Tuesday’s Republican victory in Massachusetts proved only one thing: voters are angry. And when people are angry, they often make irrational decisions, like electing a former nude model to the United States Senate. Less than 48 hours after his unlikely win, senator-elect Scott Brown is already raising eyebrows across the nation.
In his victory speech, Brown offered up his daughters to “anyone who’s watching throughout the country.” Now, that’s family values. This bizarre incident even prompted conservative demagogue Glenn Beck to speculate that Brown’s career, “could end with a dead intern.”
The Senator-elect’s strange behavior isn’t my only reason for questioning voters’ judgment, however. Rather, The Bay State’s decision to send Brown to Washington is irrational because his statements clearly contradict the political values of those who elected him.
The sentiment I’ve heard expressed most often by disgruntled tea partiers is animosity directed at “too big to fail” financial institutions (for wrecking the economy) and the federal government (for bailing out those banks with taxpayer money). If that’s the case, they elected the wrong candidate to stick it to Wall Street’s fat cat financiers.
Martha Coakley, the defeated Democrat, enthusiastically endorsed a temporary tax on banking behemoths to recoup taxpayer losses from the TARP fund. Brown denounced this tax and vowed to vote against it in the Senate. So, I’m not sure what petulant populists gained by electing a man who openly opposes their expressed interests.
Perhaps, the reactionary wave sweeping across our country crested with Brown’s victory and the tide of hysteria is finally beginning to recede. Now that they’ve blown off some steam, maybe frustrated independent voters are ready to come back to their senses and get down to business.
Meanwhile, Democrats need to recalibrate their message. A recent NY Times article on the subject offered some useful advice. First, they need to aggressively confront Wall Street. Since the days of Andrew Jackson, Democrats have been the party of the people. They need take back this mantle by ensuring that taxpayers are made whole again.
Their strategy must also include stronger financial regulation of investment banks, especially those dealing in the exotic, derivatives market. Establishing a new Consumer Protection Agency to curb the worst abuses of the credit card industry is essential as well.
Finally, Democrats need to address our mounting national debt and budget deficit. The Bush Administration saddled us with a $482 billion deficit and the highest national debt in American history. It’s time to bring those numbers back under control and Democrats have a solid track record of doing so. After all, President Clinton left office with a $230 billion budget surplus.
What happens next will determine our nation’s future. The status quo is unsustainable, especially in regard to our economic, environmental, energy and health care policies. The American People elected President Obama with a strong mandate for change. We can’t afford to let the irrational decisions of an angry mob distract us from achieving our goals.