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February 19, 2010 1:33 am MST

Whatever Massachusetts Says...

  • by: Colorado Pols

Strange editorial today in The Denver Post about “reconciliation” on the health care debate:

Most Americans want Congress to start over on health care reform, but it seems Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet would rather jam it down our throats.

Ignoring the message that voters sent in Massachusetts [Pols emphasis], and shedding any notion that he intends to be a moderate Democrat, Bennet is leading a pack of liberal senators who want to push through health-care reform using a process known as reconciliation.

How is it possible that Sen. Bennet, yet to receive one vote from a Coloradan, has such a tin ear for what most Coloradans and Americans want?

We’re going to skip over the relative merits of reconciliation here, because we’re more concerned with this ridiculous idea that Bennet is “ignoring the message that voters sent in Massachusetts” when Republican Scott Brown was elected to the U.S. Senate last month. Michael Bennet is the junior Senator from Colorado. We don’t give two shits about whether Bennet is listening to the voters of Massachusetts, and neither should you.

We get that Brown’s election to fill the seat of the late Ted Kennedy was a huge moment for Republicans and Democrats nationwide. But why the hell would any politician in any other state be expected to base a policy decision — on any issue — on what happened in an election in Massachusetts? Pardon our French, but that’s freakin’ absurd.

Massachusetts is different than Colorado. It’s different than a lot of other states. Brown’s election certainly leads to a lot of interesting political questions as we enter the 2010 election, but to suggest that an election there should be a guiding light for policy decisions everywhere is just plain silly. The only people who should pay attention to any “message” sent by Massachusetts voters are politicians running for office in Massachusetts.

When Democrat Bill Owens won a special election last November in a traditional Republican district in New York, nobody suggested that the rest of the country should just follow along with whatever the people of the 23rd Congressional District of New York think should be done. Why not? Because that would be stupid.

You can discuss all you want about why Brown won the Senate election in Massachusetts, and what that might mean for other races in 2010. But we don’t want any of our elected officials in Colorado, Democrats or Republicans, to be basing their policy decisions on what voters do or say in another state. And we’re pretty sure that Colorado voters don’t want that, either.

Colorado Republican Reps. Mike Coffman and Doug Lamborn are both against the health care reform legislation, but can you imagine if they cast their vote and then said, “We vote no, because the people of Massachusetts have spoken!” They’d be a laughingstock.

So go ahead and argue against “reconciliation,” Denver Post editors. But if you think that what Massachusetts says is really so important, perhaps you should apply to The Boston Globe.


28 thoughts on “Whatever Massachusetts Says…

  1. Good point Pols, politics are a local phenomenon in Colorado due to the large percentage of independents.  

    With respect to Massachusetts, they have a health care plan and could care less about a national plan. Also, the candidate sucked!

    But more importantly, Democrats that run for office in the 1st quarter are going to struggle due to the crappy economy and the fallout of attempt at health care reform. By November things are going to look much better across the board and Democrats will get out of the rut that they’re currently in.  

    This was a terrible editorial. Not in sync with general political thought and they are blowing everything out of proportion, including the failure to take into account precedent for reconciliation.  

    1. But all that aside, it’s really dangerous to start saying that policy decisions should be based on what happens in a particular election somewhere else.

      Michael Bennet and Mark Udall are beholden to COLORADO voters. They can, and should, ignore any “message” sent by Massachusetts voters, because THEY AREN’T SENATORS FROM MASSACHUSETTS.  

    2. actually left a comment on a GJ Sentinel thread (about Bennet’s position) that the ‘voters have spoken’ and were against “Obama’s” health care plan.  It’s mind-boggling.  The people have not spoken, not generally on this issue, nor specifically in elections in Colorado.  

      Last time that happened the GOP do nothing party got schooled.

      1. for Republicans to be reminded that during the presidential election, voters all across the country including CO wanted change and voted for Obama’s policy platform. The discontent we’re seeing today is leftover from the Great Recession which had nothing to do with Obama or Bennet’s policies. People who this otherwise are near term thinkers. They are doing exactly what they promised they would do during the election.

        For the ADHD Dem’s here, you need to realize that it’s only been a year and that we just came from the brink of societal disaster.  

  2. What IS the message that voters sent in Massachusetts?  Jury’s still out on that.  Perhaps it’s nothing more meaningful than the majority of voters like someone who posed nude years ago for a magazine centerfold.  

    1. According to the Tea Party and R-wingers it was them, according to the R political strategists it was health care, according to Palin it was Obama, according to AR it was Bennet that influenced the Massachusetts election.  

  3. I do not believe politicians should be poll-driven. In this case, however, the national polls indicate strong antipathy towards the health care legislation Bennett is championing. The normally Obama friendly NBC/WSJ poll shows 46% against and 31% for. (1)

    The polls are national but there is no reason to think that Colorado is an outlier and that the electorate supports of the legislation.

    Rasmussen shows a trend towards Norton as people start paying attention to the coming election. Even the Daily Kos/R2000 poll only gives Bennett a point over Norton – a statistically insignificant result. (2)

    Obama recognizes that health care has to give way to jobs: “That is why jobs must be our No. 1 focus in 2010, and that’s why I’m calling for a new jobs bill tonight.” (3)

    Energy spent on the current health care bill is energy not spent on jobs and the economy. I think that will hurt Bennett going forward.

    (1) Obama and Democrats’ Health Care Plan, Real Clear Politics, viewed on 2/18/2010 17:38 MT http://www.realclearpolitics.c

    (2) 2010 Colorado Senate Race, Real Clear Politics, viewed on 2/18/2010 17:38 MT http://www.realclearpolitics.c

    (3) Ed Henry, After pleading his case, where does Obama go now? CNN, January 28, 2010 15:27 EST

    1. I don’t think Bennett’s reconciliation strategy will fly with Independents. The core message is and will be, it’s the economy stupid, unless a terrorist attack were to occur.

      The concept behind Pols argument is that the your WSJ/NBC (By the way, if a poll is sponsored by WSJ it will naturally be R slanted. Not sure what to make of the mix NBC/WSJ) shouldn’t matter to a Colorado Senator. I you had a CO poll it would be a different story altogether. Even then, unless they asked if people would want a choice in insurance companies they would overwhelmingly vote in favor.  


  4. especially in this regard. Great Observation Pols! The Post is becoming a rag and the editors do not seem to care one bit about it.

    To Imply Massachusetts spoke for Colorado is indeed stupid.

    My only suggestion is that instead of the POSt Editors applying to the Boston Globe, (the “Liberal” paper there) Perhaps the Boston Harald would be a better fit for their propagandist talents.  

  5. clearly shows that people in Denver are no longer Democratic.  

    Or put another way, that people in Denver elected DeGette shows that people in the Springs are no longer rabidly crazy conservatives.  

    The people of Telluride have spoken!  Art Goodtimes is the new King of the World!

  6. Of course, even the Denver Post editorial board listens to talk radio and Boyles/Bill Bennet/Rosen/Brown/fill in the blank/gallagher/hannity/caldera/beck/caplis *caplis light/ etc. have been saving for five weeks that the voters have spoken in MA and bennet is ignoring the “Voice of the People.”

    Repeat a lie often enough and people will believe it.  I think that was Goebbels…

  7. Coakley ran the worst state-wide campaign I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been involved with some pretty awful campaigns. What happened out here in MA was not about Obama or health care, it was about a candidate who thought she didn’t have to work to win.

  8. …I know plenty of Coloradans who don’t want Congress to start over with health care reform. Colorado’s horrific budget crisis could use an influx of federal money and medical jobs from a health care bill.  

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