: not having to define what it means to be a liberal (or a half liberal, half conservative pragmatist) in any fundamental sense.

    As for my thesis not having any shred of evidence, consider this: the only thing that gives the notion that Massachusettans (sp?), were specifically rebeling against the Obama administration by voting for Brown is that, perhaps, because they already have at the state level what Obama wants to enact nationally (ie: mandatory health insurance), they are in a unique position to realize how bad it is. That would be valid except for one thing: Brown supported that plan on the state level! If they were really opposed to it – and not just doing what I’ve been saying they did – they wouldn’t have voted for anyone (or for the Libertarian or something).