Posted by John Stauber on January 19, 2010

Six months ago, the vocal factions of the Tea Party revolt organized among anti-Obama right wingers were mostly an annoyance to the Democratic Party. Today, the Congressional Democrats are scared for their political lives after Scott Brown, with the help of a Tea Party-organized online "money bomb" and get-out-the-vote campaign, won back for Republicans Ted Kennedy's former Massachusetts senate seat. The "money bomb" is a tactic borrowed from MoveOn and the liberal netroots movement through which the Tea Party activists raised way over one million dollars online in 24 hours for Scott Brown. Even though the Republicans have only reduced the still large fifty-nine member Democratic senate majority by one person, the fact that Brown ran an uphill campaign that came from nowhere and steamrolled to victory means that all the Congressional Democrats are now looking over their right shoulders, fearing a similar populist attack as the 2010 electoral season heats up.

The Tea Party money bomb has also blown up Obamacare, the President's muddled health care reform plan. While many pundits point to local issues that helped Brown win, the fact is that Brown ran hardest against Obama's health care bill, and won despite personal appearances in Massachusetts by Obama and Bill Clinton, and despite a desperate but failed Democratic effort to beat back the insurgency.

Freedomworks, and other groups behind the Tea Party populists, have long claimed that they would create the Right's equivalent of MoveOn, and they have. Indeed, the best efforts of MoveOn and Obama's much-touted, but very ineffectual Organizing for America, to rescue the Massachusetts senate race failed miserably. The grassroots political momentum in the country is now with the right wing populists who have tapped into a great disillusionment with Obama and his Democratic Party. Indeed, given the inevitable political stalemate this stunning Republican upset will cause in Washington, the most interesting political action in 2010 is going to be found in examining what takes place at the grassroots among populists of both the Left and the Right. Can the progressive Left once again become a force for change in America, or will it continue to take the role of cheerleader for Obama and cede the grassroots to the Right?

How ironic that smug Democrats in the Administration refused to allow the single payer, medicare-for-all option to even be considered as a possibility for America. They declared it off the table, pushing a "public option" plan that was quickly jettisoned by an Administration happy to cut deals with the drug and insurance lobbies. The result is a massive mess, difficult to understand, that has shrinking public support. It was hung like an albatross around the neck of Martha Coakley, the loser in the Scott Brown race.

If the Obama Administration had embraced the single-payer option -- some type of which is in place in every country that does have universal medical coverage -- it could have ignited the Democratic grassroots and educated the public. Instead, the health care debacle has become a massive political train wreck, and Barack Obama's Democratic Party is pinned in the wreckage.

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John Stauber is an author and activist. His views are his own.

Comments

John, it seems to me the Democrats lost this in the primary when the ignored the experienced progressive Congressman and supported Ms. Coakley. A progressive who was critical of the Democratic leadership from the left would have probably won this seat.

Let's be clear, the rest of the country is too uneducated to understand health care and they don't want it.

WE NEED TO STOP THESE RIGHT WINGERS AT ALL COSTS. THEY ARE NOT EDUCATED.

This was a vote against health care reform because they are too stupid to realize that it would be cheaper if the Government takes control. Everytime I read a Glenn Beck quote I want to punch something. The nutjobs just can't get it through their heads.

Why don't they want everyone to have free health care? It's like not wanting children to get gifts on Christmas. It just doesn't make sense.

I still think these people were voting against Bush not Obama.

Educated or not, the Reaganites succeeded in convincing Americans that sharing the wealth fairly is the work of the devil. The Democrats don't have the cajones to counter that because they are beholden to the same monied political class. Don't expect progressive or left-wing behavior from a Democrat. The repertoir of the Republicans and Democrats is like Ford and GM. One comes out with a new vehicle and the other copies it. The differences are there, but not significant. For the Democratic leadership to embrace progressivism or truly left-wing ideas would mean abandoning their sources. Their only route to office would be to educate the electorate. Unfortunately, the right realizes that education is futile. It's easier to use name calling and other school yard tactics. People will vote first with their emotions, namly fear. Education is a distant third after greed. If the left were to take over the Democratic party there would likely be bloodshed as the real political power wouldn't tolerate a viable party that speaks for the class of people who sell their labor to make a living. Think COINTELPRO and the Palmer Raids are just a historical footnote? Guess again, comrade.

