Lessons from Mass.

As political junkies of all stripes coke out on analysis of today’s Massachusetts special election for the United States Senate, remember this.

Some residents of major party bastions will vote for other parties when 1) there is a major national wave; others when 2) the dominant party nominates an idiot and/or terrible candidate; and 3) this will never occur when it is convenient. Looks like Democrats have the perfect storm today. Big Blue may pull off a miracle, but it will more closely resemble a mid-1990s Vikings victory than any Democrat would prefer.

I’ll leave the ramifications of the national political issue to others, but in places like Minnesota — including my native Iron Range — the lessons should hereby be absorbed. Just like with show biz, it’s easy for politics to become absorbed with the glitz of the top of the ticket. But a reliable top of the ticket depends upon a deep bench, with not one but several thoughtful people who could step up to other offices as needed. It’s true of states and of regions. Areas dominated by one party are often criticized for “machine politics.” Fair enough. The machine has to work. If it doesn’t …

UPDATE: Republican Scott Brown wins the U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts. Yeah, seemed like that was going to happen.


  1. Aaron, Aaron…your stripes and youth are showing. In America, it’s not a “deep bench” that counts, it’s listening to it’s citizens.

    This isn’t a sports game, nor the Roman Empire, nor the British Commonwealth. They all at one time had “deep, deep benches”, but had no interest in what the masses had to say.

    The DFL as well as no interest in what the people are saying.

  2. Thanks for the youth comment. I’ve been feeling old lately.

    This nation has always operated on organization, usually in the form of political parties. Yes, those parties should serve the needs of their constituents. That’s what I am saying here. When they get it wrong, there is a price to pay. But a good organization is able to serve people without as much drama as we’ve seen. Ideally, a set of policies rejected by the people is replaced by another preferred set of policies. What is the replacing set of policies here? That universal private health reform should occur only at the state level? Sounds like a nuance. Mob rule works for a few months tops, history shows.

  3. Owning a home at the expense of others isn’t a right.

    Running a company poorly and being bailed out by others isn’t a right.

    Leading our country deeper and deeper in debt isn’t a right (that’s just plain stupid).

    Owning a new pickup at the expense of others isn’t a right.

    Being employed full time, all the time isn’t a right.

    And..the government has NO right to dicate to me that I must own health insurance…or pay a fine if I decide not to.

    That’s what the people are rejecting. That’s the set of policies Massachusetts just rejected. They said – “leave us alone. You’ve got plenty of money from us at the current level of taxation. Prioritize and spend it wisely, just like the average citizen has to do”.

  4. A certain percentage of Mass. voters (unknown to me) voted they way they did for the reasons you describe. (Though it seemed you were channeling some personal stuff). If I had to bet, I’d bet the number was similar to those who voted GOP last presidential election. The rest voted against a relatively terrible Democratic candidate in favor of a fairly good GOP one, a guy who built his career as a moderate even as he ran to the right for this election.

    I just don’t get the paranoia and anger from this movement. Because you don’t want to be involved in a modern society doesn’t mean that a modern society shouldn’t be built. Transportation, clean energy, schools, a balanced economy and, yes, health care. I’m for it today, I’m for it forever. You run on tax cuts, but explain to the people what you plan to cut. Tell them and then run on it. We’ll see.

  5. You’re not listening Aaron…

    I never promoted tax cuts…even though Minnesota is the 5th highest taxed state in the nation.

    What I did say is you and the DFL’ers “have plenty of money from us at the current level of taxation. Prioritize and spend it wisely”.

    The problem is, you can’t. You don’t want to. You want more, and more and more and more.

    I..and you, our wives, our kids already owe the Federal government $35,000 EACH…just to pay off the current level of debt we’re in.

    But you want more…ahh but I repeat myself.

  6. Ah, on that I simply refer you to the combination of property and income taxes in Minnesota. Taken together over recent years, taxes have increased overall. All DFLers are saying is that if you restore income taxes to the time when we had a surplus and give local governments the ability to lower their levies, you’ll have the progressive tax system that led to Minnesota becoming the state with the best quality of life in the nation. A midsized state like ours can be, well, like us, or it can be like Mississippi or the deep south. Lower wages, lower quality of life, and colder. Not a winning formula.

    But we already know that we don’t agree, so I’m out for the night.

  7. Ok…after a peaceful nights sleep, let’s work on the details of your idea.

    What level of taxation (a number Aaron), do you think is fair?

    Let’s start with sales tax..

    1967 – 3%
    1971 – 4%
    1981 – 5%
    1983 – 6%
    1987 – 6.5%
    2009 – 6.875%

    What “time” do you propose we go back to?

    p.s. You never did give your opinion as to whether or not you think it’s a right to have government use my money to buy someone else a new pickup.

