The cops stopped me for driving naked in my 1992 Toyota Corolla today. They didn’t buy my explanation that I was campaigning for Congress. But, then, my unclothed body would be more appropriate as an entry in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! (“World’s Scrawniest Man”) than gracing a spread in Cosmo.
I’m relieved that a real Cosmo hunk, Scott Brown, won the special election to fill Ted Kennedy’s senate seat. In no small part because the seat didn’t belong to Ted Kennedy, or any other Kennedy, in the first place. Edward Kennedy was the greatest legislator of our times. But the fact that many Obama supporters in Massachusetts voted for Brown suggests that maybe a small, but possibly decisive, segment of Tuesday’s electorate was simply tired of the Kennedy clan and the Kennedy machine. Martha Coakley represented the latter, and maybe Bay Staters were saying enough is enough?
True, it didn’t help that Ms. Coakley wasn’t up on the basics regarding the Boston Red Sox, or thought that campaigning in front of Fenway Park on a frosty morning would be a drag. However, had I been a Massachusetts voter, her ignorance of baseball would not have bothered me. Her phoniness would have. Not everyone loves sports, and that includes me. Were I running for office, I’d tell reporters that I wish our local teams well, but I couldn’t give a damn about professional sports. Then I would add this:
“Look, a lot of politicians ARE genuine sports fans, and there have even been a few quarterbacks, and a baseball pitcher, elected to Congress. But nothing looks phonier than a politician PRETENDING to be the Philly Fanatic. So please don’t ask me about sports, and I won’t ask you about entomology, ornithology or other subjects that interest me!”
But I digress. The main reason I’m glad Scott Brown won is that a 59-vote majority for the Democrats in the Senate makes a lot more sense than the elusive 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority they’ve been trying to cobble together for the past year. That hapless pursuit has only generated Republican intransigence — and given disproportionate weight to the votes of Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson.
Reasonable people can disagree over the merits of health care reform, cap-and-trade legislation, or particular nominees to the federal bench. But the fact that 40 senators can hold the entire Congress hostage, month after month, makes our democracy look like a joke to the rest of the world. And it’s making our own voters, in Massachusetts and around the country, either mad as hell or depressed and withdrawn.
Now, I don’t understand all the political machinations it will take to break the legislative logjam — though they might be akin to giving each senator a hot enema. But the resulting relief will be felt by all Americans!
Instead of pushing for the “magic 60” votes to prohibit filibusters, let senators beholden to the banking industry jabber on, ad nauseum, against new bank regulations or a tax on giant Wall Street bonuses.
Ironically, it might be easier to fashion a health reform bill that Olympia Snowe can support, which passes 52 to 48 — with Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman and Mary Landrieu voting nay. Fox News might even discover, to their horror, that Scott Brown isn’t quite so allied with “Tea Party” activists as they’d hoped. Brown’s up for election to a full term in 34 months, and he might not trust that Massachusetts has become a reliably “red” state on all issues.
Best of all, without the constant need to assemble a filibuster-proof majority, Democrats won’t have to cater to Joe Lieberman’s every narcissistic whim. And for that, ALL Americans can rejoice!
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