The thing wrong with free health care, is that someone has to pay for it, and someone has to get paid for administrating it, and the government is the most inefficient machine ever created for doing such things. Why do you think it is in debt in the tens of trillions of dollars? It's definitely not from the $50 billion per year they spend on fighting wars in foreign lands, either! And one more thing, don't call right wingers uneducated, because that simply is not true. The right wingers that I know have BA's BS's and MS's and MA's! The only true liberals I know have less than a Bachelors in education, so maybe you have it backwards.

What proposal is for "Free Health Care"? No one is asking for or proposing FREE Health Care. What is being pushed for is Health Care available to all and fair. Fair pricing, fair rules and honest dealing.

Is it fair that women have to pay more for insurance? Is it fair that health care professionals who see a lot of very difficult cases make very little, so little that their spouse must work for a reasonable life. But doctors (no Nurse Practioners or Physician Assistents need apply) who's job is to make bigger boobs or to make noses and behinds smaller, better shaped make an obscene amount. How about older folks that have to choose, food or medicine.

I always though of the USA as in the vangard, the BEST. I now find it difficult to see that every western country has better health care. Sure they pay higher taxes, everyone pays not just us poor suckers that have punch a clock or work for some one else.
Oh I could go on and on and on. The truth is that I'm becoming ashamed of what we are becoming. What happened to the place that always tried to help the person who needs a hand, root for the "under dog", believed that RIGHT would win out....

It is the Democracy like you it or not! If you want to participate educate yourself to respect your opponent opinions.

Whenever a price is artificially held below the market price *shortages* occur.

Think about when you go to the supermarket. Imagine if rotisserie chickens, which are normally like $8, were all of a sudden "free." What would happen?

You'd get to the supermarket, and the shelves would be empty....gone...no chickens in sight! People would snap them up in a second...In fact, one person may decide to take every one...After all, they're free!

Healthcare would be no different...People would go to the doctor even if they didn't have to...they'd go for any little reason they could conjure up.

Naturally, a *shortage* of time to see the doctor would occur.

Take a good look at country's with socialized medicine. Long waiting lists....rationing....

These must be the consequences...because the laws of supply and demand are being ignored...Instead, it is replaced by government rationing who can get care....and when.

Lot's of people realize this....calling them "uneducated" seems a bit odd.

How is it free? Explain that please. If its free, then why a 40% tax on employer offered plans (so called Cadillac plans that a whole bunch of Americans working for "non - small" businesses pay for?) Are you among those who think the government has a "stash" out of which this "free" stuff comes?

When you say "free healthcare" you lose the debate. period.

whats free about obama-care ,who will pay for it ? you strike me as an educated man that would remodel a house without knowing how much it costs. I guess you would let the contractor do whatever he wants ....no no you dont need to know the plans ...we will just do it and then you will find out what it looks like . or as the speaker of the house says " we need to pass it then we can see whats in it "?? refering to health care of course. Lets also throw in a government run student loan program ...what did that have to do with health care ? really ??

The "results" from the Massachusetts race cannot be accurately analyzed because the election was rigged.

http://www.bbvforums.org/forums/messages/8/80830.html

While not it's most biting expose of election fraud, the, above linked, post from 'black box voting' shows how questionable election results are and how easy it is to figure that out! If you follow Greg Palast, he finds the same sorts of "irregularities" as 'black box voting', and BOTH of them have been reporting on the problem for a LONG time!

Democrats are evidently not the answer, and appear to be Corporatists, too.
Republicans are DEFINITELY NOT the answer, and are unequivocably Corporatist.
The Corporatists appear to have us by the.