Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Scott Brown, Tom Campbell Switch, Boxer Troubles and the Federal Decision

While the election of Scott Brown is relatively upsetting and should raise concerns with the Left, I am unsure that the reaction that the Left has been given is a productive one. Yes, I agree, midterm elections should be a concern for the Democrats, we must remember that midterm elections are always a concern for the party in power and that Scott Brown was a localized spin issue. Martha Coakley made many political gaffs and her staff failed to prepare for the current failures of the health care issue. Having a simple, calming response to Brown's concern that Massachusetts will pay twice for health care since they already have a similar plan would have derailed the majority of the naked truck owner's campaign. If such a response existed, then there was a failure of controlling the conversation on the part of her staff since I have yet to hear of such a response.

As has been mentioned elsewhere, the democrats still have a majority in Congress. Bush, with a little effort and positioning was able to push through controversial legislation with no where near the majority the Democrats currently have. While I can understand that real and effective positive change can take time, I also know that the majority of Americans are frustrated and understandably impatient. One of the most important roles of the President is as the leader of the country. Part of the responsibilities of the role are ceremonial for instilling faith in the government and calm in the public. Despite this role, it is up to the Left to push their party in passing the message. Obama can't do everything. If he tries he won't be able to do anything. We have to support him and try to be part of the solution. We need to work hard now more than ever with so many strange things happening in the world.

I want to point your attention to what is happening with California Senators. Rumor has it that Feinstein may end her current term 2 years early to run for the California Governorship. This brings the current list of dems to six, reps to three. Of the Democratic Candidates, after SF Mayor Newsom dropped out of the race and if Feinstein actually runs, I only consider two to be serious candidates; Brown and Feinstein because of name recognition, experience and popularity. For the republican Candidates you have Steve Poizner, California's Insurance Commissioner who at one point was the "leader of the pack" and Meg Whitman. She is the former president and CEO of eBay and is apparently richer than Midas. $20 Million of her own wealth has been poured into her campaign and is now "within five points of Brown in a head-to-head matchup;"
Ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman's $19 million [at the time] spending spree has apparently bought her a brand that practically puts her on an even playing field with state Attorney General Jerry Brown's superior name recognition.
I am already hearing people say that Brown is in a doomed position thanks to Whitman's personal finances and with the help of other like minded companies now that the Federal ruling on Corporate Campaign Finance Law is starting to take effect. But, and I hate to once again show how big of a dork I am, as Yoda said; "that is why you fail." If you don't believe you can fight a foe, why fight? The Democrats as a party need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps if they want to keep the amazing position they are in. We have a still popular Democratic president and a majority in Congress. If we don't utilize it, then we will fail to keep it. We need to stop being afraid and push for what is right. If we fail to do this we will start loosing seats.

The same situation is true for the Senatorial Race with Barbara Boxer. Many are begin to argue that the incumbent Senator is "beatable" in 2010. This makes sense with her approval rating at %46 and the declining effectiveness of the current California delegation to push for the Health Care Bill. Her opponents include Carly Fiorina who left as the CEO of HP under some shady circumstances and former Representative and former gubernatorial candidate Tom Campbell. Carly Fiorina, along with the HP situation, has been having slipping poll numbers despite the millions of dollars she has poured into the race. In fact, a recent poll shows that Campbell is ahead of the pack for the Republicans and trails Boxer by a whopping 4 points. Campbell has the experience to be a major contender and could begin to pull some of the moderates and independents over to his side. If Boxer and the people supporting her aren't careful, she will find herself in a harsh and losable race.

Is this frightening? Of course, but in a time of fight or flight, it would have been hoped that the Democratic party would chose "fight" every now and again. I was in a meeting the other day where the topic of the recent court ruling regarding corporate campaign contributions and how it affected Boxer's campaign arose. It was interesting how tired and frustrated the others in the room felt. We spoke on the effect of this ruling on California politics and I mentioned an NPR program that was on recently (this is not it but it is similar) that described how this would adversely affect democratic and female candidates specifically based on past contribution trends. The same report described how, since corporate America survives on the status quo that incumbents that they identify with will be virtually impossible to get out. In this conversation one of the participants called the situation "hopeless." I disagree, and refer back to my earlier point; we need to fight.

This conversation was far too reminiscent of others out there. Other conversations where very smart and very motivated progressive people who have worked hard in their areas to push for the progressive agenda seem to be giving up. They appear to have no more patience for the system as it is and the traditional methods of protesting it. It is in these times that we must remember that walk-outs, sit-ins and sleep-ins were once considered incredibly radical. We must come up with new ways withing and outside the system to enact the change we want. If there is a failure in the system it is up to us to change it. Obama is a rational president, trying to fight against a rotten legacy of a deflated economy while still pushing for real and progressive change. While he may not call on us, he is still relying on us to support him and it is our responsibility to try and face these rising obstacles.

While some may complain that these are insurmountable odds, I say, "no, we must fight against and sally forth!" It is imperative that we look at these challenges and face them head on. We can look at all the obstacles that we face and panic or we could analyze it and try to come up with new solutions. Why not see these obstacles as challenges to overcome? Where is our fighting spirit?

Again, without our support, our chance to accomplish real change and real good may fall to pieces.

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