22 January 2010

Teabaggers, Socialists and Health Care

Scott Brown's Senate victory in my home state (or Commonwealth, to be more precise) has left me feeling more disconnected from the United States than ever before. For nearly 5(!) years I've been hearing people make derogatory comments about Americans being loud, fat, obnoxious, etc. My standard reply has always been to point out that the United States is a huge place with 300 million people, and making generalizations is silly.

Specifically, I come from the urbane, sophisticated, cosmopolitan part of the country, and I'm more at home in the UK than I would be in, say, rural Mississippi. But now the same teabag unrest that has been burbling in those "other" parts of the USA has helped propel a no-name Republican into the seat held by Ted Kennedy for 46 years. After a few days of despondence I've come to see Brown's victory as the result of a perfect storm of three main factors: (1) the tendency for voters to blame the continuing bad economy on the incumbent party, (2) the Republican choice of an engaging everyman vs. the Democrats' effete product of the Boston political machine who couldn't connect with a phone jack, and (3) the strange nature of special elections.

Finally, where does this leave the Democrats' struggling attempt to reform the American health care system? I won't bore you with me thoughts, but point you to an excellent op-ed by Paul Krugman which summarizes them perfectly.

No comments: