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UNF Spinnaker

Mass. senate election is wake up call for Dems: lead or lose

In the aftermath of the shocking upset in the Massachusetts special election Jan. 19 to replace the late, great Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Democrats were “downtrodden” and “hysterical.”

The Wall Street Journal, the newspaper of record for capitalist dogma and right wing propaganda, used these seemingly antonymous words to describe the Democrats the morning after Taxachusetts elected a tea partier to fill the Liberal Lion’s seat.

How anyone can be “downtrodden” and “hysterical” at the same time is apparently a paradox similar in magnitude to that of being a nude model and a family values candidate.

But that’s something we’d have to ask Scott Brown, the next senator from the Bay State.

In the days following Brown’s election — a man who voted against benefits for Sept. 11 relief workers — the mainstream media opined orgasmically, on a level of stupefying hyperbole unseen since the “balloon boy” fiasco, about the repudiation of ObamaCare and the resurrection of the GOP.

The end is nigh for the Democrats, the narrative goes.

Sounds logical, right? But just to humor me, let’s break it down.

Massachusetts is a deep blue state that went for President Obama by 26 points in 2008. Voters of the Commonwealth elevated a little-known state senator who hangs out at tea parties to sit in Ted Kennedy’s seat. Said tea partier vowed to kill health care bill. Kennedy fought for health care reform for 40 years, in many respects it was his signature issue. Ergo, the special election in Massachusetts shows that Obama has gone too far and needs to put the breaks on his “ambitious” agenda if he doesn’t want to lose more seats in Congress.

That’s the media meme and that’s the pablum spewing out of Fla. Sen. Bill Nelson’s mouth.

Nelson, a pusillanimous practitioner of political triangulation, rebuked the “left wing” of the Democratic Party for pulling Obama “too much in that direction” — presumably the direction of expanded access to health care and the more efficient and equitable administration thereof.

Nelson also advised the president to “scale back his agenda,” or risk further electoral drubbings for the Democrats in the fall.

Um, no.

The Massachusetts senate race was certainly a shot across the bow. It was a wake up call to the Democrats to find their spine and use their large majorities in Congress to enact genuine change. The time for lip service, platitudes and excuses is over.

The Democrats can no longer cower in the face of what should be an impotent Republican Party, a party laid to waste over the past two election cycles after it laid the economy to waste.

But instead of taking ownership of their majorities and passing much needed legislation on a myriad of social maladies, the Dems are giving the emasculated GOP free reign to obstruct Obama’s agenda and stymie the progress promised in the historic 2008 election.

But, then again, just as the media’s “the sky is falling” analysis of the Massachusetts special election is a simplistic exaggeration, so to is the idea that the GOP is entirely to blame for the lack of substantive legislation.

Will Rogers’ famous quote, “I am not a member of an organized political party; I am a Democrat,” can be aptly applied to the current situation in Washington.

In truth, mealy-mouthed Democrats like Nelson bear a greater responsibility than the Republicans for the Dems’ electoral misfortune and the failure to provide solutions for the American people.

What’s that line from “The American President”? Something about how people want leadership so desperately they will crawl through the desert toward a mirage and when there’s no water they’ll drink the sand?

The American people are in the desert. They need someone to lead them out of the quagmire and into the Promised Land.

In the past several months, the leadership vacuum in Washington has allowed the conservative media and the tea-bagging troglodytes to kick up a Mojave Desert’s worth of sand.

In Massachusetts, the people drank the sand.  If Obama and the Democrats don’t start leading, I fear the rest of the nation will follow suit in November.

The good news? There’s hope and maybe some change, too — the president has got his mojo back.

Obama’s stirring State of the Union Address reinvigorated the base he’s been ignoring for the majority of his presidency. He deftly used the Bully Pulpit to alternately scold and reach out to the obstructionist Republicans. At the same time, he reassured the American people and asked us for some patience.

I understand that we live in an instant macaroni culture where attention spans are shorter than the career of Milli Vanilli, but we cannot lose sight of the deep, dark hole Obama is trying to dig us out of. He reminded us of that during his State of The Union. Obama didn’t create this mess.

It was a good first step but what came next was sheer tactical brilliance.

The unprecedented question and answer session the president held with GOP naysayers last week was political theatre at its finest — unless you are a Republican Congressperson.

As Sam Stein of the Huffington Post reported, Obama went into the lion’s den and proceeded to maul the lions.

After absorbing rhetorical smackdown after rhetorical smackdown, The False News Channel threw in the towel, cutting away from its live coverage of the faceoff 20 minutes before its conclusion.

This, Mr. President, is the kind of leadership people crave. This is the fighter we need to go up against the insurance companies and their shills in Congress.

If the Democrats want to avoid a cataclysm come November, they must take up Obama’s newfound fighting spirit and lead.

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