Friday, June 29, 2012

Elections Matter

When Scott Brown was elected to the U.S. Senate in the middle of the health care debate, there was a general consensus that the lackluster campaigning by his Democratic opponent and the relatively low voter turnout gave Ted Kennedy's seat to a Republican. Notably, the race was seen as a referendum on the Affordable Care Act. Brown's election jeopardized passage of the ACA and cries of "Elections Matter!" resounded from a vocal minority who were determined to push their agenda on the majority.

When Scott Walker became governor of Wisconsin in the off-year election of 2010 and started on a previously unannounced campaign to strip public employees of collective bargaining rights, cries of "Elections Matter!" were heard again, again to justify the imposition of a minority agenda on the majority.

Elections do matter. My growing frustration with hope and change submitting to block and parry is directed at those who share my politics but not my willingness to vote. Governor Walker's ability to push back the recall effort in Wisconsin resulted largely from a broader consensus than contributed to his initial election that elections matter and that he should be given his full term.

What I don't understand, except as a strategy in the war of politics, is why elections only matter when the minority scores a victory in a low turnout election. There was an election in 2008, too. President Obama, who campaigned on universal health care, won handily in an election in which well over half of the eligible electorate participated. Not one Republican was willing to acknowledge that the 2008 election mattered and support the will of the People by voting for the ACA. Recall that the President accepted the invitation of the House Republican Caucus to meet directly and respond to their concerns over a wide range of issues in a televised, unscripted setting. As a result of the way he successfully responded to the false rhetoric and soundbites upon which Republican congressmen based their opposition to the ACA and other programs, the GOP decided that there would be no more invitations extended to the White House for similar exchanges. And, although Senator Brown's election ultimately did not matter enough as it related to blocking the ACA, there was, and remains, a refusal to apply the same elections matter theory of democracy to the acceptance of issues unpopular with conservatives.

Now that the Supreme Court has determined that a Constitutional basis exists for support of the ACA, the GOP is redoubling its efforts to repeal the bill, primarily by replacing President Obama in November. If successful, there will be a return to "Elections Matter!" But if the election in 2012 is going to matter, I am going to do what I can to re-elect President Obama in order to re-send the message from 2008's electorate. More to come.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pondering = Tea Leaf Reading?

June 28, 2012: Feeling a little full of myself. When asked this week about what the Supreme Court was going to do with the Affordable Care Act, I've been suggesting that Justice Scalia's unprecedented temper tantrum from the bench when delivering his dissent in the Arizona immigration case signaled his frustration with what was coming today. Pass the broccoli.