Can You Hear Us Now?
That the impact of the election of Scott Brown to complete the term of Senator Ted Kennedy is huge is a given.
What does it mean for future political races and, more importantly, what message did President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Reid, and Speaker Pelosi receive?
First, they had to acknowledge that health care reform as they had crafted it and managed it was stopped in its tracks. Most observers agree that the methods were rejected more than the substance since, still today, nobody is quite sure what the final proposal looked like or that one even existed.
The wheels came off the bus when outrageous deals, which passed muster on no level, signaled desperation and often just plain goofiness! Whole states being exempted from Medicare matches? Unions exempted from provisions that would impact absolutely everyone else until the year 2017? The whole thing had gone beyond ludicrous and helped to form the perfect storm, which just happened to be in Massachusetts.
Rejection of the health care reform, however, was taking place from border to border and from ocean to ocean. The politicians were insistent that We the People just didn’t get it and, when we did, we’d love it. More than a few in DC are still clinging to that.
But that’s not what happened.
It isn’t that We the People didn’t "get it," significant majorities of us didn’t want it and no amount of political effort was going to sell it.
So, what is DC doing now?
President Obama is a consummate politician and quite an effective communicator. Almost overnight, he has shifted gears from a plan he’s been putting deadlines on for urgent passage or the country would fall apart because we were in a "crisis" to the mantra that what we really need in this country is jobs.
In other words, when something is just totally dead in the water, change the subject.
We need jobs so we need more ‘stimulus’ has a strong chance of ending up in the ash heap, too. Again, people from coast to coast and border to border are keenly aware that the national debt is enormous, is impacting our standing in the world and is devastating our currency.
Emboldened by a significant grassroots victory, the message from citizens is crystal clear: Ignore us at your peril.
What seemed impervious just one year ago is now on very shaky ground and the political landscape is shifting faster than DC can shift priorities. The arrogance of power has cost them and has the potential to devastate on November 2, 2010.
Will they rush to shore up their base by giveaways to Union Officials who have clearly received favored status and expect more? Or, will they listen to the growing majority of very motivated and unyielding citizens and head back to reasonable, restrained and responsible?
One thing is certain: This is not going to be a boring, sedate year.
Susan Staub is president of Pennsylvanians for Right to Work, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to voluntary unionism. Pennsylvanians for Right to Work is funded solely by voluntary membership donations and is not affiliated with any other Right to Work organization.