Be Careful What You Ask For
When Massachusetts voters elected Republican Scott Brown to the United States Senate over Martha Coakley, it was heralded as a major victory for the Tea Party Movements. However, as news broke yesterday that he was ready to vote yes on the new so-called financial reform bill, it showed me a few flaws in the way we pick candidates in this country.
To start with, Scott Brown may by a Republican, but he’s not a small government one. In the state house, he voted for RomneyCare, the Massachusetts health care system which ObamaCare is based on. That measure dramatically increased the size of the state government and has been threatening the entire health care system in that state. It’s how we know ObamaCare won’t accomplish most of it’s goals.
The problems revealed are that people are far to content to vote against someone than to find a candidate they can vote for.
Martha Coakley, to paraphrase Dave Weigel, was a horrible candidate. My cat could have probably beaten her. Yes, she was that bad. As a Republican, Brown was not going to be the first choice of a lot of Massachusetts voters. No, many voted against Coakley, which isn’t unusual. To top it off, Brown got a lot of support from out of state Tea Party activists.
The question then becomes, do they know what they were asking for?
Many of the Tea Party activists I know are truly concerned about the size of the government. While I wouldn’t term them as libertarian necessarily, they’re not big-government neocons either. They oppose many of this Administration’s efforts that I also oppose, so we have that in common at least. Did they know what they were getting in Scott Brown? Or did they see the “R” after his name and assume he could be trusted?
The truth lies somewhere in the middle, I’m assuming, but it’s probably much closer to the latter than many are comfortable with admitting.
Unfortunately, this is what happens when you only have two choices on the ballot and consistently only have two. You end up with an idea that you must vote for one of those two, and it devolves into whether you vote for someone or vote against someone. When you cast your vote against someone, the problem is that you become stuck with the other choice. If that’s not something you relish, then you’re good and screwed.
At least if you had more choices, you have a better chance of voting for someone you actually want.