Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hope Springs Eternal

There is a ton of writing out there on the election of Scott Brown by the voters of Massachusetts, and much of it is very good.

I will just add a couple thoughts. One is that I derive a LOT of hope and optimism from this result. The electorate does matter, that is very clear. A seat that anyone would have thought was tenured to the Democrats long ago was taken away by a Republican in a blue, blue state. Wow.

Two, I think this puts the country back on its trend line of an electorate slightly more conservative on at least economic and defense issues. The election of Obama and the Democratic Congress was the bigger aberration. But how could that not have happened, with two wars, an unpopular Republican President, an economy on the brink of a second depression, and a lackluster Republican candidate and his somewhat problematic running mate? And Obama did not exactly win a landslide.

But three, I would be cautious in interpreting this as a massive turn to the Republican Party. This was an expression of outrage at government, ie., the incumbents broadly speaking and the Democrats in particular who are in charge and who are spewing out trash like the exemption of union workers from the cadillac health care tax. The Republicans can capitalize on this by actually coming up with some constructive ideas on, for instance, health care. And taxation -- and more than just "cut taxes." How about a serious review of the income tax code. I for one will volunteer a slight increase in my total tax payment if part of the deal was a broadening of the base, a lowering of marginal rates, and a general elimination of complexities like the AMT.

No comments: