Tuesday’s surprise defeat of Democrat Martha Coakley in the Massachusetts special Senate election has many Democrats scratching their heads and pointing fingers, and has Republicans jumping for joy.
Republican Scott Brown’s victory strips Democrats of their filibuster-proof majority, and throws the entire health care bill into jeopardy. But, despite the wild speculation on the part of politicians and pundits, it may not mean a major shift in the country is underway.
It is likely much more simple. As was often said in the 1992 presidential campaign, “It’s the economy, stupid.” While health care reform is greatly needed in this nation, with unemployment at 10 percent (not including those forced to accept part-time work or who are no longer counted as they have exceeded 26 weeks) the economy is clearly a more pressing concern. What good is health care if you don’t have a job; you don’t have means to keep a roof over your head; or the ability to feed your kids?
President Obama was elected was elected on a tide of Americans looking for change. So far, that change has yet to materialize. Perhaps Tuesday’s election will send a message to Washington that the public is tired of the same old political maneuverings.
–by Jennifer E. Cooper