Was there ever a bigger over-reaction than the one that Scott Brown’s victory brought? Maybe, but I can’t recall it. I thought it was ridiculous at the time–like the Onion joking about the GOP’s 41-59 majority–but many people seemed to think this was some kind of conservative tidal wave. Scott Brown then voted for the jobs bill and instantly became known as “low-life scum” to some right-wingers. Good times.
But this was never about any Republican. You were guaranteed a “no” from every single one anyway. For Obama to have given up and started over, as many right-wingers demanded, would have been a mockery, a way to extend the debate until closer to the elections. Now, it is March and we have a good 7-8 months before anyone votes again, and I suspect that while the Democrats were never going to be as successful this year as last (political cycles do that) they will not be nearly as demolished as so many have predicted.
But imagine if Obama had listened to his right-wing Democrat friends, the Blue Dogs, the wishy-washy do-nothing’s like Evan Bayh. Imagine if he had decided it wasn’t worth the political risk. Imagine if he had taken the advice of all the status quo generals who voted for him but actually don’t really like change at that much. Change is scary! I know someone who suggested that, in the wake of Brown’s victory, healthcare reform was over and Obama should instead try to improve the economy by reducing governments’ size and spending, lowering taxes, encouraging entrepreneurship and capitalism: “keeping markets free from excess regulation, removing tariffs and barriers to trade, negotiating internationally to do the foregoing.”
This was “advice” from a “centrist” who wanted to help prevent an ugly November for the Democrats. I was incredulous and wondered whether Obama should switch from Democrat to Republican as well. I think it’s fair to say that such advice should be smiled at and rejected out of hand.
But such is the way with folks who are afraid of big change. I voted for it and we’re getting it. The bill isn’t perfect but I suspect it can be improved now that it is here. This is good. This is a start. I’m proud of Obama for bringing it home.