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Voters in Massachusetts, where universal health care reform was introduced by former governor Mitt Romney, a Republican, are all too aware of the unforeseen costs and service impacts. Having seen the flaws and problems in their own state, many balked at the prospect of going national and thereby adding to their already high tax burden in order to pay for implementation of a similarly flawed national program.
Is it a mistake then to suppose that voters, in choosing Brown over Coakley, were reacting to the high-handed and fundamentally tone deaf way Congressional Democrats had pushed their programs, without regard to the opposition of the majority of Americans (as recognized in the polling data) and through reliance on backroom deals and pay-offs to major supporters and states for crucial votes?
Rather than seek reforms via inclusion of opposition party ideas (opening insurance markets across states, policy portability and tort reform) to forge an expansive national consensus, the Democrats simply decided to remake America in the shadow of three decades of long-deferred liberal dreams. American voters watched with increasing alarm as Democratic policymakers dug in, despite rising national opposition to the big government/big spending/heavy taxation model they were pushing.
Americans were shocked and angry at looming deficits, as far as the eye could see, set to swamp even the sinking prospects of existing entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security. Americans swallowed hard at the prospect of ever-rising taxation, the implications for job creation and an expanding national debt that could turn us into a third world country with a collapsing currency and questionable creditworthiness.
The great tension that always exists between voter passion for government largess and the resistance to paying for it began to drive the political pendulum back toward restraint in a series of off-year elections that Democratic leaders just refused to acknowledge.
The Republican brand had fallen so far so fast and presidential charm in the White House seemed so strong that Democrats believed their caucus was impervious to voter disaffection this early.
Besides, they had waited so long, after years in the Reagan wilderness, a triangulating Clinton administration (which talked the liberal talk but often declined to walk the walk), and that squeaker of a loss to an awkward Republican with a Texas twang and cowboy boots. They simply believed that, having finally regained their rightful place in Washington, they could not be expected to wait and focus on coalition building, too.
There was too much to be done and so much lost time to make up that they simply discounted voter angst, figuring Americans would eventually come around and accept the planned tax increases to keep their new benefits when the time came. But, in so doing, Democrats seem to have forgotten one important thing about democracies. Elections still count – and sometimes even the voters remember that.
About the Author: Stuart W. Mirsky is a Queens-based writer and columnist for several local papers. He is the author of the historical novel "The King of Vinland's Saga," about Vikings and Indians in eleventh-century North America, and "A Raft on the River," the true story of a 15-year-old girl's escape from the Nazis in Poland during World War II.
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The congregants, Ethiopians spanning generations, were beaming with joy and pride.
The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip nine years ago did not enhance Israel’s security.
How does a soldier from a religious home fall in love with a soldier from a non- religious kibbutz?
Responsibility lies with both the UN and Hamas, and better commitments should have been demanded from both parties in the ceasefire.
But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.
If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.
Reportedly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have formed a bloc that seeks to counter Islamist influence in the Middle East.
One wonders how the IDF could be expected to so quickly determine the facts.
While there is no formula that will work for everyone, there are some strategies that if followed carefully and consistently can help our children – and us – gain the most from the upcoming school year.
We risk our lives to help those who do what they can to kill to our people .
Twain grasped amazingly well the pulse of the Jewish people.
The entertainment industry appears divided about the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
The shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat, along with federal judge John Roll (a Republican appointee) and numerous others, including a nine year-old constituent of the Congresswoman, resulting in the deaths of six (including the judge and the little girl) and brain injury to the congresswoman, prompted the usual ruminations.
While it’s not too early for Republicans to start feeling optimistic, they need to realize this kind of resurgent mood isn’t unlike the ebullience of markets bouncing off a bottom. As market pundits like to say, even a dead cat will bounce when it’s tossed from a great height. After having fallen so low in public esteem during the last days of the Bush administration, it only makes sense Republicans’ spirits would surge at an impending reversal of fortune.
A friend of mine came to this country from China back in the eighties. China had little opportunity for people like him he tells me, especially after Chairman Mao had destroyed the country. To get anywhere you had to know people and pay them off. Everything, he adds, was corrupt and there was no freedom. America looked better and so he emigrated, married and raised a family here.
With the outgoing and endlessly embattled Bush administration showing signs of exhaustion in 2008 and the onslaught of an unforeseen financial crisis, Democrats won the U.S. presidency while gaining an overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives and 60 veto-proof seats in the U.S. Senate (thanks, in part, to a disputed Minnesota election putting TV comic Al Franken over the top in his state and the inclusion of Vermont Socialist Bernie Sanders and Connecticut Independent Joe Lieberman).
It’s no secret these days that the Obama administration leans left.
On every crucial issue, from dealing with al Qaeda and the threat of terrorism, to the environment, to health care, to the administration’s handling of our overseas adversaries, the president and his advisers have come down hard on the left side of the political divide.
Nearly thirty years ago, this country underwent a paradigm shift when Ronald Reagan swept into the presidency, defeating Jimmy Carter after a single term. Along with Carter, Reagan displaced an entire way of thinking that had informed our politics since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Reagan was a transformative president.
Well, it’s finally over – and about time, too. After two years of seemingly endless campaigning and eight of partisan bickering and recriminations, the country appears to have turned a historic corner.
Nothing is certain except death and taxes — but a few things come close. One is that, come November, either Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain will emerge as the next president. When that happens we’ll be turning the page on eight years of rancorous political partisanship.
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