Friday, January 22, 2010

Massachusetts Upset

I don't do much stuff on domestic American politics. In fact this is my first post on the highly controversial health care issue. Here is my take. Last week as we know there was a massive upset in the US when Republican Scott Brown won the senate race in Massachusetts to fill the seat vacated by the late Teddy Kennedy. The view from the right is that this was a massive repudiation of the left wing Obama agenda, particularly in Health care reform. Perhaps. But I tend to agree with blogger E.D. Kain's assessment below. Mainly because I believe Obama has done nothing more radical than he said he would do during the election. I don't believe he hid the fact that he wanted massive health care reform during the 08 campaign yet, he was elected in a landslide. Read Kain's words.

He’s a guy who can treat his opponents with respect. He was out on the campaign trail shaking hands, meeting people, and trying to connect with the voters in Massachusetts. Unlike his opponent, he was able to skillfully run a positive campaign that nevertheless found its strength in discontent and anger. Unlike Sarah Palin and other Republicans these days, he did not have to resort to anger and conspiracy theories and other silly tactics; he did not have to go out and kiss the talk-radio pundits’ behinds; he did not stoop to pettiness or name-calling. He was a class act, and the voters respected that. Maybe that’s entirely personality politics, but it is the right kind of personality politics. Brown proved that he could speak to ordinary Americans without putting up a facade. And ordinary Americans appreciated that.

I dislike the wings of American politics. I always found Bush bashing boring and I find Obama bashing boring too. And I think the middle third of the American electorate, or the independents who can swing either way, would agree with me. And when they claim they are tired of business as usual in Washington, I don't think its Obama they are primarily mad about. I think its the traditional debate where the Democrats accuse the Republicans of giving in to special interests and the Republicans claim the Democrats are all about big government. Yawn yawn yawn ! I do not mean to trivialise Scott Brown's remarkable achievement and I think it is safe to say that many centrist Americans do fear that Obama is not as fiscally sound as Bill Clinton, the last Democrat in the White House.

As for the Health Care issue itself. My thoughts are as follows. America is a very different place to Europe. It has different values. Principally speaking they have an inherent distrust of government run industry. Even the liberal left tolerate for less government spending than we do in most European countries. I admire and respect this. I agree with it too, except when it comes to health care. Conservative Americans don't believe it is the responsibility of the government to provide Health Care for the people. My question is this, is their suspicion of government run health care so intense because they believe it will be less efficient or is it because they are afraid that they will end up paying for the lazy guy. America is a do it yourself, make it on your own country. This is fair enough. But I believe that the truth is many Americans are terrified of paying taxes to provide health care for the lazy unemployed alcoholic who contributes nothing to the system and only takes from it. The truth is that if America does get a public health system such people will benefit from it a will clog up the system. But it shouldn't be about that guy. It should be about the millions of hard working Americans who cannot afford health care. If the figures are accurate and there are as many as 20 million working Americans who will go bankrupt in the event of an illness or an accident in the family then this is a very bad reflection on America. If health insurance is too expensive then I believe strongly that it is the government's responsibility to step in and provide a system thats affordable. Call me a liberal European loon but that's my take.

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