Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Will the Democrats Listen to the People or Prove Their Elitism

Scott Brown’s victory last night in Massachusetts has naturally set the political world abuzz. It’s not just that the republican win breaks the filibuster proof majority that the democrats held, but that it happened in a state where a republican senator hasn’t won an election since 1972. To add to the significance of this election is the well known fact that the seat Brown won was the same seat formerly occupied by the late Ted Kennedy. While Kennedy spent the majority of his career pushing for public healthcare, Brown made it a point in his campaign to say that he would be the 41st vote against this current healthcare bill. Had the republicans gained a senate seat in almost any other state, while being just as numerically important, it would not have sent the same overwhelming message that the Massachusetts victory did. The vast majority of the people in this country do not want the current healthcare bill to become law. The big question now is how will the democrats respond.

There is a great deal of speculation that the democrats will try to delay the swearing in of Brown in order to buy just enough time to mesh the senate and house healthcare bills together and get it to Obama before Brown’s vote can derail the bill. Another possibility is that the house would just accept the senate version of the bill, in which case the bill would never have to be sent back to the senate and would go straight to the president. Both of these strategies ignore the overwhelming will of the people and would prove the “elitist” mindset of the democratic party. This is a mindset comprised of the belief that those in power know what is better for the nation and its citizens than do the citizens themselves. This “elitist” mindset is a slap in the face of what the founders of this nation had in mind when this representative form of government was formed. The premise behind our political system is for members of congress to vote as their constituency would vote if such an issue went to a popular vote in said district or state. Brown’s victory wasn’t just a whisper but a shout from the people that they do not like the way the democratically controlled congress is currently doing their jobs, specifically when it comes to the issue of healthcare reform.

With many incumbent congressman up for re-election in November it is unlikely that the house will just pass the senate version of the bill, if only in the interest of self preservation. The two versions differ greatly with provisions in the senate bill that if had been included in the house bill would have guaranteed its defeat. The democrats have shown time and time again that they are willing to pay off or cater to certain individuals or groups (i.e. unions) just to get the votes they need for passage. So to expect a change from the left’s standard operating procedure might be too much to expect even in the face of almost certain political defeat in November. Many in the democratic party still see the healthcare bill as must pass whereas a few have come out and said that if the democratic party doesn’t pay attention then it is in real trouble. This is a real chance for the left to change their tone and begin to listen to the will of the people, but if they choose to ignore and dismiss what this election meant, then they are proving their “elitist” mindset.

Either way the next few weeks will be very telling as to the true nature of the democratic party.

Calvin Parker

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