Pundits are saying that the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts means healthcare reform as envisioned is dead for now, not so much that he represents the 41st vote, but that his election in a liberal state signals a widespread voter concern with backroom deals and special favors. It’s not the change they were looking for. Add to that the cost of that reform, government spending, and the appearance of a lack of focus on the economy. At least that’s what I’m hearing that resonates as true.
So why not take some simple actions that address a justice issue that won’t cost a dime? Consider Maureen Dowd’s column about her interview with San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom:
I asked whether President Obama, who said at a Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration that the civil rights movement was partly about “changing people’s hearts and minds and breaking out of old customs and old habits,” had disappointed him given that the president is a triumph of civil rights himself.
“Oh, I can’t get in trouble here,” Newsom said with a playful wince. “I want him to succeed. But I am very upset by what he’s not done in terms of rights of gays and lesbians. I understand it tactically in a campaign, but at this point I don’t know. There is some belief that he actually doesn’t believe in same-sex marriage. But it’s fundamentally inexcusable for a member of the Democratic Party to stand on the principle that separate is now equal, but only on the basis of sexual orientation. We’ve always fought for the rights of minorities and against the whims of majorities.”
He said the promise of Obama sparking an “organic movement” has faded and “there’s a growing discontent and lack of enthusiasm that I worry about. He should just stand on principle, put this behind him and move on.”
By the way, my question answers itself in Dowd’s column:
So how did this onetime poster boy for the new face of the Democratic Party get to the point where he couldn’t raise the money to compete with the old-school Jerry Brown in the governor’s race, and why is he leaving politics just when he feels as though he’s getting better at it?…Like many pioneers who go first — from the “Ellen” sitcom to the Hillary drama — the mayor who staked his career on giving equal rights to gays may have to settle for paving the way.
The Democrats and Obama are no more interested in walking that plank than they were in the off-election year 2009.
Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby goes further, figuring Brown’s election will jolt Obama into moving further to the center in the style of Bill Clinton (remember welfare reform, etc.?).
And, somewhat along the lines of only Nixon can go to China, Cindy and Meghan McCain support the No H8 campaign.
Addendum. Paul Krugman writes,
Barney Frank seems to have thought better of his initial defeatism. But I have to say, I’m pretty close to giving up on Mr. Obama, who seems determined to confirm every doubt I and others ever had about whether he was ready to fight for what his supporters believed in.