The Message From Massachusetts in 2010: President Obama, Deliver What You Promised In 2008
January 20, 2010
By Joe Rothstein
It’s the day after Massachusetts voters chose to replace Kennedy with an anti-Kennedy. The day after the candidate they elected promised to vote to kill what Kennedy considered his life’s work.
It’s a little more than a year since Massachusetts voters went for Obama 62-36. It’s the day after they turned deaf ears to his plea to vote for Martha Coakley
It’s a week until President Obama gives his State of the Union address.
But we don’t have to wait a week to learn about the State of the Union. We learned a lot about it in the Massachusetts special election. The Union is very unhappy.
On this day after the Massachusetts voters chose to replace Kennedy with an anti-Kennedy there are still nearly 30 million Americans either out of work, working part time or hanging on for dear life to anything that pays a buck.
There are still nearly 50 million without health insurance. 100 million more on shaky health insurance ground. There are still states ready to cut class sizes again, lay off needed workers again, raise college tuition again. The Massachusetts election outcome doesn’t change any of this. The problems won’t go away with certification of the election results.
Real problems require real solutions. And the Union isn’t in a very happy state because it doesn’t see those solutions.
The White House may feel that it is unappreciated for staving off another Great Depression. They probably did. And they are. President Obama gives himself a B+ for his first year in office. He’s actually put in motion some transformative policy in education and energy and transportation that will be producing measurable results in years to come.
But that will be then. This is now. And now there are all of those unemployed. There are millions still losing their homes because they are out of work, or got sick or signed up for one of those bizarro mortgages. There’s the muffed handling of health reform that’s let fear of the unknown trump improved medical care as the defining national message. There’s the big bank profits and bonuses, and a Wall Street-friendly Obama financial team that seems to be one of them not one of us.
We might rail against the breath-taking hypocrisy of Republicans who during a decade of power never once considered the effect of their spending on the national debt—-now viewing any kind of debt with horror. We might wonder how voters could think more kindly of congressional Republicans these days, even though Republican leadership won’t participate in finding needed solutions, lest success help Obama’s presidency.
None of that really matters. What matters are results. The President ran on a very conspicuous promise to change things for the better. And with huge House and Senate majorities voters will be unforgiving if he doesn’t do it. Visibly. Now.
Comedian/sage John Stewart the other night pointed out that even with a Scott Brown win in Massachusetts the Democrats would still have an 18 vote majority in the Senate. That’s not enough to get things done?
It’s a week before President Obama’s State of the Union speech.
In that speech he needs to say we’re going to get health reform done. We’re going to put people back to work. We’re going turn Wall Street upside down so that it no longer has the power to crush the hopes and dreams of homeowners, workers and small business. We’re going to change our policies to give U.S. business a level playing field in world trade—as U.S. businesses, employing U.S. workers. Paying U.S. taxes. We’re going to build the roads, the rails, the airports, the bridges that we’ve neglected for far too long. We’re going to be number one again.
And as the leader in whom so many invested their hopes and trust in 2008, the President must provide convincing words that he intends to lead, not take a back seat to the messy machinations of Congress.
Don’t blame the voters of Massachusetts for electing the anti-Kennedy. Thank them. They reminded our President that voters believed what he promised during his 2008 campaign. Now they want him to deliver.