Thursday, January 21, 2010

tea-bagger brown triumphs

The Phoenix | Brown’s election is in a category of its own. There is no escaping the fact that, in electing a right-wing Republican to take Kennedy’s place, Massachusetts is sending America a message: the nation’s middle-of-the road independents have been radicalized.

Congressional Democrats and Obama enjoy their majority at the sufferance of independents. But every indicator now screams that independents have lost faith in Democrats, just as a little more than a year ago they lost faith in Republicans.

Though public-opinion polls show that a majority of independents may still like and even admire Obama, their tolerance for his political performance is shrinking fast. Obama’s noble and necessary experiment with bipartisanship has failed. Republicans — hard-pressed by the Tea Party movement — are dedicated to little more than his destruction.

Obama and the Democrats may have stopped the economic decline, but they have failed to reverse it. People fear for their jobs, and for their families.

This worry is tangible and visceral. Independents want jobs more than health-care reform; they want bank loans for their small businesses, mortgages for their houses, and colleges they can afford for their kids. It is all about economics.

The paradox is that, at the moment, the federal government must intervene to bring these conditions about. But neither Democrats nor Republicans have given independent voters sufficient reason to trust Washington.

Obama’s challenge is to find a way to cut through the special interests that hold the Democrats hostage. The Republicans are a lost cause. Lose independents and he loses the nation.Justify Full