  8. Red herrings and straw men. You should love sales taxes, they regress the model. I’d love to do away with them for a pure income tax (and I wouldn’t have to figure it out every time I sell a book out of my trunk).

    I assume you’re talking Cash for Clunkers, the program that kept thousands of auto workers on the job. Yeah, well, I agree to disagree. Should my taxes go to wars or military prisons in Cuba? Should I buy roads for people who own pickups? We could go on an on like this.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. We agree on the sales tax issue. I’ve written to Anzelc and Sertich to do away with it. Have you? Let’s work together and get this done!

    I’m interested in what data you have which shows I saved or created any jobs by helping my neighbor buy his pickup.

  11. At the same time, let’s go to the macro level Aaron….

    How deep in debt would you propose we go? The masses are against this you know…even the liberal press calls it unpopular.

    All they have to do is prioritize programs and live within their/our current revenue, just like you and me. But DFL’ers simply aren’t capable or willing to make tough decisions.

    WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats on Wednesday, Jan. 20 2010 proposed allowing the federal government to borrow an additional $1.9 trillion to pay its bills, a record increase that would permit the national debt to reach $14.3 trillion.

    The unpopular legislation is needed to allow the federal government to issue bonds to fund programs and prevent default on obligations.

    It promises to be a challenging debate for Democrats, who, as the party in power, hold the responsibility for passing the legislation.

    The measure came to the floor under rules requiring 60 votes to pass. That could mean that every Democrat, no matter how politically endangered, may have to vote for it next week before Brown takes office and Democrats lose their 60-vote majority.

    The record increase in the debt limit is required because the budget deficit has spiraled out of control in the wake of lower tax revenues, the bailouts, and increased spending by the Democratic-controlled Congress.

    Last year’s deficit hit a phenomenal $1.4 trillion, and the current year’s deficit promises to be even higher.

  12. OK, one more for the 25 people reading this (and that’s generous). I don’t know where you’re pulling this article, maybe AP but it seems a bit more skewed than even them. Your liberal media arguments belong back in the ’90s. Today’s media values only one thing: controversy and ratings. Ideology is passe.

    On the other: DEBT! DEBT! You propose to talk to me about debt when the previous administration passed on such a massive debt that President Obama’s next two years will be dedicated entirely to deficit reduction. Yes, spending increased recently to avoid a depression. A depression! Ugly? Yes, you betcha.’ But disasters are always ugly and that’s what people are trying to overcome here. Your people and my people are all angry. Furious. The emotion is understandable. The cognitive dissonance between what you are arguing and what Democrats are arguing is huge. People just want a government that works. That’s all I want. A government is an extension of the people, something designed to do more than individuals can do for themselves. Fire service, police, roads, schools and YES health care. We have the most expensive health care in the world and we cover the smallest percentage of our population in the industrialized world. You’re OK with that, fine. I am not. I am not. I am not. Go to another blog, old man. Go to another blog.

  13. Look at the facts Aaron…Obama has created more debt in one year than Bush did in eight.

    Although I see though your tactic. You’re deploying Saul Alinsky’s Rule #2…

    Saul Alinsky RULE 2: “Never go outside your expertise. It results in confusion, fear and retreat of our believers. (This is why people we attack wonder why we radicals don’t address the ‘real’ issues. We need to avoid things with which we have no knowledge)”.

    Old..and experienced

    p.s. Listen closely – People want a government that’s fair, samll and…works. Ask Anzelc and the Range DFL’ers if they think ideology is passe. They’ll speak quite openly how proud they are of theirs. It’s what they use to stay in power; it appeals to the weak.

    Get some sleep now. You’ve got a big day tomorrow.

  14. Where would I be without your benevolent paternalism? Lost, I tell you. Lost.

    Aside from the stimulus to fix the inherited recession and the wars to clean up the inherited wars, I think he’s been responsible and will become even more so next year when he moves into deficit reduction and the year after when he hits entitlement reform. You and me, we might even agree more. That couldn’t hurt. 🙂

  15. Ok Aaron, archive this…Here’s the latest congressional deficit data.

    The forecast is based on Obama’s current programs. Obama in one year has equalled (well almost)eight years of Bush’s deficits. Oh, and as you know, he fought wars throughout the eight years.

    I’ll bet a walleye lunch Obama will blow away his record setting forecasts.

    Why? – It’s not in him to prioritize issues, he’s indebted to public and private unions and he won’t meet a Ried/Pelosi program he doesn’t like.

    Year Federal Deficit
    $ billion
    2001 -128
    2002 157
    2003 377
    2004 412
    2005 318
    2006 248
    2007 160
    2008 458
    2009 1841
    2010 1258
    2011 929
    2012 557

    Tell your kids to start saving..They already owe $35,000 each.

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